Ten-Step Plan to Successful Grant Writing
Decide what your department needs and how much financing is required to meet those needs. Many grants look for teams, groups or more than one jurisdiction or discipline that will benefit from the money. For example, the AFG grants have a regional component.
- Locate the most appropriate funding sources and get a feel for their requirements by thoroughly reading the request for proposal (RFP) and application instructions or tutorials. These often contain key guidance to let you know specifics of what the sponsor is seeking to fund.
- Make note of the deadlines and the required delivery mode/method.
- Assemble your grant writing team—no one works well in a vacuum. In many instances, several staff members will have the skills to contribute.
- Begin the process of organizing the proposal by drafting an outline. Be sure to stick to the outline or subtitles as directed in the RFP.
- Write your needs section first. This section should address the goals and objectives to meet your department's needs. Also, this section tells your department's needs story by addressing the three Ws: Who are you? What is your need? Why should you be funded? The key is to write a compelling argument as to why your needs fit the grant's goals, to provide all the paperwork and to answer all the questions the grant asks in the time frame and format requested.
- Design the detailed budget. Be sure to incorporate all possible expenses that may be incurred in completing the project.
- Write your timeline; ensure it's realistic and account for any possible delays or roadblocks that could require additional time.
- Once the above steps are completed, compile the first draft of your proposal. Have someone outside your team read and review your grant proposal. It's important to have a neutral party review the proposal to ensure the main ideas are conveyed properly and that your message is consistent.
- Revise your proposal. This is a good point to check your grant proposal against the RFP's checklist. Again, you want to address all of the RFP's requirements. Finally, submit your proposal. Be sure not to miss the deadline and retain any proof of submission you have obtained.
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