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How to Write a Grant Proposal
Grant proposal is a formal proposal submitted to the government, to a corporation, or any private entity in order to request for financing or support for a certain project. When asked to write a grant proposal, most people often assume that it is lengthy and therefore dread the thought of it. Grant proposals don’t have to be lengthy as long as it contains all the necessary information to convince the grantor to finance your project. The key to a plausible grant proposal is choosing the most appropriate grant proposal template suitable to the grant maker's interest.
Three types of grant proposal
One of the requisites in writing a grant proposal is to identify which type of grant proposal will be suitable for your project and will impress the grantor. Before knowing how to write a grant proposal, you must first familiarize yourself with the different kinds of grant proposal. Here are the types of grant proposal:
- Letter of Inquiry
A letter of inquiry is usually a three-page grant proposal that is often used to look for a foundation or organization that will be interested in your project. A letter of inquiry is usually sent to numerous foundations whose advocacy matches your proposed project. A letter of inquiry must contain the purpose and outline of your project as well as its significance to your chosen foundation or organization.
- Full Proposal
A full proposal is usually five to 25 pages long and includes a cover letter. It should contain a summary of your project and the amount of money you need. Since it includes a thorough discussion about the financial assistance you need, a feasibility study must also be included. A full proposal is usually given to larger corporations, foundations, or government organizations. Most organizations require grant proposals to be submitted along with an online application form provided in their websites.
- Letter Proposal
A letter proposal is a formal letter that is usually three to four pages long and is used to ask corporations for sponsorship or monetary gifts for charity events. A letter proposal must contain an introduction about your organization, the purpose of the event or project, the necessity of having a sponsor and how it will benefit both your organization and the company, and the exact amount of funds you need for that project.
Planning your grant proposal
Before starting the writing process, you must first create a plan for your grant proposal. Here are some of the things you can do:
Identify the problem; Identify the centerpiece of your grant proposal. What is the situation? Why is there a need to proceed with this project? Why does it need larger financing?
Develop your action plan and project design. An action plan is a document which contains the steps that must be done and the resources needed to reach a specific goal. An action plan should include a detailed timeline for the tasks that are necessary for reaching the goal. Project design refers to the process an organization will use to execute the action plan.
Your action plan and program design should be able to answer the following questions:
How will you resolve the problem?
What measures will you take to address the issue?
Seek the right audience for your grant proposal . One of the reasons why grant proposals get rejected is due to its incompatibility with the grantor. When looking for a granting organization, check the following factors:
What is the nature of the grant organization? What are the mission and vision of this particular grant organization? Does it match with the goal you are trying to achieve? Check the guidelines of this grant organization for grant proposals and assess your capacity to comply with the requirements they have set.
Check for any value contradiction that may hinder you from achieving your goals. Try to assess whatever differences your organization and the grantor have and look for a way to compromise without sacrificing your objectives. It is imperative that you are aware of the conflicts that may arise and use it as an advantage by including it in the grant proposal along with your suggested solutions. However, always keep in mind that the similarities in terms of advocacy between you and the grant organization must outweigh the differences.
Elements of a Grant Proposal
Grant organizations will ignore a grant proposal that lacks an important element, especially if the grantor is requiring a full proposal. If you want to know how to write a grant proposal that will impress granting organizations, keep these elements in check:
Grantors tend to base their decision about whether or not they will read the whole proposal on how the introduction was written, so make sure that you include these elements in your grant proposal introduction:
Title Page - Keep your title page plain and simple. Avoid using fancy fonts. Make sure that the grantor will be able to read the title and the author at first glance.
Cover Letter - A cover letter is the best way for you to introduce your organization and to express your purpose and objective. It is a chance for you to make a good first impression with your target organization.
Abstract - An abstract or executive summary serves as a summary of your grant proposal. Most grant makers read this part to determine if the whole grant proposal is worth reading or not, so you have to make sure that all the important details about your grant proposal are included in this section.
Institutional Background - This element shall help you establish your credibility. You can mention your qualifications in applying for a grant and a brief introduction about you and your group mates' academic background.
The body of your grant proposal is crucial because this is where all the details about your project are written.
Statement of the Problem - Statement of the problem is a thorough description of the problem your organization is trying to resolve.
Objectives - Aside from stating the goals your organization is trying to achieve, objectives should also describe the target audience and the community that would benefit from your project.
Methodology - Methodology contains all the measures you will take in order to attain your objectives. You should also explain how you will use the proposed budget. The methodology shall include the following:
- Action plan - The proposed solution to the problem.
- Project design - The proposed process in executing the solution.
- Budget assumption - State your expected funding including but not limited to the financial aid you will get from the grant organization if your grant proposal is accepted.
- Budget breakdown - Assuming that you were able to get all the financial aid you need, how will you allot the budget? What will be the budget for each process included in your project design?
Feasibility study - A feasibility study is used to determine the contingency and practicality of your proposed project. Your feasibility study must include a discussion about your possible modes of operation and alternative solutions for problems that may arise. The grantor will use your feasibility study to determine if it is practical to fund your project or not. If there is even a slight ambiguity in the feasibility of your project, grantors may also suggest better alternatives for your project development which is why this element is crucial.
The concluding part of a grant proposal is not like a research paper conclusion, nor is it a mere summary of the paper. A grant proposal’s conclusion contains your future plans after the execution of the project. The concluding part of your grant proposal must contain the following:
Evaluation plan - An evaluation plan serves as an action plan for the development of your project during or after its implementation.
Sustainability - Grantors like a project that can stand alone and continue operating even after they have finished funding it. You must be able to explain how you will sustain your project after its sponsorship ties have ended.
Affiliations - It is imperative that the grantors know the other funding organizations that would sponsor your project. It is not only for purposes of transparency, but for legalities as well.
To establish the credibility of your grant proposal, you can include the following supporting documents:
Letters of support - You can ask your professors, other sponsors, benefiting community, or even the local government for a support letter regarding your project. This could act like a safety net for grant organizations.
Recommendation letters - A recommendation letter is a letter of endorsement from a professional individual which often states how that individual believes in your capacity to do the project.
Research Support - If your project is based on a study, you can include a brief review of related literature. This will not only serve as a strong supporting evidence but it will also give you a chance to explain why among other similar grant proposals, yours must be chosen.
How to write a grant proposal?
Step by step procedure on how to write a grant proposal
There are three characteristics your grant proposal must always have: conciseness, precision, and perfection. Remember, grant proposals involve money, and grant makers will be quick to dismiss your proposal for any errors and vagueness, no matter how minimal they may be.
Make sure that your grant proposal is custom written. Do not send a generic proposal to several grant institutes. Make sure that each grant proposal you send to a grant institute is written specifically for them. Remember, every grant organizations have their own guidelines, so make sure that each grant proposal you will send is tailored according to their standards.
Write a striking title. Your grant proposal title must be able to summarize your problem and your objective in a creative way. It must make a lasting impression to the grantors so that your grant proposal will stand out. Write a list of titles that you can think of, then choose the best title. You can also ask your peers for opinion regarding the title or the most appealing title on your list.
Write a cover letter. A cover letter must include a well-written explanation about the nature of your organization, the purpose of your proposed project, and the significance of the said project to your community. If you want to learn more about writing a cover letter, click here.
Write an abstract. The abstract is the official introduction of your grant proposal since some grant organizations do not require a cover letter. In this section, you must write about the objectives of your project, its significance to your community, the result you are trying to accomplish, a brief explanation of your project plan, and the amount of money you need.
Elaborate the problem you have identified. For a more concise statement of the problem, it is better if you briefly discuss the trends and phenomenon surrounding your issue to provide grantors with context regarding the problem you have identified and to further establish the necessity to resolve it.
Discuss why your organization deserve the financial aid. Aside from writing about the nature of your organization, you must also be able to discuss why your organization must be chosen for financial assistance. Discuss the reliability and credibility of your organization and how the grant maker will benefit in financing your project. Explain why there is a need for you to do the said project and why you have chosen that specific foundation, corporation, or government organization to be part of your project.
Discuss your goals and objectives. Since you have mentioned your goals and objectives in your abstract, you must elaborate it in this section. Explain why your organization chose to resolve that specific problem and what you are trying to achieve by resolving this specific problem.
Discuss your project design. Provide a detailed project proposal plan like a timeline of events, place/s where it will be held, and the people that will be involved in it. Include graphs, statistics, and charts as much as possible. Explain the methods your organization will use to proceed with your project.
Be transparent, discuss you feasibility study and other sources of funds. It is alright to be ambitious, but always keep in mind that your grant proposal must be realistic and achievable. Make sure that with the allotted time and the proposed budget, you will be able to successfully launch your project. When grant makers accept your grant proposal, they are already putting their trust in your organization and risking their reputation to help you achieve your goal. You should also inform the grant maker of your other sponsors.
Discuss the evaluation. Given that your grant proposal is accepted and your project succeeds, how will you handle the success? What will you do with the success after achieving your goal? Will you stop from there or will you use it to take measures for the betterment of your community?
Review other grant proposals. You can ask your peers to review your grant proposal so that you will have an idea on what to improve. You can also compare your proposal o other grant proposals to see which elements need to be improved.
Grant proposals take a lot of time to be finished. Some people take years before they are able to write a successful grant proposal. It involves several revisions and numerous rejections. Despite that, you must remember to focus on your main objective.
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Writing grant proposals is sensitive because you have to convince your target organization to finance your project without sounding too eager. Let’s face it: it’s not easy to finance projects as it requires huge amount of money and for that reason, vaguely written grant proposals are easily rejected. To avoid getting rejected, you must strictly follow the steps on writing a grant proposal and always take into consideration the guidelines for grant proposal set by the grant maker. If you find yourself still struggling even after reading the steps on how to write a grant proposal, you can resort to other options like CustomEssayMeister’s grant proposal writing services. Whatever problems you are having in terms of grant proposal writing, just message us and we will be glad to help you.