Grant Writing Guide

Planning Your Proposal

Key Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is the proposed project/program? How many people will you serve with the proposed project/program? What is the main need this project/program will address? What impact will it have on the community? Will the grant provide the change you are looking for and fill the identified need? What are some examples of projects the grantor has funded in the past?
  • Is there a match required, and if so, can it be met?
  • How will this program reach the results needed? Are the outcomes measurable and how will you measure/evaluate the success of the proposed project/program?
  • Is another entity doing this type of project/program already in your community? If so, or even if not, could you collaborate?
  • What would a planning and implementation timeline look like? Does the program justify your organization’s time and resources? Does the organization have the necessary staff and equipment to conduct the required post-award grant management and administration activities over the life of the grant, i.e., project/program implementation; regular financial and programmatic reporting to the funding source; technical assistance calls and site visits?
  • Will the potential funders be long-term or short-term sources? Should you pilot the project first? Do you have a plan for project sustainability (if applicable)?

Things to Keep On File

  • Organization mission statement and strategic plan.
  • Organization history; descriptions of your key programs, including relevant statistics, case histories, and other documents supporting your past and current successes.
  • Management structure, i.e., organizational chart.
  • Resumes and curriculum vitae of key management and staff.
  • Financials; copy of organization’s most recent organizational budget, audit, and tax filings.

Common Questions Asked by Grant Reviewers

  • Does the proposed project align with the funding source’s goals and mission?
  • Who is affected by the proposed request and who is the target audience?
  • Are the proposed project/program goals and objectives realistic? What are the specific measurable outcomes? How will you effectively measure these outcomes?
  • Can the timeline be realistically met?
  • What is the organization’s management composition and how involved are its members? Is the applicant organization capable of carrying out the project/program? Has the organization shown prior success? Is the staff of the organization capable and accountable?
  • If the project/program duplicates others in the field, what makes this one stronger?
  • Is the cost of the proposed project/program justified/realistic?
  • Sustainability; if the project is to be continued after the grant cycle, where will the organization get its funding? Does the applicant have external support aside from the granting organization?
  • Is there collaboration involved in the project? Who are the project partners and what are their roles?