Grant Proposal Writing Checklist

Find a grant

  • Books are published every year with lists of grants. Go to the reference section at your library, or check a reliable website.
  • Before you put all the time and work into a proposal, contact the grant giver to confirm the deadline and to find out whether the grant is still available.
  • Every grant will have a list of rules that your project has to fall inside if it's going to be eligible.
  • Before applying for a grant, you need to know your project inside and out. If you can't quote figures and explain it in plain language, you need to do more research.
  • It's important that you do the math and figure out exactly how much money you need to complete your project. If a grant is too big, you'll need to explain what you'll do with the rest of the money; if it's too small, you should explain where you plan on getting the rest of the cash you need.
  • Make sure you can offer a prediction as to how soon your project can be completed once you have the grant money.

Research the project

  • It doesn't matter if you're looking to finance your college education, get money to write a novel or to expand your business, but you need to have a clear goal in mind.
  • Collect data about your project. Get the facts about similar endeavors and their chances for success.
  • It needs to include your mission statement, your goals, how many resources you need and the research to show you can get started.

Write the grant

  • Every proposal begins with an introduction, moves to several paragraphs of body and ends with a closing. Assign the order and main topic of the paragraphs before you even think about opening your word processor.
  • No matter how technical your project, spell it out in plain, easy-to-understand language. If you absolutely must use technical terms, be sure they're defined.
  • There is no faster way to shoot yourself in the foot than to ignore your spell check on a grant proposal. Check the basics and make sure there aren't flaws that will get you denied.
  • Read and re-read the guidelines. No matter how well-written or brilliant your proposal is, if it breaks the rules, you won't be eligible for the grant.
  • Add pictures and schematics if they bring your point home.
  • Proofread your proposal at least twice, making sure you bring a fresh set of eyes to the document each time. Once you're sure it works, give the proposal to someone else to read it over and give you an outside perspective.
  • Save your grant proposal as either a Microsoft Word document, or as a document in Rich Text Format. Other types of files may be hard to read, and if your proposal can't be read it will be rejected.

Want free money to go to school, start a business or do any of a hundred other things? Then what you need is a grant from the government or a non-profit organization. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need a professional and detailed grant proposal, which is easier to write than you may think. With a little planning and proper research, your proposal will win over the selection committee and have you at work on your project in no time.

Tips

  •  Check those figures. Before including any numbers, make sure to double-check your sources and your math.
  • Watch the deadline. Work at a steady pace and have your proposal ready to be turned in before the due date so you have a cushion for fixing last-minute problems.
  • Think about your environment. Write your grant proposal in a place that's free from outside distractions, where all of your research materials are on hand.