1. Read the guidelines and supporting materials thoroughly.
Guidelines structure the entire proposal process. Read them thoroughly. If FAQ documents and webinars are available, read those as well. The goal is to know all the specific requirements of the grant program and to identify those that need to be addressed first. Certain items to watch out for include:
- Submission/Registration requirements
Different funding agencies have different requirements for proposal submission. Usually they require registration on one or more websites. Many government proposals require four registrations in addition to the articles of incorporation: Dun & Bradstreet, CCR, Grants.Gov, and the departmental site. Each registration may take many steps. You’ll want to take care of any such registrations well ahead of time so as not to interfere with final preparations.
- Conflicting or confusing items
Guidelines are not always perfectly written. If items are confusing or seem contradictory, get in touch with the program office and ask for clarification. We prefer to ask our questions via email, to ensure that we have written documentation of the responses.
- Formatting Requirements
As with all requirements, not following formatting requirements can quickly result in a proposal becoming disqualified. Take note of what the guideline requests, and prepare your documents accordingly.
- Selection criteria and any corresponding point values
This section explains how proposals will be judged, and the point values for selection can inform your program’s development and proposal structure. For instance, if the Evaluation section accounts for 20% of the overall selection points, you’ll want to include a strong evaluation plan. Keep the selection criteria handy. You will refer to them often when writing the proposal.
- Double check deadlines
We aim to submit at least one day ahead of any stated deadlines, usually several days ahead of time. This gives us a bit of a buffer in case we encounter submission problems.
2. Set up a Grant Proposal Tracker.
3. Set a preliminary schedule.
Everyone’s work process is different. What are the first steps you complete when beginning a new proposal? Write us and share your ideas.
Need help with a proposal? TheGrantHelpers.com is prepared can manage the entire process or serve in an advisory role. Contact a Grant Helper for more information.