Helpful Grant Tips
Remember the golden rule of grantwriting: Follow the directions!
Establish a grant team that is representative of project stakeholders. These people should be able to articulate your need or problem, contribute practical knowledge and experience to your topic or focus, and be able to strategize for solutions.
Read the proposal guidelines of Request for Proposal (RFP) three times: once, to get an overview; twice, to underline key points and sections; and third, to make notes about how the directions apply to or affect your project.
Definition of a Goal: A goal is the general description of what you want to accomplish, or your intended outcome. A goal focuses on the long-term or end result.
Definition of an Objective: An objective specifically describes what you plan to accomplish. It provides a specific target, a strategy, and a timeline for completion. An objective usually suggests a change or a degree of change. The objective can also indicate the method used to measure the objective (i.e. through PSSA results, attendance data, etc.).
Connect grant programs to school improvement or strategic plans or efforts in your district or school. Explain those connections in your proposal.
Use data to support your needs. Quantify your needs using 3-5 years of data. Don't forget to provide a context for the data and explain its significance. Use the data to prioritize your needs.
If your grant/funder requires an evaluation, or if you are interested in conducting an evaluation, consult a program evaluator to help you write your evaluation plan or narrative for your application.
Gather an informational file on your organization that contains a recent IRS tax-exemption letter, tax ID number, mission statement, recent audited financial statements & budget, and the names and affiliations of your Board members. Keeping these handy saves time when filling out grant forms and contracts.
Write your abstract or introduction section last. You may be able to copy and paste sections of your proposal and rework them into an effective summary of the program or project. The abstract should be able to stand alone to give any reader an overview of the purpose and scope of your project.
Do not assume that your reader knows anything. Give the reader all the information s/he needs to make a decision about your proposal.
Use terminology, keywords, and concepts that are indicated in the grant guidelines or Request for Proposals (RFP). This cues readers that what you wrote corresponds with the sections, content, and requirements of the grant.
Have a colleague or friend review your grant proposal. Choose someone who will give you honest and constructive feedback. The less they know about your subject, the better. Provide him or her with the grant guidelines and/or rubric, if one is provided. If he or she understands the program you have described without needing to ask questions, chances are good you've clearly explained the program.