Office of Academic Affairs
Grant Preparation Tips
There are several points to keep in mind as you begin to prepare your proposal. It is best to start early, ask others to review your work, and submit in advance of the deadline. Below are a few more tips to help you get started.
- Review the guidelines for the funding opportunity carefully...and multiple times! Pay attention to the goals of the grant program and be prepared to state how your project will advance those goals.
- Consider using subheadings that borrow language from the guidelines. That way, key parts of your application will be easily identifiable by the review committee.
- Note any special instructions about preparing and submitting the proposal. Some guidelines will indicate a particular font or type size, or have rules about how recommendation letters or the proposal itself must be submitted. These instructions should be followed carefully.
- Make a list of each piece of information you will need to gather and/or compose, and note from whom you will gather the information. For example, the College’s tax exemption letter can be obtained from the Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations. A copy of the latest college audit is available from the finance office. Send information requests two weeks in advance.
- Establish a schedule for preparing your proposal. Start with the proposal due date and work backwards. Whenever possible, start early and pad your deadlines. Expect the unexpected because prepping a proposal usually takes longer than initially thought.
- Try to get a copy of a successful proposal. Program officers and recent award recipients often share the narrative portion of proposals upon request. You may be able to learn from those who were previously successful.
For more formal guidance and recommendations, contact the Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations or review the sites below.
- A Guide to Proposal Planning and Writing by Jeremy T. Miner and Lynn E. Miner
- The Foundation Center's Short Course on Proposal Writing
- The Foundation Center’s Proposal Writing for Individuals
- The Foundation Center’s Proposal Budgeting Basics
- How to Write a Grant Proposal: The Basics—From Summary to Budget by Joanne Fritz, About.com
- St. Olaf College’s Guide to Proposal Basics
- Developing and Writing Grant Proposals by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) [Particularly useful for federal grants.]
- Grant Proposal Guide by the National Science Foundation (NSF)
For assistance at any stage in the grants process, please contact Kathryn M. Bowles, Associate Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone ext. 5212, or visit her office on the second floor of Old Centre.
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