Grassroots Grant and Proposal Writing Workshop

Tips on Writing a Good Proposal

  • Follow all directions accurately.
  • What is your mission?  How does it align with the funder’s mission? (show that you’ve done your homework)
  • Think about what niche you’re filling–what need are you addressing?
  • When writing about the problem/need you’re addressing, be short, concise, and not overly negative. Don’t assume the funder knows about your subject area.
  • Statistics can be helpful.  Rules on citations will differ from grant to grant.
  • Avoid acronyms and scientific verbiage.
  • Be realistic about your audience—don’t act like your project will change the world, the U.S, etc.
  • Has this been done before? Was it successful?
  • Think about how your project will be sustainable.
  • Be clear about the desired impact of your project.
  • Elaborate on your experience as it relates to your proposal.
  • Try to stand out—show your passion for the project.
  • Use confident language (“My project will” vs. “My project would”).
  • Do you research on how much money you will need—be as detailed as possible.  If the funding you need exceeds the amount the grant can provide, list any other sources of funding you are applying for.
  • Cooperative efforts show local support for the project.  Only list cooperators from whom you have gotten support.
  • Develop a realistic timeline for your project.
  • Anticipate the questions a grantor might have while reading your proposal—be able to demonstrate that you have considered the potential obstacles to your plan.
  • Show attention to grammar and spelling—have multiple people read your proposal!
  • Consider how your proposal fits in with your future goals.
  • Try to find examples of proposals that have been funded by the grant you are applying for.

Common Structure for Grant Proposals

Problem (one or two paragraphs):
A brief statement of the problem or need you have recognized and are prepared to address.

Solution (one or two paragraphs):
A short description of the project, including what will take place and how many people will benefit from the program, how and where it will operate, for how long, and who will staff it.

Funding requirements if applicable (one paragraph):
An explanation of the amount of grant money required for the project, how much you are requesting from this funder, and what your plans are for funding it in the future.

Organization and expertise (one paragraph):
What expertise do you have to support this project?

Conclusion (one paragraph):
Brief recap of project and how this grant will help you meet your goals.  Include how this project fits into your future goals as well.

Guidelines for Articulating your Project

  • What is the problem that your project will address?
  • What is your solution?
  • Who is your target audience? Why?
  • What niche are you filling in the community?
  • Can you partner with anyone in the community?
  • How does your project comply with the grantmaker’s purpose, goals and objectives?
  • Is there an existing, successful model for this project?
  • What specific objectives will you accomplish and how?
  • What obstacles might you encounter?
  • Describe a realistic timeline for the project.  How will this be sustainable?
  • How much funding will you need? Be specific.
  • What is your desired impact?
  • Why do you want to do this?  Show your passion!
  • What experience do you have to support this project?
  • How does this project fit with your future goals?