This phase of the writing process is to generate ideas and build support for these ideas among those who will value them. Activities that occur are:
  1. Develop an idea for a program, product, service, or activity.
  2. Determine if the organization can implement it.
  3. Build support for the idea.
  4. Document and demonstrate need or benefit.
  5. Plan the proposal activities.
  6. Develop Timetable for Project
  7. Develop Budget and Budget Narrative

Below are some items that may be needed for your project budget:

  1. Personnel - Salaried personnel, hourly personnel, salary increases. Special categories of people who may need to assist with the project, i.e., research assistants, interviewers, computer programmers, secretaries, clerk-typists, editorial assistants, technicians, accounting staff, grants compliance reporting staff, etc.
  2. Fringe Benefits - Staff benefits including FICA, Wyoming Retirement, Health, Dental and Life Insurance, vacation accrual.
  3. Travel - Automobile/aircraft/cab expense, subsistence - lodging and meals associated with administrative travel, field work, professional meetings and consultant travel.
  4. Equipment - Office equipment, vehicles equipment, moveable equipment, equipment rental, equipment installation.
  5. Supplies - Office supplies, postage, test materials, questionnaire forms, duplicating materials, books/journals, electronic supplies, and report materials and supplies.
  6. Contractual - Consultant, service contracts for evaluations, surveys, speaker fees, bookkeeping, cleaning, equipment maintenance, etc.
  7. Construction - Costs associated with a construction project related to new construction, alterations and renovations.
  8. Other - Space rental, utilities, insurance, audit fees, mailing lists, etc.
Mission, Goals, Objectives and Activities in Grant Proposals

Vision - What the organization has done, what it is doing now, and what its plan for the future.

Mission/Purpose - Broad statement of purpose or "end" to be achieved by an organization.
Goals - Shorter-range, achievable stated ends linked to an organization's mission/purpose.
Objectives - Specific, measurable achievable steps that enable the organization to reach its goals.

Objectives include:

          • Results - result to be achieved (e.g. decrease in teen pregnancy rates).
          • Criteria - specific criteria by which results will be measured (e.g. 10% decrease).
          • Time Frame - time period this will be accomplished by (e.g. December 1998).
          • Target Group - who will receive the service or intervention.

Action Plan - The who, what, how, when and resources required to help management delegate responsibility in a sensible, meaningful fashion.
Writing the Proposal
This phase systematically develops and writes the proposal components. Funders may request specific components in their Request for Proposal or Guideline. It is important to follow their instructions. If there are not specific instructions, follow these components in order.
  1. Transmittal Letter
  2. The Proposal
    1. Title Page
    2. Abstract
    3. Table of Contents Introduction
    4. Statement of Need
    5. Goals and Objectives
    6. Methods
    7. Evaluation
    8. Dissemination and Utilization
    9. Facilities and Equipment
    10. Personnel and Organization Capability
    11. Budget
    12. Appendices
  1. Transmittal Letter
    • This is on organization’s letterhead with an appropriate signature. It consists of a summary of problems or needs, goals and objectives and project methods, organizational capability and experience, how the project links with funder interests, name of contact person and funds requested (optional). This is no more than one page.
    • Write this letter when you have completed your proposal.
  2. The Proposal
    1. Title Page - Consists of title of the project, name of applicant submitting the proposal, beginning and ending dates, funds requested (optional), names - addresses - signatures of project director, and date of submission. This is one page in length.
    2. Abstract - This is a brief but extremely important overview of the project. It is written last. Usually it is not more than 200-300 words (one page in length) and describes the problem or need, purpose and goals, who will be served, methods, procedures, and program activities, who will conduct the project and where, time frame for the project, background and qualification of staff and organization, cost of the project, and benefits of the project.

This section is also written after you have completed the proposal

    1. Table of Contents - Identifies the major sections and divisions of the proposal in outline form, including page numbers. This is the very last section to be drafted. It is written after you have completed all parts of the proposal. It may consist of more than one page, depending on the length of the proposal.
    2. Introduction- Places the proposed project within some context. Consists of statement of problem, how project addresses the problem, and tells the funder what lies ahead. This is approximately one-third of a page in duration.
    3. Statement of Need - Provides evidence from many sources on nature of problem and the need to address it. Answers questions to who, what, when, where, why and how long of a problem. Includes any previous attempt to address the problem, what resources exist to address the problem, the organization’s involvement in the problem, and what are the consequences if the problem is not addressed.  In a twenty page proposal, it may take two to three pages to adequately explain the need.
    4. Goals and Objectives - Goals are broad statements of the anticipated outcome. Objectives are measurements or benchmarks of success in reaching the goal. Objectives should identify the target population, results, criteria for measuring, time frame, and expected outcomes. Words like “to increase, to reduce, to improve” will be used. This section is typically no longer than one page.  Each objective must be consistent with the intent of the RFP, Request or Proposal and include target population, results, criteria for measuring, time frame, and expected outcomes.
    5. Method - Answers questions about what activities and tasks will be conducted, how they will be carried out, when and by whom. This is best described in subsections titled introduction, program activities, cooperating organizations, staffing and administration, work plan/time table, and products/outcomes summary. This will be the longest section of the proposal.
      1. Introduction - This section may be optional depending upon length of this       section and specific requirements of the proposal. The introduction summarizes the project’s overall approach for procedures and calls attention to those that are innovative or unusual. It is no more than one-quarter of a page in length.
      2. Program Activities - This section describes in detail specific activities of the  project. A list format followed by a description is recommended. This section is normally no more than 1-3 pages in length.
      3. Cooperative Organizations – Describes any groups of organizations cooperating with or involved in this project. Include those organizations making cash/in-kind contributions.
      4. Staffing and Administration -  Describes the plan for staffing and administering the project. It includes positions, responsibilities, and level of effort. It is usually one to two pages in length.
      5. Work Plan/Timetable - Summarizes project tasks, logically from beginning to end. Pert Charts, Gantt Charts, Activity Calendars, and Flow Charts are methods to accomplish this. This is normally one to three pages in length.
      6. Products and Outcomes: This sets forth the products of the project and the project’s long-term and short-term results. An example of a product might be a model for other projects.
    6. Evaluation - Contains information about evaluation design to see if you have met your goals and objectives. It includes what is going to be evaluated, what and how data is collected, sources of information, instruments of procedures for collection, timeliness, who collects data, and plans for reporting results.
    7. Dissemination and Utilization - This section is included if funder shows an interest in having a broader impact on region or state. Some strategies may include presentations, media strategies, workshops and training manuals. This section is no more than one-half to one page
    8. Facilities and Equipment - Identifies facilities and equipment to be provided by the applicant and/or acquired through the project. This section will link to the budget request section. It is no more than one-half to one page long.
    9. Personnel and Organizational Capability - This section names the key staff and describes their competencies, background, values, and qualifications. Resumes and vitaes are usually placed in the Appendix. A description of the organization, its experience, accomplishments and strengths, evidence of credibility along with relationship to this project in the past is included in this section. Annual reports, financial audits, and board membership roster are placed in the Appendix. This section is one to two pages long.
    10. Budget - All project costs are grouped into categories including Personnel, Consultant/Contractual Services, Space and Utilities, Equipment, Materials and Supplies, Travel Expenses, Services and Other Costs.   A Budget Justification, a narrative of your computations, and Plans for Future Funding are included as well.  The Budget Justification and Budget can be combined into the same form. There should be no surprises in the budget as all items should have been discussed in the narrative. Read through the items listed in the categories below that need to be incorporated in project budget. The budget should be presented in the following order:
      1. Personnel - Salaried personnel, hourly personnel, salary increases. Special categories of people who may need to assist with the project, i.e., research assistants, interviewers, computer programmers, secretaries, clerk-typists, editorial assistants, technicians, accounting staff, grants compliance reporting staff, etc.
      2. Fringe Benefits - Staff benefits including FICA, Wyoming Retirement, Health, Dental and Life Insurance, vacation accrual.
      3. Travel - Automobile/aircraft/cab expense, subsistence - lodging and meals associated with administrative travel, field work, professional meetings and consultant travel.
      4. Equipment - Office equipment, vehicles equipment, moveable equipment, equipment rental, equipment installation.
      5. Supplies - Office supplies, postage, test materials, questionnaire forms, duplicating materials, books/journals, electronic supplies, and report materials and supplies.
      6. Contractual - Consultant, service contracts for evaluations, surveys, speaker fees, bookkeeping, cleaning, equipment maintenance, etc.
      7. Construction - Costs associated with a construction project related to new construction, alterations and renovations.
    11. Appendices - Included in this section are Letters of Support, Tables, Legal and Administrative documentation, etc.
Don’t Forget The Match
Meeting match requirements of some Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) can be a frustrating and time-consuming task of proposal writing. It is rare to find a funder willing to fund one-hundred percent of the project cost and most likely will require either a soft or hard match. Funders in many situations will use the match formula as the tiebreaker in giving awards. Creativity and imagination pays off in this important part of your proposal.
Soft match includes the value of in-house donated goods and services, including personnel time, administrative overhead, mileage, office supplies and equipment, office space, and utilities. If not otherwise specified by the funder, any pertinent aspect of the office that will be directly involved with the project are allowable costs. For example, if extra clerical support will be needed at certain items for this project, list “X” percent of a clerk’s time and fringe benefits as an in-kind contribution.
Be prudent in your use of this as some federal agencies determine an indirect cost rate for an organization by including a set amount of executive level and financial support. Do not count such support twice in a proposal, once as in-kind and once as administrative support. Also if you know these in-kind goods and services are being used as match in another grant it is inappropriate to use the value for the second grant. It can only be used once. It is also inappropriate to use in-kind goods of an already federal grant-funded project. If you are in doubt, ask your funder.
Soft match can also be found from local business support in the form of giving a presentation, lecture, goods and services, etc. The salary and benefits that would have been paid to an employee while they are performing services for the grant-funded project are common items of soft match. These opportunities also provide the impetus for coalition building, a needed component of most proposals.
The other type of match is called hard match, or actual cold cash. Hard match may be difficult to find when there is no money that has been appropriated in the budget. Typically these funds would have to be determined when the budget is being developed.   If you know this is a good possibility during the next fiscal year, plan some funding in your requested budget.
Hard match can also be found from local business support or local and state associations affiliated with the project. Consider using a challenge grant to mobilize individual and group support in the community. The rationale is... “X” amount of money will be raised from a particular funder, if “X” amount can be raised. In other words, this is an opportunity to double or triple the initial investment. Local community foundations might be another source of hard match.
Last but not least, if you have exhausted all possible avenues for a hard match, request a waiver from the funding authority. You will need to demonstrate overwhelming financial hardship.
Remember ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’ when it comes to match.
Evaluating the Proposal, Submitting, and Following Up
  1. Evaluate and revise proposal drafts.
  2. Format, type and proofread the final proposal.
  3. Reproduce and bind the final proposal.
  4. Submit the proposal to the funder.
  5. Follow-up with funder.
    1. Presentations and meetings with funders.
    2. Site visits by funders.
    3. Telephone reviews
    4. Handling requests for proposal revisions.

Grant Writing Guidelines

    • Active voice.
    • Third person (never use I) and gender neutral.
    • If acronyms are used, explain in the beginning of the grant.
    • Avoid contractions.
    • Don’t put key information in the appendix.
    • Correct spelling and punctuation.
    • Know your readers and write in the way they can understand it using the specific language they know, i.e., arts, health, law enforcement, etc. If you do not know the language, re-read the proposal and any documents funder produces or suggests.
    • Short, clear sentences.
    • Use headings (center, side or sub) to draw attention to divisions. Use the funder’s proposal guidelines to determine headings.
    • Use italics, underline, bold and bullets.
    • Adhere to page limitations.
    • Proper use of singular/plural, i.e. data are.
    • Black ink. Use colored ink very sparingly.
    • Put final copy on 8 ½ x 11 bond.
    • Single spaced unless directed.
    • Print only on one side.
    • Simple binding - follow directions.
    • Edit! Edit! Edit! And not necessarily by the writer.

Sheela’s List of Proposal “Checks”

  • Reread proposal and make mental notes that all points have been covered.
    • Make sure logic and linkage of proposal is understood.
    • Pick up letters of support.  Arrange letters from those with the most impact or politically important to the least important.
  • Put document in appropriate order as specified making sure everything is there.
  • Number the pages.
  • Prepare Table of Contents.
  • Prepare Transmittal Letter.
  • Get required signatures.
  • Determine number of copies and how to bind them.
  • Make copies.
    • Prepare for mailing.
  • Mail, if you have lots of time, otherwise send FEDEX.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Forget about it for a while.

Most Common Reasons for Failure of Funding

  • The grantseeker does not systematically search out potential funders from among public, foundation, corporate, and other funding sources.
  • Proposals are boiler plated and shot gunned instead of tailored for each funder.
  • Proposals do not reflect what the grantseeker know.
  • Proposals are not consistent from section to section.
  • Grantseekers do not thoroughly do the research on each potential funder to determine the funder’s real interests, geographic preferences, and dollar amounts.
  • Grantseekers do not cultivate personal contacts with funders.
  • Grantseekers do not get on Request for Proposal (RFP) or bid lists, receive funder newsletters or network effectively.
  • Grantseekers fail to carefully review and meticulously follow funder instructions, policies, and guidelines.
  • Grantseekers fail to build a team which would make them more competitive.
  • The proposal hasn’t adequately expressed the severity of the need.
  • The grantseeker fails to talk with the funder to find out why the request was rejected.
  • The grantseeker stops seeking other grants/funds once they are funded.
  • The grantseeker fails to pursue obvious available funds (e.g. donations, fee for service, loans.)
  • The grantseeker is rejected and gives up!

Implementing the Project

  1. Use proposal to guide your project. Integrate any funder  requirements found in the contract and the Request for Proposal.
  2. Spend time planning before jumping into the work.
  3. Manage and monitor the project.
  4. Ensure the project has fiscal integrity.
  5. Demonstrate accountability to funder.
  6. Evaluate project’s effectiveness.
  7. Attend workshop, “How To Manage and Keep in Compliance Grant Funded Projects.”

Five Most Common Grants Management Problems

  • Failing to start project on time and completing it within a timely fashion.
  • Failing to regularly monitor performance so to detect and correct problems.
  • Failing to submit required written periodic financial and progress reports or oral updates to funder.
  • Failing to keep adequate records/documentation.
  • Failing to submit final products.