c 4) Once you verify available funding,
divide your efforts into three further phases: writing the
proposal, marketing, and management.
c 5) Writing the proposal should only
take 40% of your time. Try to get program officials to review a 3 - 5
page summary of your plan first, to make sure you're on the right
c 6) Some basic rules of proposal
writing: take your time; don't ask for more that you need; never
lie; never use an application twice; be upfront about asking for money;
and get to the point.
c 7) Don't overlook marketing. It
should take at least 10% of your time. Make sure your organization will
appeal to a potential funder, try to look professional, and involve key
figures in your community if possible.
c 8) Good management is vital. Be
prepared to demonstrate that you have the management skills and
experience that can deliver success.
c 9) Know the funder. Estimates show
your chances of success improve by as much as 300% when you contact
the funder before, and during, the proposal-writing process. Don't ask
for hidden agendas, but find out about general trends or new ideas that
currently interest the funder.
c 10) Always work to a timetable.
Make sure you have the time to complete your application and meet
the funder's deadline. If you don't have the time to do it properly,
don't compete for the grant.
c 11) Give thought to the idea of
cooperation. Many funders, particularly federal agencies, like
applications where more than one organization is involved. If you submit
a cooperative proposal, make sure that there is both a formal and
informal relationship between grantees.
c 12) Don't just tell the funder
about the extent of the problem you intend to solve; prove it
with statistics, case studies, testimonials, and any other measurable
data you can muster.
c 13) When dealing with any funder, but
especially federal agencies, remember to read the instructions
before applying. It sounds simple, but federal competitions live by two
rules: 1. The agency is always right. 2. When in doubt, refer to rule 1.
c 14) Know your budget. It's probably
the first thing a funder will look at in your proposal. It needs to
be realistic and give credibility to your entire proposal. Present the
budget separately from the rest of the application, make sure the
figures are correct and accurately reflect your needs. Keep a record of
how you calculate your costs.
c 15) A few other writing hints: 1.
Avoid filling your proposal with jargon. 2. Begin each section with
a strong, clear sentence. 3. Don't go overboard, but do try to make your
proposal interesting to read. 4. Check with the funder to see if there's
a preferred format, typestyle, etc.
c 16) If your proposal doesn't win
support, keep calm. Never berate funding officials or grant reviewers.
Get more information, ask whether it would be worth submitting a future
application, and go over your proposal with more care to see if you
can find places it might have been stronger.
c 17) The key to a strong proposal is
proving the likelihood that it will achieve goals. Result areas
should be clearly determined, and measurement indicators should be
outlined. It may not be easy to do, but the value of having clear
performance standards can't be overemphasized.
c 18) Remember the value of simplicity.
Don't waste words. Funders are looking for a proposal that will
succeed, so keep things clear, factual, supportable, and professional.
c 19) Don't give in to pressure to rush.
A hurried proposal rarely wins. Keep a file with standard
information regularly updated, like staff resumes and company
statistical data, so you can concentrate on the specific information
needed when it's time to apply.
c 20) Don't underestimate the
importance of the original letter contact when dealing with
foundation or corporate funders. Make it as strong as possible, and keep
to the point.
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