This grant proposal template is written with the aim to convince either a private foundation or a governmental entity to provide funding to a cause, a research project, or other project that typically receives funds from such sources. Grant proposals are important tools that should be well-crafted to get the attention of the potential source of money and get them to understand why it is they should contribute to your cause.

Grant Proposal Template

1.  Cover Letter

PandaTip: Your cover letter is the introduction to your project to your reader – and make sure it is a specific person at the organization to whom your letter is addressed. In your cover letter, it is important to get two main points across: how much money you need, and a summary of what it is exactly that the organization will be funding. Keep it abstract, though. You will have more time to go in depth and sell your proposal later. If you are too wordy from the start you will scare your reader away and they will not even make it to the meat of your grant proposal.

2.  Executive Summary

PandaTip: Now that your reader has a general idea of what it is you are looking to get funded, you can expound a bit. However, do not go too crazy here with the details. Say a little more about your organization, state its mission, and how the project you are looking to get funded fits that mission. If the cover letter talked about the project from 30,000 feet up, the Executive Summary should be at around 15,000 feet. It should be no longer than a page.

3.  Statement of Need

PandaTip: Now that you have given the reader a bit of information as to who you are and what you’re doing, let them know, in detail, what the specific problem is that you are seeking to solve. Make sure you pinpoint the problem – it should be clearly defined because a problem that is not clearly defined in the reader’s mind is not a solvable problem. Speaking of which, it is important that in defining the problem, you don’t present too much doom and gloom that makes the reader feel it is futile to try and fix as they will direct their money toward a cause for which they can make a difference. Keep it brief but be sure to concretely describe the problem. Don’t forget you can add some photos, when appropriate, to stress the need.

4.  Goals and Objectives

PandaTip: Now is the time to let the reader know what you believe the outcome will be if they provide you the money that you are requesting in your grant proposal. This is not the “how” portion (that comes next). This is where you describe what you will achieve on both a general and specific manner. By way of example, if your project is a cleanup of the Charles River in Boston, you might say generally “we will try to clean up the pollution in the Charles River to make it more habitable for wildlife.” Then, you can hammer the point home with a measurable such as “for the first month we will fill 20 bags of trash per weekend” then describe how as the project goes on the river will be cleaner and cleaner and by a year’s end you may only be filling 5 bags of trash per weekend. Start with a general overview and drill down to specific measurables.

5.  Methods and Strategies

PandaTip: Here is the “how” and where you tie the problem and your goal to remedy the problem together. Go into detail – lots of detail – about your plan. This is the most important part of your grant proposal as it is essentially the activity that you are asking your reader to fund. Hopefully you have utilized the lead-up to this part to grasp their attention. Now is the time to sell it by painting a picture of how you will be solving the problem that you laid out previously.

6.  Plan of Evaluation

PandaTip: If someone is going to grant you a presumably significant amount of money to accomplish certain goals, then they are going to want some accountability. This section describes how you will evaluate your project on an ongoing basis to ensure that the money is being used efficiently and to the ends that you initially assured the reader that it would be used.

7.  Budget

PandaTip: Give a detailed breakdown as to how money will be used. This can simply be a spreadsheet with annotations expounding upon the various expenses. Either way, it should be detailed and make sense to the reader, aligning it with the plan you describe in the “Methods and Strategies” portion of your grant proposal.

8.  Organization Information

PandaTip: You can launch into this section with a history of your organization. Whether it is an organization that has been around for years or is newly formed, your reader should know who you are and what you have done. Beyond that, your reader is going to want to know who is running the organization to which he or she is considering giving money. Detailed biographies of the key members of the organization – really, anyone with management responsibility – should be included, including education and experience. Beyond that, some personal information such as family and hobbies can help the reader relate to your organization’s members.

PandaTip: Keep in mind that the most important step in writing a grant proposal comes before a single word is written. You should extensively map out everything to do with your proposal. Further, when you identify potential funding sponsors, you should research not only the sponsor company, but also those people who make the decisions within the sponsor company. You can’t lose sight of the fact that you are not dealing with a monolithic bloc but actual individuals that make the decisions on behalf of an organization. Tailor your approach to appeal to those specific individuals.

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