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How To Write Grant Proposals

Grant Writing

For some people the prospect of writing a grant proposal is akin to the prospect of having all your teeth pulled!

Writing a grant proposal can be a daunting task so you may want to consider hiring a freelance grant writer or you may want to consider becoming a freelance grant writer!

Depending on the grant organization, you may simply need to fill out a pile of forms or you may need to develop a fully fledged grant proposal that includes some or all of the following elements:

  • Summary
  • Organization Information
  • Description of Need
  • Work Plan/Specific Activities
  • Target audience
  • What are you going to do
  • Who is going to do the work
  • What are their credentials
  • When
  • Where
  • Outline of the Project Plan
  • Outcomes/Impact of Activities
  • Other Funding
  • Future Funding
  • Evaluation
  • Budget
  • Supplementary Materials

Once you know where you are headed … work on one section at a time. If you plan on applying for more than one grant, take the time to develop a MASTER document that has everything a grant organization may ever ask for. For specific grant applications copy and paste the relevant material from your master document and customize that information for the foundation or government organization you are applying to.

Here are some of the best resources I could find on writing grants. Print one or more of them out and follow the outlines to develop your own grant proposal package.  I have also included a list of places where you can find examples of successful grant applications.

How to Write a Grant Proposal

The Minnesota Council on Foundations has an EXCELLENT roadmap to Writing a Successful Grant Proposal. It is one of the best grant outlines I’ve seen and is a great starting point.

The Foundation Center has a nicely laid out short course on writing a grant proposal.

The website has a useful guide to writing research grant proposals.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting reviews hundreds of grant proposals every year. Here is a list of their tips for writing a good grant proposal.


Proof of Success — Grant Proposal Examples

By their nature all grant proposals are very specific to an organization and to the type of grant being applied for. However, it is useful to look at a few proposals where grants were awarded to see the specific elements in context.

The Ideabank is a site devoted to firefighting. They have several examples of successful grant applications.

Non-profit Guides has a great tutorial on writing a grant proposal as well as several samples of proposals for foundation and government grants.

Example of a Not for Profit Grant Proposal.  Shows you all the components of a standard proposal document including a budget.

Proposal and Grant Writing Software

A fabulous tool I have been using for the past few years both for myself and for my clients, is the Proposal Kit. This is a compilation of information that helps you build great proposals. It comes with a variety of “packs” that are basically presentation skins. It also includes a proposal wizard that helps you put your proposals together. It takes a bit of time and work to get it all set up, but once you have all the elements in place, you can pump out proposals quickly and easily.  Writers who write grant proposals and business proposals for clients and non-profits can really stream line their work and maximize the amount of revenue they make per hour. Take a look at the Proposal Kit if you plan on doing this for a living or have to regularly write proposals to land clients.

Here are several books I recommend for those who wish to learn how to craft winning grant proposals.

The Complete Guide to Writing Effective & Award-Winning Grants: Step-by-Step Instructions With Companion CD-ROM

The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets (Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers &)

More Grant Writing Books

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

James Co July 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for the resources. I am planning on applying for a Photo Project grant and apparently I have a few missing pieces. This will definitely help me look more professional. – James


Jason Malla August 17, 2010 at 4:17 am

I took a look on Proposal Kit and i plan on doing this for living.This looks really fabulous.


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