5 Tips to Successful Grant Proposal Writing

By Phyllis Edson

Applying for grants and writing the proposal can be an intimidating process. Here are five tips which can help you get through the process a little easier.

1 – First things first. Before beginning to write your proposal, read the instructions. Then, read the instructions again. Make sure to highlight or underline key parts, including formatting instructions, deadlines and mode of submission. Make sure to actually follow the instructions, even if you see no reason for them. The organization which issued the Request for Proposals includes those instructions for their own reasons. Whether you understand the reason or not is immaterial. Many organizations will go through the received proposals and simply eliminate all those proposals that don’t adhere to the instructions just to reduce the number of proposals.

2 – Remember your audience. You have no idea who is going to read your proposal. Make sure that you avoid jargon that is specific to your organization or even your field. The proposal readers may or may not have any familiarity with the terms you use in your everyday work. Also, avoid acronyms and abbreviations. You can introduce them parenthetically, for example, “Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” Once you’ve introduced the acronym or abbreviation in this way, it’s acceptable to use it throughout the proposal. However, remember that the readers are probably reading hundreds of proposals each with their own acronyms and abbreviations. It’s best just to spell out the names throughout the proposal.

3 – Have someone else read the proposal. Before submitting the proposal, have someone outside the organization or program read through it. This should not be a proofreading exercise. Instead, encourage that person to comment on whether he understands what you’re wanting to accomplish with the grant funding. If that person does not understand the proposal, take a second look at it and see if you can improve it.

4 – Proofread, proofread, proofread. Make sure to also check the budget numbers and ensure there are no mistakes in addition or in decimal point placement.

5 – Send it in with time to spare. Whether you submit it via a delivery or mail service or electronically, be sure to give yourself some time to spare. The best laid plans often go awry due to problems which are beyond our control such as interruptions in internet service or packages lost by delivery companies.
Though you may be intimidated by the grant writing process, these 5 tips will help you get through the grant writing process with a little less stress.

Phyllis Edson is a professional writer in the Kansas City area. To discuss your next writing project, contact her at phyllis.edson@comcast.net.

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