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Tips for Writing a Winning Proposal

One of the most important things to remember is to make sure your entire proposal is telling the same story.

This is the fifteenth article in a series on grant writing. Read the introduction to the entire series.

When reviewing a draft of your proposal, make sure your need statement directly leads to the program design which leads to the goals/objectives/outcomes/outputs and all necessary program components are reflected in the budget. Make sure you have demonstrated the organizational capacity and expertise to deliver the program as promised and it is obvious that the presented evaluation methods will accurately measure the proposed outcomes. It is easy to discuss components of your organization/program that are not directly applicable to the proposed program. Try to avoid this and ensure that every word in your proposal counts.

It is also advisable to create a budget before writing the proposal narrative to make sure the narrative is directly linked to the budget, and you do not plan a program that is too large for the grant.

Try and leave enough time for the review process to take a few days away from your draft and come back later. Not only will you come up with better ideas, you will be able to see it with fresh eyes and catch mistakes you would not have otherwise. It is also a good idea to have someone else read your proposal, particularly if they are not associated with the project. Ask them if they understand the urgency and importance of the need, what the program is, and if it makes sense as an entire document.

It cannot be stressed enough to make sure you thoroughly read the RFP, follow all directions, and adhere to the deadlines. Always read all the guidelines and keep them on hand as you work in order to make sure that your proposal is compliant with the RFP. Crafting a well-written proposal (and all the work that entails) only to be disqualified because you used the wrong margins or turned in the proposal an hour too late is a waste of resources and one of the most disheartening things that can happen to you as a grant writer.