Application guidelines often vary from grant to grant, they usually require the applicant to address key components in their proposal. Whether you are writing a four or forty page narrative, your proposal will be complete if it includes an abstract, introduction, need statement, objectives, methods, evaluation plan, and budget.
The abstract appears at the beginning of the proposal to concisely summarize the project (usually limited to one or two pages). The abstract gives the reviewer a fist impression of the project. You will want this impression to be a positive one, make sure your abstract is brief, clear, impacting, and interesting. Write the abstract last, after all other areas have been "ironed out".
The Abstract should include:
who is applying for funding
credibility of the applicant
problem/need being addressed through the proposal
objectives of the project
target audience/who will be participating in the project
methods (what will be done)
total costs, include the amount requested and additional contributions being made
An effective introduction should set a positive tone with the reviewer from the beginning and give a favorable impression that the applicant has the qualifications to conduct a successful program for which the funding is being requested.
The Introduction should:
state who is applying for the funds
briefly outline the applicant's mission
briefly describe the programs, services, and clients served, as relevant to the program
briefly provide evidence of the agency's experience and accomplishments, as relevant to the program being proposed
lead logically to the need/problem
A need statement is the basis upon which the proposal is built. A well defined need/problem is the foundation of the proposal. An effective and persuasive need statement can convince the reader of the importance of the proposal, demonstrate an awareness of the issues, and enable the funder to understand the context in which the project will operate.
The Need Statement should:
relate to the mission and goals of the school/district
relate to the values and priorities of the funding agency
be aligned to the nature of the RFP
include statistical evidence supporting the existence of the need/problem (depending on the focus of the project, data may include student academic scores, poverty data, mobility data, attendance data, etc.)
include research from other authorities or experts supporting the existence of the problem
reflect the needs of children, parents, community, and not the needs of the applicant (i.e., the schools, district, ...)
be developed with input from key stakeholders (a committee, teachers, parents)
have significance to other organizations or agencies, depending on the scope of the project (partners, collaborators)
The objectives section should describe the measurable outcomes proposed in the project.
The Objectives should:
correlate to a need or problem mentioned in the need statement
describe the behavioral or performance-related changes to be realized or define the products to be developed
describe the specific target population to be affected
state the time the project will be accomplished
be written in measurable terms
The project methods/design will describe the activities to be conducted in order to achieve the specified objectives. This section should flow logically in a way tha enables the revieweres to create a mental image of the project being proposed.
The project Methods section should:
be feasible and appropriate to the stated objectives
describe the clients being served or impacted through the program (include numbers, characteristics, and the selection process)
clearly describe each activity proposed
establish a sound rational for the proposed approach that demonstrates the applicant's knowledge in the field
describe the steps involved in order to implement the project
provide a timeline of outline when activities will occur over the duration of the project
describe the staffing of the project, include roles and experience of key staff
Due to the emphasis on accountability and results, project evaluation has become an increasingly important factor in the proposal review process. Funding agencies want to know what benefits will come from their grant funding efforts. A sound evaluation plan demonstrates to funders' that an applicant is committed to the project and will produce information that lets the funder know how well their grant money was spent. The evaluation also provides information tat can be shared with the funding agency and others to maximize the impact of the grant program.
The Evaluation should describe:
how program activities and processes will be monitored and modified over the course of the program (so that continuous improvements can be made)
how the accomplishment of the program objectives will be objectively evaluated
what criteria will be used to determine the project's success (based on objectives)
how data will be collected and what instruments will be used (tests, surveys, questionnaires, etc.)
how data will be analyzed
who will conduct the evaluation and their qualifications
what evaluation reports will be produced, when they will be produced, and who will receive them
how processes, results, and findings will be disseminated (if appropriate)
The budget summarizes and itemizes the total costs associated with carrying out the project (including those paid through the project and those to be paid by other sources) and explains the rational. The itemized budget and budget narrative explain hou each figure was derived, how they relate to the project, and their importance. The budget summary provides totals for each category and is often presented a form provided by the funding agency within the grant application.
The Budget should:
relate directly to the objectives and methods descried in the proposal narrative
be organized by categories as specified in the grant application package (if no guidelines are provided, typical categories include; salaries, fringe, travel, equipment, supplies, contractual, and more please call Lucinda Karstedt to request assistance at 992-3616)
be organized by the source of of funds (items paid through the grant, in-kind contributions, etc.)
include fringe benefits for all salaries being requested (always request assistance when completing this information)
include all costs necessary to the project
include indirect costs for all Federally funded grants, if allowed by the agency (request assistance for this portion of the grants)
estimate costs as they will be incurred a the time of funding (may be later than the time of the proposal writing, contractual)