Grant Proposals

Creating a Successful Application

  1. Make copies of the grant notice or Request for Proposal. Make at least one duplicate for yourself and a copy for each person working on the grant writing team. Make a copy of all forms. Store your originals.
  2. Review one copy of the RFP with a highlighter. Highlight key instructions, phrases, page limits, required attachments, etc.
  3. Delegate responsibility. Next to each highlighted area, designate the person responsible for ensuring that the section is completed or the instructions are followed. Note who will be responsible for the:
    • Budget
    • Narrative
    • Letters of Suppor or Commitment/Memorandum of Understanding, etc.
    • Attachments, forms, getting signatures, etc.
  4. Assign deadlines. Set deadlines well in advance of the application due date. (The majority of funding sources require a quick turnaround for preparing grant proposals ? do not be surprised if you have 2 to 3 weeks to prepare the proposal. The good news is that all potential applicants are working under the same timeline.) The completed application package must be routed for internal approval signatures prior to mailing to the funding source. If a proposal does not reach the funding organization by the deadline date, it will not be accepted.
  5. Write the proposal in this order:
    • Letters of Support/Collaboration Agreements. These letters and agreements often help shape the narrative of your proposal so get them first.
    • Forms that require signatures. Obtain signatures early on.
    • Narrative. See the Writing the Proposal section for writing suggestions. If it's not possible for one person to write all of the narrative, allow time for a lead writer to piece together the sections to ensure consistency and eliminate repetition.
    • Budget. Make sure the budget includes all expenses of operating the program. See Developing a Budget for suggestions.
    • Program Summary or Abstract. This should be the last section you write, even though it usually appears at the front of the proposal. After you've written the rest of the proposal, it will be easier to summarize your program.
    • Table of Contents. Make sure every page is numbered neatly in the same place, as requested by the guidelines. Section headings or titles should be uniform from the RFP to the proposal text to the Table of Contents.
  6. Have team members review items. Ask them to use a red pen to indicate any changes, revisions, or questions. Incorporate changes and revisions on an ongoing basis as you receive them. If necessary, pull together team members to discuss items for which there is disagreement.
  7. Have a person outside of your department review the proposal. Try scoring the proposal using the funding source's evaluation or review criteria, if available.
  8. If called for, write a cover letter to accompany the proposal. In some instances, cover letters are not needed and are not appropriate.
  9. The NCTC Institutional Advancement Office will assist in the development of the proposal, obtaining the necessary signatures, coordinating with the business office and human resource office to confirm budget amounts, and will submit proposal to the appropriate funding source.