Article type icon

How to Write a Grant Proposal

Advanced grant writing tips

Securing funding for a big project isn't always easy, but luckily, there are hundreds of grants available. Selecting an appropriate grant that fits your needs can be challenging; there are some basic grant writing tips you should follow. Most organizations that offer grants have guidelines for your grant proposal, but some leave you wondering where to begin. We provide a breakdown of what to include and exclude in your grant proposal.

The pre-writing process for grant proposals

Once all stakeholders have determined which grant is best suited to their project, the grant writer should review the Request for Proposal (RFP). Pay specific attention to formatting, page count, and all necessary components for qualification. The grant writer should then prepare an outline that everyone involved in the writing process will follow. A grant proposal usually consists of the following components:

(1) A cover letter is normally required and should summarize the grant proposal. It should include information about the applicant, how the money will be used, and the reasons why the applicant should receive the funding.

(2) The body of the grant proposal contains an assessment of the organization's needs and addresses the specific goals the organization hopes to achieve with the funding. 

(3) A detailed outline of the project must also be provided and should include details about how the money will be used and a timeline for achieving the stated goals. The grant proposal must also describe the means by which achievement of these goals will be measured.

(4) A grant proposal usually includes specific details regarding the applicant's qualifications. These details include bios of the applicant and key personnel, summaries of past performance, and a financial overview. 

(5) A detailed budget, along with supporting financial documentation, may also be required.

(6) Finally, there must be a synopsis that emphasizes all the key points.

Successful grant proposal writing takes careful organization, planning, and skilled execution. Often, a team is formed to handle writing various sections, and one person is charged with organizing the final product. Every grant proposal must be carefully edited and read for content and formatting.

Things to avoid when writing your grant proposal

Beware of the following mistakes in grant proposal applications:

  • Failing to provide a convincing rationale
  • Being overly ambitious
  • Proposing an unrealistic budget
  • Leaving ideas undefined or unrefined
  • Providing too little or too much information
  • Failing to demonstrate community support
  • Failing to provide enough evidence that the project/program will become self-sufficient and sustain itself after the grant is completed
  • Failing to follow directions
  • Using jargon and acronyms

Sometimes, the difference between being awarded funding and losing out is in the small details. So…polish, polish, and polish again! Double-check everything. Get a second opinion. With a little sweat and elbow grease, your proposal might just be the lucky winner!

Final thoughts

Even the most worthwhile projects don't always get funded. Try not to be discouraged if your application is denied. Rather, look at the rejection as an opportunity to build relationships and to learn what you can change to improve your chances next time. If all goes well, though, you might be successful your first time around. Submitting your final draft to our editing service is a great way to ensure your grant proposal is as good as it can be.

Image source: Christin Hume/