Proposal Tips

There are numerous tip sheets and guides to proposal writing available online; links to some of the better ones may be found below. The most important aspect of proposal writing, however, is simply to do your homework:

  1. Be clear on what it is you are seeking funding for.
  2. Read the program guidelines carefully and adhere to them in your proposal.
  3. Look for samples of funded proposals.
  4. Write clearly and cleanly.

Online Proposal Writing Tips

The Foundation Center has an excellent library of online tutorials that cover a variety of grantseeking topics, including

Both the Non-Profit Guides Website and discuss different types of proposals, from letters of inquiry to full proposals. The Non-Profit Guides site also offers sample proposals in each category.

The Catalog of Federal and Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Website includes a tutorial on "Developing and Writing Grant Proposals" that may be of particular use if you are pursuing a federal award.

If you are preparing a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF), you should access the NSF's online "Grant Proposal Guide" (also available as a PDF)

Proposal Timeline

Although each foundation and grant program has its own grant cycle, the sooner you begin researching opportunities and drafting your ideas, the better your chances of finding funding success Keep in mind that federal agencies usually have a minimum 6-month turn-around time -- from submission through review to notification -- for grant applications. State agencies and private foundations may have shorter turn-around times, but they may also have limited submission dates.

Recommended Timeline