According to Barbara Floersch, director of The Grantsmanship Center in Los Angeles, Calif., “The quality of the process you use to put the proposal together directly affects competiveness." In other words, filling out a grant application without a solid plan of what you want to say will diminish your chance of winning the funding.
Floersch suggests mobilizing a "team of people invested in the project, assign a leader, lay out a timeline, and assign tasks." The demands of the proposal will dictate some tasks, but here are six that should always be included:
- Gather Letters of Commitment: Get a letter from each substantive collaborator documenting the role they’ll play;
- Assemble Attachments: Be sure documents are updated, and get them into the required format, usually electronic;
- Finish the Research: Find information to fill remaining blanks. You might need a few more statistics, a couple of quotes, or even a literature review of the project’s approach;
- Develop the Budget: The narrative and budget must be perfectly synced. Be sure the financial person and writer work hand-in-hand;
- Draft the Narrative: When several people contribute sections, you’ll need one writer to pull it together to ensure cohesiveness and give it one voice; and,
- Have Others Review the Entire Proposal Package: Accept that you’re too enmeshed in the work to review it objectively. Have a couple of people critique the package. Does it respond exactly to application guidelines? Are all elements clear and convincing? Does each element support the others? Allow time for corrections.