Read all of the guidelines and directions and be sure to include all of the information asked for, in the format requested.
Write in a simple, direct, and persuasive style
- Don’t assume that the funder knows anything about your mission, community, or project unless you’ve told them.
- Make sure your ideas are organized and easy to understand.
- Don’t use jargon or other special words that people outside of your field won’t know.
- Spell out abbreviations.
- Express your passion and excitement about your work or project.
- Have someone else proofread your proposal to correct any errors.
Do your homework
- Be able to explain why your project should be important to the funder and how it matches their grant guidelines.
- If others are doing similar work, explain what makes your work unique.
Be as specific as you can
- Use numbers, percentages, and other data.
- Don’t write: “Last year, we served hundreds of developmentally disabled children.” when you can write “Last year, we served 1,235 individuals between the ages of 10 and 16, or more than 27% of all developmentally disabled young people in Waldo County.”
Slick doesn’t count! Preparation does
A good proposal isn’t just fancy format, paper, or graphics. Good proposals are made of good ideas, lots of planning, and careful work.
Provide a strong and accurate budget
- Whenever possible, show that your project has other forms of support:
- List other grants or sources of funding you have received or are trying to get.
- Don’t forget to include in-kind support.
- Double-check your budget to be sure that it is correct.
Tips for creating a strong Project Budget
- Involve financial managers or others with expertise, such as accountants.
- Ask for help if you need it.
- Make sure the numbers in your proposal and your budget agree.
- Use existing budgets as templates.
- Check your math!
- In multi-year budgets, increase annual costs after year one to reflect inflation.