How to Win Government Grants in Tough Times: Part 2

Nothing short of an A+ proposal wins in this environment. Preparing ahead of time is critical to writing a competitive proposal. Typically guidelines are announced only 30 days in advance, so most successful writers have started the process much sooner.

Before the guidelines become available, you can search for the previous RFP. Typically, guidelines do not change much and you can use the previous RFP to start early.

Getting high points from reviewers is key. Most RFPs provide evaluation criteria with the total number of points for each section. Try to secure bonus and priority points wherever possible. You may wish to serve as a reviewer to learn what reviewers expect to see in a proposal.

Once the RFP becomes available, read and re-read the document fully. Design your narrative and budget together. You may wish to develop a logic model so you can see your plan on one page.  Some RFPs now require a logic model.

Plan for multidisciplinary collaborations to build a stronger proposal. Secure partners, evaluators, and letters of commitment in advance. Write job descriptions for key personnel and gather attachments for appendices.

Remember to write your proposal in a journalistic style omitting technical jargon. To improve the clarity of your writing, use headers, short sentences, and repetition. Most importantly, contact the OER as soon as you decide to pursue a funding opportunity, so we can help facilitate the process.

Look for Part 3 of “How to Win Government Grants in Tough Times” in the November issue of the Research Bulletin.

Excerpted from The Chronicle of Philanthropy Webinar, August 13, 2013