FREE REPORT #2
FREE REPORT #3
PART ONE: Developing
a grant proposal for a large project:
grant proposal is one that is well-prepared, thoughtfully
planned, and concisely packaged. The potential applicant
should become familiar with all of the pertinent program
criteria related to the Catalog program from which
assistance is sought. Refer to the information contact
person listed in the Catalog program description before
developing a proposal to obtain information such as
whether funding is available, when applicable deadlines
occur, and the process used by the grantor agency
for accepting applications. Applicants should remember
that the basic requirements, application forms, information
and procedures vary with the Federal agency making
the grant award.
without prior grant proposal writing experience may
find it useful to attend a grantsmanship workshop.
A workshop can amplify the basic information presented
here. Applicants interested in additional readings
on grantsmanship and proposal development should consult
the references listed at the end of this section and
explore other library resources.
Ideas for the Proposal
an idea for a proposal it is important to determine
if the idea has been considered in the applicant's
locality or State. A careful check should be made
with legislators and area government agencies and
related public and private agencies which may currently
have grant awards or contracts to do similar work.
If a similar program already exists, the applicant
may need to reconsider submitting the proposed project,
particularly if duplication of effort is perceived.
If significant differences or improvements in the
proposed project's goals can be clearly established,
it may be worthwhile to pursue Federal assistance.
support for most proposals is essential. Once proposal
summary is developed, look for individuals or groups
representing academic, political, professional, and
lay organizations which may be willing to support
the proposal in writing. The type and caliber of community
support is critical in the initial and subsequent
review phases. Numerous letters of support can be
persuasive to a grantor agency. Do not overlook support
from local government agencies and public officials.
Letters of endorsement detailing exact areas of project
sanction and commitment are often requested as part
of a proposal to a Federal agency. Several months
may be required to develop letters of endorsement
since something of value (e.g., buildings, staff,
services) is sometimes negotiated between the parties
require, in writing, affiliation agreements (a mutual
agreement to share services between agencies) and
building space commitments prior to either grant approval
or award. A useful method of generating community
support may be to hold meetings with the top decision
makers in the community who would be concerned with
the subject matter of the proposal. The forum for
discussion may include a query into the merits of
the proposal, development of a contract of support
for the proposal, to generate data in support of the
proposal, or development of a strategy to create proposal
support from a large number of community groups.
of a Funding Resource
of the Objectives and Uses and Use Restrictions sections
of the Catalog program description can point out which
programs might provide funding for an idea. Do not
overlook the related programs as potential resources.
Both the applicant and the grantor agency should have
the same interests, intentions, and needs if a proposal
is to be considered an acceptable candidate for funding.
Once a potential
grantor agency is identified, call the contact telephone
number identified in Information Contacts and ask
for a grant application kit. Later, get to know some
of the grantor agency personnel. Ask for suggestions,
criticisms, and advice about the proposed project.
In many cases, the more agency personnel know about
the proposal, the better the chance of support and
of an eventual favorable decision. Sometimes it is
useful to send the proposal summary to a specific
agency official in a separate cover letter, and ask
for review and comment at the earliest possible convenience.
Always check with the Federal agency to determine
its preference if this approach is under consideration.
If the review is unfavorable and differences cannot
be resolved, ask the examining agency (official) to
suggest another department or agency which may be
interested in the proposal. A personal visit to the
agency's regional office or headquarters is also important.
A visit not only establishes face-to-face contact,
but also may bring out some essential details about
the proposal or help secure literature and references
from the agency's library.
agencies are required to report funding information
as funds are approved, increased or decreased among
projects within a given State depending on the type
of required reporting. Also, consider reviewing the
Federal Budget for the current and budget fiscal years
to determine proposed dollar amounts for particular
should carefully study the eligibility requirements
for each Federal program under consideration (see
the Applicant Eligibility section of the Catalog program
description). The applicant may learn that he or she
is required to provide services otherwise unintended
such as a service to particular client groups, or
involvement of specific institutions. It may necessitate
the modification of the original concept in order
for the project to be eligible for funding. Questions
about eligibility should be discussed with the appropriate
for submitting applications are often not negotiable.
They are usually associated with strict timetables
for agency review. Some programs have more than one
application deadline during the fiscal year. Applicants
should plan proposal development around the established
Organized to Write the Proposal
the proposal writing stage keep a notebook handy to
write down ideas. Periodically, try to connect ideas
by reviewing the notebook. Never throw away written
ideas during the grant writing stage. Maintain a file
labeled "Ideas" or by some other convenient title
and review the ideas from time to time. The file should
be easily accessible. The gathering of documents such
as articles of incorporation, tax exemption certificates,
and bylaws should be completed, if possible, before
the writing begins.
point, perhaps after the first or second draft is
completed, seek out a neutral third party to review
the proposal working draft for continuity, clarity
and reasoning. Ask for constructive criticism at this
point, rather than wait for the Federal grantor agency
to volunteer this information during the review cycle.
For example, has the writer made unsupported assumptions
or used jargon or excessive language in the proposal?
are made to institutions rather than individuals.
Often signatures of chief administrative officials
are required. Check to make sure they are included
in the proposal where appropriate.
should be typed, collated, copied, and packaged correctly
and neatly (according to agency instructions, if any).
Each package should be inspected to ensure uniformity
from cover to cover. Binding may require either clamps
or hard covers. Check with the Federal agency to determine
its preference. A neat, organized, and attractive
proposal package can leave a positive impression with
the reader about the proposal contents.
letter should always accompany a proposal. Standard
U.S. Postal Service requirements apply unless otherwise
indicated by the Federal agency. Make sure there is
enough time for the proposals to reach their destinations.
Otherwise, special arrangements may be necessary.
Always coordinate such arrangements with the Federal
grantor agency project office (the agency which will
ultimately have the responsibility for the project),
the grant office (the agency which will coordinate
the grant review), and the contract office (the agency
responsible for disbursement and grant award notices),
TWO: Writing the grant proposal for a large project:
Basic Components of a Proposal
eight basic components to creating a solid proposal
package: (1) the proposal summary; (2) introduction
of organization; (3) the problem statement (or needs
assessment); (4) project objectives; (5) project methods
or design; (6) project evaluation; (7) future funding;
and (8) the project budget. The following will provide
an overview of these components.
Proposal Summary: Outline of Project Goals
summary outlines the proposed project and should appear
at the beginning of the proposal. It could be in the
form of a cover letter or a separate page, but should
definitely be brief � no longer than two or three
paragraphs. The summary would be most useful if it
were prepared after the proposal has been developed
in order to encompass all the key summary points necessary
to communicate the objectives of the project. It is
this document that becomes the cornerstone of your
proposal, and the initial impression it gives will
be critical to the success of your venture. In many
cases, the summary will be the first part of the proposal
package seen by agency officials and very possibly
could be the only part of the package that is carefully
reviewed before the decision is made to consider the
project any further.
must select a fundable project which can be supported
in view of the local need. Alternatives, in the absence
of Federal support, should be pointed out. The influence
of the project both during and after the project period
should be explained. The consequences of the project
as a result of funding should be highlighted.
Presenting a Credible Applicant or Organization
should gather data about its organization from all
available sources. Most proposals require a description
of an applicant�s organization to describe its past
and present operations. Some features to consider
- A brief biography
of board members and key staff members.
- The organization�s
goals, philosophy, track record with other grantors,
and any success stories.
- The data should
be relevant to the goals of the Federal grantor
agency and should establish the applicant�s credibility.
Problem Statement: Stating the Purpose at Hand
statement (or needs assessment) is a key element of
a proposal that makes a clear, concise, and well-supported
statement of the problem to be addressed. The best
way to collect information about the problem is to
conduct and document both a formal and informal needs
assessment for a program in the target or service
area. The information provided should be both factual
and directly related to the problem addressed by the
proposal. Areas to document are:
- The purpose for
developing the proposal.
- The beneficiaries
� who are they and how will they benefit.
- The social and economic
costs to be affected.
- The nature of the
problem (provide as much hard evidence as possible).
- How the applicant
organization came to realize the problem exists,
and what is currently being done about the problem.
- The remaining alternatives
available when funding has been exhausted. Explain
what will happen to the project and the impending
- Most importantly,
the specific manner through which problems might
be solved. Review the resources needed, considering
how they will be used and to what end.
a considerable body of literature on the exact assessment
techniques to be used. Any local, regional, or State
government planning office, or local university offering
course work in planning and evaluation techniques
should be able to provide excellent background references.
Types of data that may be collected include: historical,
geographic, quantitative, factual, statistical, and
philosophical information, as well as studies completed
by colleges, and literature searches from public or
university libraries. Local colleges or universities
which have a department or section related to the
proposal topic may help determine if there is interest
in developing a student or faculty project to conduct
a needs assessment. It may be helpful to include examples
of the findings for highlighting in the proposal.
Objectives: Goals and Desired Outcome
objectives refer to specific activities in a proposal.
It is necessary to identify all objectives related
to the goals to be reached, and the methods to be
employed to achieve the stated objectives. Consider
quantities or things measurable and refer to a problem
statement and the outcome of proposed activities when
developing a well-stated objective. The figures used
should be verifiable. Remember, if the proposal is
funded, the stated objectives will probably be used
to evaluate program progress, so be realistic. There
is literature available to help identify and write
Methods and Program Design: A Plan of Action
design refers to how the project is expected to work
and solve the stated problem. Sketch out the following:
- The activities to
occur along with the related resources and staff
needed to operate the project (inputs).
- A flow chart of
the organizational features of the project. Describe
how the parts interrelate, where personnel will
be needed, and what they are expected to do. Identify
the kinds of facilities, transportation, and support
services required (throughputs).
- Explain what will
be achieved through 1 and 2 above (outputs); i.e.,
plan for measurable results. Project staff may
be required to produce evidence of program performance
through an examination of stated objectives during
either a site visit by the Federal grantor agency
and or grant reviews which may involve peer review
- It may be useful
to devise a diagram of the program design. For
example, draw a three column block. Each column
is headed by one of the parts (inputs, throughputs
and outputs), and on the left (next to the first
column) specific program features should be identified
(i.e., implementation, staffing, procurement,
and systems development). In the grid, specify
something about the program design, for example,
assume the first column is labeled inputs and
the first row is labeled staff. On the grid one
might specify under inputs five nurses to operate
a child care unit. The throughput might be to
maintain charts, counsel the children, and set
up a daily routine; outputs might be to discharge
25 healthy children per week. This type of procedure
will help to conceptualize both the scope and
detail of the project.
- Wherever possible,
justify in the narrative the course of action
taken. The most economical method should be used
that does not compromise or sacrifice project
quality. The financial expenses associated with
performance of the project will later become points
of negotiation with the Federal program staff.
If everything is not carefully justified in writing
in the proposal, after negotiation with the Federal
grantor agencies, the approved project may resemble
less of the original concept. Carefully consider
the pressures of the proposed implementation,
that is, the time and money needed to acquire
each part of the plan. A Program Evaluation and
Review Technique (PERT) chart could be useful
and supportive in justifying some proposals.
- Highlight the innovative
features of the proposal which could be considered
distinct from other proposals under consideration.
- Whenever possible,
use appendices to provide details, supplementary
data, references, and information requiring in-depth
analysis. These types of data, although supportive
of the proposal, if included in the body of the
design, could detract from its readability. Appendices
provide the proposal reader with immediate access
to details if and when clarification of an idea,
sequence or conclusion is required. Time tables,
work plans, schedules, activities, methodologies,
legal papers, personal vitae, letters of support,
and endorsements are examples of appendices.
Product and Process Analysis
component is two-fold: (1) product evaluation; and
(2) process evaluation. Product evaluation addresses
results that can be attributed to the project, as
well as the extent to which the project has satisfied
its desired objectives. Process evaluation addresses
how the project was conducted, in terms of consistency
with the stated plan of action and the effectiveness
of the various activities within the plan.
agencies now require some form of program evaluation
among grantees. The requirements of the proposed project
should be explored carefully. Evaluations may be conducted
by an internal staff member, an evaluation firm or
both. The applicant should state the amount of time
needed to evaluate, how the feedback will be distributed
among the proposed staff, and a schedule for review
and comment for this type of communication. Evaluation
designs may start at the beginning, middle or end
of a project, but the applicant should specify a start-up
time. It is practical to submit an evaluation design
at the start of a project for two reasons:
- Convincing evaluations
require the collection of appropriate data before
and during program operations; and,
- If the evaluation
design cannot be prepared at the outset then a
critical review of the program design may be advisable.
the evaluation design has to be revised as the project
progresses, it is much easier and cheaper to modify
a good design. If the problem is not well defined
and carefully analyzed for cause and effect relationships
then a good evaluation design may be difficult to
achieve. Sometimes a pilot study is needed to begin
the identification of facts and relationships. Often
a thorough literature search may be sufficient.
requires both coordination and agreement among program
decision makers (if known). Above all, the Federal
grantor agency�s requirements should be highlighted
in the evaluation design. Also, Federal grantor agencies
may require specific evaluation techniques such as
designated data formats (an existing information collection
system) or they may offer financial inducements for
voluntary participation in a national evaluation study.
The applicant should ask specifically about these
points. Also, consult the Criteria For Selecting Proposals
section of the Catalog program description to determine
the exact evaluation methods to be required for the
program if funded.
Funding: Long-Term Project Planning
a plan for continuation beyond the grant period, and/or
the availability of other resources necessary to implement
the grant. Discuss maintenance and future program
funding if program is for construction activity. Account
for other needed expenditures if program includes
purchase of equipment.
Proposal Budget: Planning the Budget
levels in Federal assistance programs change yearly.
It is useful to review the appropriations over the
past several years to try to project future funding
levels (see Financial Information section of the Catalog
it is safer to never anticipate that the income from
the grant will be the sole support for the project.
This consideration should be given to the overall
budget requirements, and in particular, to budget
line items most subject to inflationary pressures.
Restraint is important in determining inflationary
cost projections (avoid padding budget line items),
but attempt to anticipate possible future increases.
budget areas are: utilities, rental of buildings and
equipment, salary increases, food, telephones, insurance,
and transportation. Budget adjustments are sometimes
made after the grant award, but this can be a lengthy
process. Be certain that implementation, continuation
and phase-down costs can be met. Consider costs associated
with leases, evaluation systems, hard/soft match requirements,
audits, development, implementation and maintenance
of information and accounting systems, and other long-term
budget justifies all expenses and is consistent with
the proposal narrative. Some areas in need of an evaluation
for consistency are: (1) the salaries in the proposal
in relation to those of the applicant organization
should be similar; (2) if new staff persons are being
hired, additional space and equipment should be considered,
as necessary; (3) if the budget calls for an equipment
purchase, it should be the type allowed by the grantor
agency; (4) if additional space is rented, the increase
in insurance should be supported; (5) if an indirect
cost rate applies to the proposal, the division between
direct and indirect costs should not be in conflict,
and the aggregate budget totals should refer directly
to the approved formula; and (6) if matching costs
are required, the contributions to the matching fund
should be taken out of the budget unless otherwise
specified in the application instructions.
It is very
important to become familiar with Government-wide
circular requirements. The Catalog identifies in the
program description section (as information is provided
from the agencies) the particular circulars applicable
to a Federal program, and summarizes coordination
of Executive Order 12372, "Intergovernmental
Review of Programs" requirements in Appendix
I. The applicant should thoroughly review the appropriate
circulars since they are essential in determining
items such as cost principles and conforming with
Government guidelines for Federal domestic assistance.
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20402
Nos. A-87, A-102, A-110, and A-133, and Executive
Office of Administration
Room 2200, 725 Seventeenth Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20503
Printing Office (GPO) Resources
documents identified above as available from the GPO
can be requested (supply the necessary identifying
information) by writing to:
Government Printing Office
Washington, DC 20402
and Federal Depository Libraries
libraries can arrange for copies of Government documents
through an interlibrary loan. All Federal Depository
Libraries will receive copies of the Catalog directly.
A list of depository and regional libraries is available
by writing: Chief, Library Division, Superintendent
of Documents, Stop SLL, Washington, DC 20402.
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