Getting Organized to Write the Proposal
Throughout 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.
Review & Criticism
At some 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
Most proposals 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.
Proposals 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.
A cover 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), if necessary.