Grant Assistance

Brainstorming & Preparing

The first step to writing a successful grant proposal is taking the time to brainstorm before tackling the details. Below are the three main areas to consider as you prepare to apply for a grant.

  1. Concept - Define your department's needs and goals.

    Questions to consider:

    • Why does your department need the grant funding?
    • Do you have the data and documentation to support your need?
    • How is your department prepared to support this project?
  2. Program - Plan the structure for implementing your project. Consider the steps you will need to take to achieve the goal.

    Questions to consider:

    • What different ways are there to reach the goal?
    • What will you need to accomplish your goals and how long will it take?
    • What resources will you need to support the implementation?
  3. Expenses - Draft a basic estimate of the costs associated with your project.

    Questions to consider:

    • What are your staffing and equipment needs?
    • Will the results warrant the expected costs?
    • Could you adjust your budget to make the project more cost effective?

Find Grant Opportunities

Where to look:

Do the Research:

  • Research the requirements for each grant. Consider making a checklist of all requirements.
  • Call the funding organization to ask additional questions and to research programs they have previously funded.

Writing the Grant Proposal

Before Getting Started

  • Consider developing a team to help with the grant proposal process.
  • Read the instructions and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is required.
  • Have all information in one place. Put copies of relevant documents in a binder or folder to save time.
  • Follow the directions!
  • In some cases, failure to follow directions means immediate disqualification.
  • For example: Does the organization require that you write in first person or specify a page requirement?

Components of a Proposal

Most grants require the inclusion of the following information in the proposal:

  1. Executive Summary

    This should be a basic overview of your entire proposal. It is important to capture the reviewers attention at this point. You should include:

    1. What is the problem?
    2. What is your proposed solution?
    3. What are the funding requirements?
    4. Outline your department and its ability to carry out the proposal.
  2. Statement of Need

    Here you will clearly portray the problem and provide evidence and statistics to support it. It should be realistic and shouldn't include overstatements. Avoid circular reasoning where the absence of the solution is presented as the problem.

    For example: "The problem is that we don't have technology in our Math Help Centers. Installing math software in our labs would be the solution." A more clearly stated reason would be "Our students are underperforming in classes due to lack of practice and error specific feedback. Using math software that provides unlimited practice and error-specific feedback would help the students learn the material."

  3. Project Description

    List the specific steps you will need to take in order to implement your project.

    1. Objectives - The objectives must be specific and measurable. What exactly do you plan to accomplish?
    2. Methods - List specific activities required to achieve the objectives. Be sure to include a timeline. How, when, and why?
    3. Staffing and Administration - How many staff members are needed? What are the qualifications and duties? What will you need from the school's administration? How can they help?
    4. Evaluation - How will the success and outcomes be measured? Results should be qualitative and quantitative.
    5. Sustainability - What is the long term financial viability of project? Will it still be effective after the grant funding is gone?
  4. Budget

    Be specific, well organized, and make sure to account for all costs. If projected cost is more or less than the funding provided, explain the difference. Be realistic and stay within the allotted budget.

  5. Department Information

    Consider this to be a "resume" for the department. Be sure to show the ability of the department to carry out the project.

  6. Conclusion

    Provide a brief wrap-up and suggest how the project will carry on after the grant program ends.

Be sure to proofread and edit, edit, edit

Tips For a Successful Proposal

  • Don't forget to proofread the document!
  • Tailor the language and terminology to the audience reading the proposal. Keep in mind they may not be in your field of knowledge.
  • Have someone outside of your department proofread the proposal.
  • Keep the proposal simple and easy to follow.
  • Ensure all parts of the proposal agree. If you request $25,000 in funding but the budget worksheet shows you need $34,000, explain the discrepancy.
  • Put thought into each section of the proposal. For example, a well thought out table of contents can go a long way.
  • Let your mission drive your proposal. Be organized.
  • Be specific! Don't say "most," say "80%."

For additional assistance contact Hawkes at 1.800.426.9538.

Sample Grants

College Algebra Redesign Sample Grant 1

This proposal was for a College Algebra redesign that was completed at a state university. However, the components of the grant can be used as a guide.