Tuesday, August 16, 2005

U.S. Govt. has site on Proposal Writing.

Yesterday I wrote a short article about The Foundation Center's online course on proposal writing. As a result, a reader has directed me to a similar site that is maintained by the United States Government.

At a web site entitled: "Developing And Writing Grant Proposals" Uncle Sam gives some pointers to non-profits on how to ask it for money. But in looking over the site, it seems that the advice can be applied to many other situations than seeking funding from Washington, D.C.

The short tutorial is divided into two parts. Part One is on "Developing a Grant Proposal" and Part Two is on "Writing the Grant Proposal." The suggestion in the beginning of the tutorial that "Individuals without prior grant proposal writing experience may find it useful to attend a grantsmanship workshop," is not helpful to those readers who are in areas where such workshops are difficult to find; but there are plenty of helpful tips in the tutorial to make it worth while reading for anyone interested in developing a funding proposal.

The initial steps suggested in Part One of the tutorial are set out in a very logical manner, and raises some issues that are not always addressed in online tutorials. Those ideas are:

- Preparation

- Developing Ideas for the Proposal

- Community Support

- Identification of a Funding Resource and

- Getting Organized to Write the Proposal

This site also suggests that the applicant have a review process for the application. A disinterested third party can be asked to review the document (or better yet, its draft) for clarity, ease of reading and logic. This person could look for unwarranted assumptions by the applicant and inappropriate language.

Finally, the site recommends that the proposal writer be mindful of neatness and mailing the proposal early enough to insure a prompt arrival before the deadline with a cover letter to make certain that the recipient is fully aware of the nature of the proposal.

In Part Two of the tutorial, the web site discusses the actual writing of the proposal and it is much longer than Part One.

Here, the tutorial discusses:

The Eight Basic Components of a Proposal which are:
(1) The proposal summary (an outline of the project goals);
(2) The introduction of the organization;
(3) The problem statement (or needs assessment);
(4) The project objectives;
(5) The project methods or design;
(6) The project evaluation;
(7) Future funding; and
(8) The project budget

This list is then followed with an overview of the individual components. There are very useful tips in each of the itemized components such as making sure that there is a brief biography of board members and key staff members, and that mention of the organization's successes with other grantors should be made in the introduction of the organization.

Stating that the needs assessment is a key element of the proposal this site urges the proposal writer to be as clear and as concise as possible and to well document the statement of the problem to be addressed with supporting data.

Many of the references in this site are particular to proposal writers who are seeking funds from the U.S. Government, but there is enough in this tutorial for everyone, if no more than a Very Useful Checklist to have as you go through your proposal writing process.

Take a look at:

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