If you wonder how to succeed in grant proposal writing, this article will shed light on the underlying principles of a successful proposal for a grant. A great thing about this specific article is that it does not focus on some specific discipline or subject area but provides general strategies that may be used in any research field. So, if you want to learn how to write a grant proposal successfully, read on.
What is a grant proposal and when is it written? As a rule, a grant proposal is a formal document that is written by people who want to win a specific grant. As such, when applying for a grant, the applicant is expected to submit a detailed and comprehensive grant proposal with a detailed discussion of the idea as well as argumentation of its significance and its overall role for the community. The result of grant proposal writing is either success and subsequent winning of a grant or a rejection. For those who have not succeeded in grant proposal writing, there is always an opportunity to improve themselves and apply for the next funding cycle.
Where to Find Prospective and Appealing Grants?
One of the main questions that interests grant applicants is how to find prospectus funding agencies and get adequate funding for the grant. It is crucial to investigate the agencies that provide funding by paying close attention to their mission, vision, values, and the actual essence of their practice and sphere of work or interest. When can you get a grant? - When you meet the needs and visions of a specific funding agency. If the funding agency is not interested in your project, it will not have any reason to provide you with a grant eve if it is impeccable in content and has ample justification. So, remember a specific grant proposal should be sent to a specific funding organization if you intend to succeed in it.
When you browse the Internet, you will come across a lot of information about different funding agencies and grant programs, so keep in mind that you will have to dedicate much time for close investigation of this issue.
How to Write a Grant Proposal: Helpful Tips and Strategies
- Start working on your grant proposal well in advance.
- Be sure to have sufficient time for the application process. Many students miss the opportunity to apply because they have not cared well in advance for the process of finding suitable funding opportunities.
- Remember to attach a cover letter to your application form. It will uncover more details about you as a personality, professional, and community member.
- Be sure to address all questions if the funding committee requires.
- In case your grant proposal has been rejected, do not get discouraged and apply again the next time.
- Be sure to meet the requirements and expectations of the funding agency, so carefully study their field of interest and specialty.
- Be specific and answer the questions comprehensively and in a great detail.
- Be realistic when it comes to the process of project implementation and time frames in particular.
Consider the following aspects of writing a grant proposal effectively:
- Audience. The audience for grant proposal writing is specific as it consists predominantly of the fund providers who are knowledgeable professionals in a specific sphere. Therefore, keep in mind that the funding agency will not even take into account a poorly organized grant proposal that does not address all the questions and that is not appealing to their attention. Therefore, mind the structure, the writing style, and the vocabulary you choose. Switch on your creativity and try to predict some questions that the funding agency members would have asked you. Be sure to sound persuasive and firm about the significance of your project as well as specific reasons why you should be awarded a grant and how it will change your life for a specific period of time.
- Writing Style. Actually, the style of writing as well as the manner of organizing the whole grant proposal can tell a lot about you to the funding committee. The very text of the grant proposal can tell your funding agency a lot about who you are as a researcher, as a person, as a citizen, etc. From what you write and how you write, much can be inferred about your values, skills, and abilities, particularly whether you will be able to implement the project, you have designed.
- Overall Budget for the Proposal. Grant projects differ from one another, particularly in their size, i.e. some projects require so much money that you will have to seek it from more than one funder. Therefore, if you send your grant proposal to a few funding agencies, make it clear how much money you expect to get from them.
- Structure of the Proposal. You should precisely follow the organizational requirements provided by funding agencies. Actually, the organizational standards differ from one agency to another but some of the widely accepted rules are as follows:
- Cover page;
- Abstract page;
- Introduction, where you state the problem, indicate the aim of the research project, and mention the project significance;
- Review of literature (on which you can rely as expert evidence);
- Narrative of the very project (cover methodology, aims and objectives, potential outcomes and results, analysis, etc.);
- Personnel involved in the process of project implementation;
- Budget required.
- Revision of the Proposal. A grant proposal is a relatively long paper, so be sure to pay attention to the structure as you revise and edit it. Preferably, on the point of revision, please ask some person (friend or family member) to look through the proposal and give you feedback. Maybe he/ she could pinpoint to some specific areas of improvement. When revising the paper, make sure you check on the following aspects:
- Is the proposal interesting to read?
- Is there a clearly outlines hypothesis?
- Do the project implementation steps seem believable?
- Is it easy to read the proposal?
Grant Proposal Template
- Cover Letter. With the help of the cover letter, you can delve into details and provide a personal introduction or background to why you have set your mind on implementing this specific project, what is special about it, what makes you so interested and passionate about it, etc. Moreover, in the cover letter, you need to specify the sum of money you will need and clearly summarize the project, its nature, and purpose. In other words, it should be made clear to the funding agency what exactly it will fund.
- Executive Summary. Once your target reader has got familiar with the project that need funding and attention from the outside, with the help of a properly written and organized executive summary, your readers will get a chance to see the essence of your project. Particularly, in the executive summary focus on the aims and objectives, mission, vision, strategies, outcomes, future of the project once it is given funding (results of the implementation).
- Project Statement. In this section, you need to specify what problem you intend to solve with the help of your project implementation. Here be as precise as possible. It should be made clear to the target reader what will change once the project is successful.
- Aims and Objectives. Elaborate on the main goals of the project and the objectives that will help you reach that goal.
- Strategies for Project Implementation. This section demands many details and specific steps how you plan to realize the project. Focus on the specific activity you will undergo in order to make your plans and projects successful. Be sure to provide appealing and specific methods that will draw attention of your funding agency.
- Evaluation Planning. Imagine that some funding agency will give you that exorbitant sum of money you need for the project implementation and bringing your dream to life. In such case, the funding agency will certainly want to know how the money is distributed. Therefore, be sure to evaluate the project in advance — just on the stage of planning in order to specify why a specific sum of money is needed and what it will be spent on. Be persuasive in this section and provide clear accounting reports.
- Overall Budget. This section is in some way similar to the previous one as it also deals with money. However, the difference between them is that the budget section does not require from you to be accountable. Here you should rather be specific and clear how the sum of money will be distributed within the scope of the project.
- Facts and Details about Your Organization. If you have your own organization, please write brief information about it. For example, mention whether it is old or new (when it was established), who works there, what the organization specializes in, etc. Be sure to provide transparent information here as to who runs the organization, how many people work there, what your duties and responsibilities are, and so on.
Types of Grant Proposals
When one hears the phrase “grant proposal,” he/ she will probably imagine a huge document consisting of many pages. However, it is not actually true about grant proposal writing type. Surely, the paper length depends on the type of a grant proposal but do not expect that you will have to write a dissertation-like document. Check out the following list of grant proposal types:
- Letter of Inquiry (LOI). As a rule, this grant proposal kind goes to a foundation. The core aim of LOI is to draw attention of a funding agency. If you do not know from the beginning which of the funding agencies might be interested in your proposal, you may send a LOI to each of them and see who responds. An average proposal length for LOI is two or three pages. As a rule, the main content of LOI just provides an overview of the project and gives a hint of what you intend to plan and implement with your project. On the whole, a LOI just helps for you and the funding agency to investigate whether the project is worth attention and whether it is a good idea to finance it. Once it was decided that the project is a worthy one, you are free to work further on your project grant proposal. Recently, it has become a new requirement from many funding agencies to first get a LOI in order to get the general idea of the project. Actually, it is a good initiative because the grant applicant does not have to spend a lot of time on describing the project that would be of no interest to the community and the funding agency. If you are working on a LOI now, be sure to briefly introduce the project, explain what need lies behind its implementation, provide a brief outline of the plan how you intend to bring the project to life, and highlight how the project fits into the greater context.
- Full Proposal. This is actually the document that comes to our mind when we hear the phrase “grant proposal writing.” In other words, this is the “flesh” or the “body” of what we propose. To succeed in writing a full proposal, you need to follow a specific structure: a title page, an executive summary of the project, the budget description, and others. Depending on the aim and the requirements, the full length of the proposal varies from 5 to 25 pages.
- Letter Proposal. This type of proposal writing is often required by large corporations. They prefer to read a letter proposal instead of a full proposal, which is normally long. It will suffice to provide a letter proposal of three or four pages. The information that should be definitely included is a brief overview of your project, facts about your organization, the needed money request, etc. On the one hand, it may seem that writing a letter proposal is easier but it may be even more challenging, especially considering the fact that you will have to fit much information about your project in a brief format.
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