The Art of Grant Writing

By Star Moretz and Maria Gallardo Williams (Office for Faculty Excellence)

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series

The Nuts and Bolts

Image: Articulate 360 Content Library

Now that we have shared the 8 important factors in acquiring grant funding. It is time to talk a bit about all the pieces and parts of a grant submission. Grant proposal template components are sometimes unique to the type and or subject area you are working within. It may only be 4 distinct parts, or it may be broken into segments totaling over 15 separate topic units.

This broad variation brings us back to number 3 “Follow Directions” and number 7 “Pay Attention to Detail “. With our combined expertise in this area, we estimate that 50% of winning a grant may well be tied to your adherence to numbers 3 and 7.

Your proposal may literally be removed from consideration if it is noted that your submission is lacking the required structural integrity. That makes it probable that the reviewers never even see your concept regardless how on the mark it is. What a shame, to have the best idea and have it fall flat due to a minor misstep. Particularly in academia, rules and regulations are at play here. You must know the game and play it well to win.

The remaining 50% revolves around originality (especially in science domains) persuasion, long term impact and viability, and interrelatedness to field needs.

When answering a RFP, protocol is key. Below is a sample listing of potential required documentation. This list is comprehensive and in order of presentation. However, do keep in mind the prior statement concerning the uniqueness of your field of inquiry. It is possible that additional items over and above those listed may be essential to the proposal package.

Nuts and Bolts

Title Page

Cover Letter

Blank Page

Cover Page w/ Abstract, aka (Executive Summary)

Table of Contents


Opportunity- Needs Statement, aka (Needs Assessment), (Statement of Problem), (Statement of Purpose)

Goal- short term-descriptive, long term-brief

Activities including Methodologies, aka (Tactics), (Strategies)



Organizational Information & Long Term Strategy- aka (Mission), (Function)



Supporting Documents- aka (Appendices)

Sources- aka (Resource Page)

Now that you are familiar with the list of potential required documents, be sure that you clearly understand the purpose and content of the individual items.

1st example: A Title page vs. a Cover Page. The title page very simply states who is submitting and for what subject (RFP) including the date. The cover page holds the abstract that is a brief but compelling summary of the proposal content.

2nd example: The Cover Letter vs. the Introduction. The cover letter addresses you and your organization, the project title, a summary of the project, total costs, and the funding request. It also includes the contact information of the administrator or project leader. It is written in proper business letter style and is closed with a signature. The Introduction outlines the proposal and sets the tone of the presentation. Items included are your background along with organizational background, goals of the project, context and  timeline.

As you can see, it can be a little tricky if you are ill prepared for the task. So, to be successful in  attaining your funding; do your homework first. Once you understand the flow of information, you will be able to create a strategic snapshot of your endgame proposal. Last bit of advice, be sure to have several reviewers to comb through the package for errors and omissions before submission to the funder.

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Now, You Can Do It- Go out there and: Make it Rain Money!!!