How to Write a Grant Proposal – Book Review


Book Review: How To Write A Grant Proposal
By Geoffrey Craig

This review is for a crucial book to help earn grants for 501(c)3 non-profits. The book is “How to Write a Grant Proposal”, published by John Wiley and Sons 2003, 360 pages. The authors, Sheryl Carter New and James Aaron Quick, are very experienced in the field and have written many books about grant writing together. It’s a good solid reference for writing proposals, whether you are new to grant writing or a veteran pro.

Consult your town library for a copy or look for it on Amazon. If you’re purchasing it as new it should come with a CD-ROM.

“How To Write A Grant Proposal” covers its subject comprehensively. Not all subjects will be required for each proposal that you’ll ever write. Differences will be dependent on such things as what sort of agency you are proposing to. Very often you will have precise instructions from the funding agency on the best ways to frame your bid. This book creates a road map, explaining the how’s and why’s, for when that support is lacking.

The book is well structured. It reflects the layout and headings of a grant proposal. One of the key features of the book is that it has an in-depth study about setting goals and objectives. It shows you the way to develop your program goals and objectives by developing them out in tables that you’re going to refer back to as you write your proposal. This has the added benefit of shedding light on your program structure and likely improving it, if development is still needed at that point.

The chapter structure follows the layout of a proposal. Each chapter has four different examples that are woven all through the book. The section on goal development demonstrates the examples are built from their respective tables of goals and objectives. Each chapter has the section of the examples associated with that particular section heading.

The four examples that it’s created around demonstrate varied proposals can be. They provide continuity throughout the book. They’re all based upon programs for social issues but unique enough to show different proposal layouts.

There are a lot of good things about the book. It’s constructed in great depth and detail and makes good use of the format of a proposal together with the examples to give it a good solid structure that hangs together well. The greatest part is the finely detailed analysis of the best ways to chart goals and objectives and how it implements them to the four example proposals. The book is a useful tool for greenhorn grant-writers and also for seasoned pros.

On the down side the book talks about Federal grant applications without reference the complications that go along with them. There are many issues beyond the scope of the book that are fundamental to Federal grant applications and this subject needs an entire book in its own right. Additionally, some topics like mission statements could have been a tad better developed. Finally, I know it’s not really a criticism but there should have been a CD-ROM, which wasn’t available for me to review. These points are very minor in comparison to the wealth of information in the book.

Finally, my review is that it’s a well-structured book with lots of details about grant writing, how to set goals in grant writing and some great examples of proposals. Overall I give it five stars. It’s a great book to have as part of any grant-writing library.

Geoff Craig is a freelance writer in San Diego California. His blog about writing grants for non-profits has the ambitious goal of building an interactive community to support grant writers.

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