Tips for Getting Funding

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How to Write Your Proposal

A well-written fellowship or grant proposal can make your funding request shine. By putting the time and effort into the application, you’re investing in your future.

Follow all instructions.

Many proposals are disqualified each year because applicants omit a key step in the guidelines. Carefully read and follow the funder’s instructions for preparing the proposal. This is particularly important when it comes to budget guidelines. Be clear and specific about each item needed to implement your project successfully.

Lay the groundwork.

Map out a plan in advance of preparing your proposal. If you are seeking funding for a set of workshops, for example, first develop your goals (general guidelines for what you want to achieve), objectives (measurable outcomes), themes, intended audience and timeline.

Be clear and realistic.

Grant writing isn’t a time to be aspirational. Pick goals and objectives that are within your reach.

Be transparent.

Your proposal should effectively and accurately communicate how you would use the funds. Describe how the funds would provide for activities that would not otherwise occur. Distinguish the activities that would be financed by the grant from the broader work of the applicant’s organization or program. Provide detailed budgetary information to describe these activities.

Be concise.

Reviewers must read dozens of proposals. Proposals that get right to the point are more compelling and show that applicants respect their reviewers’ time.

Proofread thoroughly.

Proposals that are unclear or contain numerous mistakes distract the reviewer from focusing on the content of your project. Check to be sure that sentences are complete, clear and grammatically correct, and that your ideas flow logically from one another.

Have someone else read the completed proposal.

Asking someone you know and trust for constructive criticism is a great way to ensure your proposal is understandable to an outsider. An objective reader can often identify areas that need more explanation and may find errors you have overlooked.