Helpful Grant Writing Resources
Do you have an interesting project that seems to fulfill a granting agencies criteria, but you don’t know where to start? Why not check out these grant writing resources and tips!
Writing a Grant Proposal The Minnesota Council on Foundations
Stokes, Karina. “Modality Approach to Successful Grant Writing” . Technical Communication. Aug2012, Vol. 59 Issue 3, p223-237. 15p.
Rebecca Boden, Jane Kenway, and Debbie Epstein. Winning and Managing Research Funding. (London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif. : SAGE Publications, 2005)
Browning, Beverly A. Grant Writing for Dummies (Hoboken, N.J., 2001).
Larissa Golden Brown and Martin John Brown. Demystifying Grant Seeking: What You REALLY Need to Do to Get Grants (San Francisco, 2001)
Cheryl Carter New and James Aaron Quick. Grantseeker’s Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding Funding (New York, 1998)
Golden, Susan L. Secrets of Successful Grantsmanship: A Guerrilla Guide to Raising Money (New York, 1997)
- Schedules : Give yourself enough time to prepare a strong application. Draw up a schedule so you can successfully manage your time. Estimate the amount of time you think you’ll need to prepare your proposal: now triple that. You will need MUCH more time than you think to produce a strong proposal.
- Create a Checklist: Grant awarding agencies have very specific criteria for their applications. Ensure that you have all of the correct documents required otherwise your application may be rejected without review. Do not send extraneous attachments. All grant awarding institutions will specify their application requirements, do not send them more data, documents or information than necessary.
- Read the guidelines: Read the guidelines, read the guidelines.
- Strategic Language and Respecting the Criteria: Every granting agency has their vested interests and agendas. They have a particular interest, and they want to invest in projects that fit into the criteria they have set. Carefully read the the criteria and note the type of language that is used, try to ensure that your project fits as closely to their priorities and criteria as possible, otherwise your project is likely to be quickly dismissed.
- Learn from others: Look into who has been awarded the grant you are applying to in previous years. Acquiring first-hand knowledge and experience from a peer who has successfully been through the process is an asset. Reading a copy of a successful proposal can also be extremely helpful. The Office of Instructional Development, has copies of successful proposals available for you to review.
- Be Concise: Pay attention to prose! Avoid rhetoric, jargon, hedge words (might be, potentially, could be) and hyperbole. If you can, illustrate with real examples. When tempted to cram the application with information, comprehensiveness and more detailed nuances (all of which demonstrate scholarship, track record, implications of research), pay attention to whether it is detracting from the legibility of the application.
- Respect Formatting: Most grant awarding agencies insist on specific formatting for all submissions. If the agency you are applying to details specific formatting rules you must follow them to the letter. If they specify page length, page margins, typeface, etc., be sure to follow the specifications, these are not recommendations. Be concise but be thorough; if the agency allocates 5 pages for a section, they are expecting five pages, not one.
- Establish Qualifications: The people who will be reviewing your application do not likely know who you are or your previous contributions or initiatives. Most applications require a section where you concisely elaborate your abilities as a project manager, why this project is an appropriate for your career or builds on your previous research etc…
- Letters of Support: If the granting agency requires letters of support, from your educational institution or from partners ensure you have it ready ahead of time. This is particularly the case if the letter must be translated. In addition, when the application is undergoing institutional review, the appropriate authorizing parties should have a copy in hand while reviewing your application.
- Write for an intelligent layperson: Do not assume that those who are reviewing your application are experts in your project area. Don’t make the reviewers draw inferences about important matters concerning the logic and implications of your work. Tell them!
- Who Cares or the So What?: The participants of the review board need to understand why your proposed project is appropriate for the funding source and its significance to your field of study. Why does your project matter? Why should ‘the tax-payers’ fund it? Don’t fall into the trap of rationalizing your project because it would be interesting to know something new; argue for its social, cultural, pedagogical, economic etc importance.
- Assessment: It is important to let the review panel at the grant awarding agency know that you have thought about evaluation and assessment of your own project. What will be your criteria for success? How will you disseminate the knowledge discovered or accrued from your project to the larger academic community? Try to think deeply about this aspect of your work. Is there some creative way you can put your new knowledge into action? What is your knowledge mobilization plan?
- Within your means: Ensure that your project is realistic. Grants are awarded for a specific monetary amount and over a specified period of time. Make sure that you can accomplish all that you wish within that time frame and with the funds you are granted. Spend significant time on the budget and budget justification – an inflated budget is a sure fire way to get your proposal rejected. Make sure you ask for what you need and justify it strongly. A simple “$10,000 for research expenses” will not cut it.
- Get Help: You have colleagues, so use them! Have someone else review your application ahead of submission. Do not exclusively rely on self-editing. Have a peer or peer (s) review your work and provide feedback. Do not shirk away from (Invite!) constructive criticism. The research coordinator – Kaila Folinsbee, and internal ECQ and institutional projects coordinator – Diana Rice, are always available to read and comment on proposals – make sure you send a draft early in the process so there is time to read through it carefully and offer comments and suggestions.
- Edit: Edit, Edit, Edit. Walk away, and then edit some more. Ensuring that everything in your application is pertinent, written well, and exemplifies exactly your intentions for your proposed project can only be accomplished through many editing sessions. Remember to get help! Ask peers to review your work!
Looking for research materials to complete your application?
If you are a Researcher looking for more information on research centered grants please visit our dedicated Research site.