Tips for a Successful Proposal

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Congratulations!
You’ve decided to apply for an Action Fund Grant, so clearly you’re passionate and motivated to make change. Now… to write a successful application and nail the interview. First time writing a grant proposal? These simple tips about grant writing will help you construct a solid proposal that clearly communicates your vision in a straightforward and compelling way.

How to write a persuasive and successful proposal

  • Is it a good match? Ensure that the ideas behind your project match the goals of an Action Fund Grant: to inspire informed, committed action. Projects must have both an action and education component.
  • What’s your story? Why are you compelled to pursue this project? How are your ideas innovative? Why would the Action Fund Grant be the perfect match for your needs? These questions are best answered in Part A of the Project Description. Additional information can be included in the attachments.
  • Pay attention to the six criteria for project selection in the application packet. Clearly indicate how your project addresses each of the criteria in corresponding sections A-E of the project description. Briefly share the mission of the organization you are partnering with, don’t assume the readers know who they are or what they do.

How to write strong goals and objectives:

  • One of the best ways to communicate how you will translate your vision and passion into action and education is through your goals and objectives.
  • Goals should state the most desirable results of your project, that is, the big picture success you envision. They should be clear and concise (one sentence). Limit yourself to 2-3 goals maximum.
  • Objectives help you articulate how you will put your goals into action. They also allow you to measure whether or not you have reached your goals. You should have one objective per goal.
  • Objectives should be SMART:
    o Specific (clearly describe action)
    o Measurable (can determine if targets have been reached)
    o Achievable (can you pull it off?)
    o Realistic (recognize your limits, potential barriers and challenges)
    o Time-limited (should be able to complete within a specified amount of time)

General Grant Writing Tips

  • Follow the directions in the application instructions. Make sure to answer all parts of the application, following the space requirements and recommendations.
  • Make your proposal professional and easy to read:
    o Check grammar and spelling
    o Leave sufficient white space
    o Make sure you are consistent throughout sections (i.e., # of participants, workshops, etc.)
    o Take advantage of formatting to “sell” your ideas (i.e. use headers and subheaders to support your main points)
    o Use simple, jargon-free language
    o Spell out acronyms (don’t assume your reviewers know what they mean)

Moving beyond the written proposal to the interview

  • The purpose of the interview is for the review committee to gain more understanding about your project and to resolve any questions not answered by the written proposal.
  • In the interview you should be prepared to thoroughly and concisely explain your project to reviewers.
  • Be able to articulate the meaning of this project to you. Passion is priceless. How is this project tied to your personal development and educational goals? Why is it important to the community?
  • Before you come to the interview, consider practicing describing your project in front of a group of friends or peers, or by yourself in front of a mirror. Public speaking is a learned skill, and practice promotes improvement!

What now?

  • After the interview, the review committee will discuss your application, come up with constructive feedback, and get in touch with you within one week to notify you of the funding decision.