In addition to the eight key components that follow, a cover page and table of contents are normally included with the full proposal. A form cover page is usually provided in the case of public funding sources
1. PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT
Expresses the essence of the proposal in brief, readable form.
- Appears at the beginning of the proposal, but is written last
- Identifies the grant applicant and includes at least one sentence on credibility
- Provides the project title and purpose
- Identifies the target population
- Includes at least one sentence on the problem
- Can mention relevance and importance of project to field
- Includes at least one sentence on objectives
- Includes at least one sentence on methods
- Includes at least one sentence on evaluation and dissemination plans
- Includes total cost, funds already obtained and amount requested in this proposal \
- Is brief, clear, and interesting
Describes the applicant agency and its qualifications for funding (credibility).
- Introduces the applicant
- Describes applicant's purposes and goals
- Describes applicant's constituents and service area
- Describes applicant's programs and activities
- Provides evidence of applicant's accomplishments (e.g. statistics, quotes, endorsements)
- Supports qualifications in the area of activity in which funds are sought (e.g. training, research) \
- Shows how the project relates to the applicant's mission and priorities
- Links the project with the funder's interests
- Leads logically to the problem statement/needs assessment
- Is as brief as possible, interesting and free of jargon
3. PROBLEM STATEMENT OR NEEDS ASSESSMENT
Describes the existing condition that is the focus of the proposed project.
- Relates to the purposes and goals of applicant
- Is of reasonable dimensions--not trying to solve all the problems of the world
- Is supported by statistical evidence
- Is supported by statements from authorities
- Is stated in terms of target population's needs and problems--not the applicant's
- Is developed with input from the target population and beneficiaries
- Is not the "lack of a program," unless the program always works
- Makes no unsupported assumptions
- Is free of jargon, is interesting to read, is as brief as possible and makes a compelling case
NEEDS ASSESSMENT DOCUMENTATION SOURCES
Cite the following types of information to document need for your projects:
- Literature in the field
- Research findings
- Surveys or reports by federal agencies or national professional associations
- State surveys or reports
- Local statistics and data
- Statements from members of the target population and/or experts in the field
- Opinions of experts found in searches of relevant literature
- Task force reports or advisory committee recommendations
- Public comments
4. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
Describes the outcomes of the grant in measurable terms.
- Articulates no more than two or three goals, although each goal may be matched with several objectives
- Includes at least one objective for each problem or need committed to in the problem statement
- Provides logical flow from the preceding problem statement/needs assessment to goals and objectives
- Heeds the cautionary note that objectives are outcomes, not methods
- Describes the population that will benefit
- States the time by which objectives will be accomplished
- Remembers that objectives are measurable, if at all possible
Describes the activities to be conducted to achieve the desired objectives.
- Flows naturally from problems and objectives
- Clearly describes program activities
- States reasons for the selection of activities
- Describes sequence of activities
- Describes staffing of program
- Describes target population and participant selection
- Presents a reasonable scope of activities that can be conducted within the time and resources of the program
- Answers the questions who, what, where, when, and why.
METHODS OF DISSEMINATION
Consider the following methods when developing a dissemination plan, but be sure to follow the funder's preferences, if articulated:
- Project newsletters
- Presentations at professional conferences
- Pamphlets describing the project and its results
- Manuals on replicating the project
- Training others to replicate the project
- Demonstrations of the project
- Published project materials
- Press releases on project activities, results, progress
Presents a plan for determining the degree to which objectives are met and methods are followed:
- Presents a plan for evaluating accomplishments of objectives
- Presents a plan for evaluating and modifying methods over the course of the program
- Tells who will be doing the evaluation and how they were chosen
- Clearly states the criteria of success
- States the information or data that are needed for each evaluation measure
- Describes how data will be gathered
- Explains any test instruments or questionnaires to be used
- Describes the process of data analysis
- Describes the timeline for the evaluation process
- Describes any evaluation reports to be produced (content and who will receive them)
The evaluation itself should answer the following questions about the project:
- How well did the program achieve its goal?
- Did the project meet its objectives?
- Were project activities implemented as planned?
- How effective were the activities in achieving the goal?
- For which groups/target populations was the project most/least successful?
- What external factors influenced the project's development and impact?
- What impact did the project have?
- Were there unintended outcomes?
- What did the project cost?
- How well was the project managed?
- What are the project's merits compared with alternative approaches?
- Should the methodology be revised?
7. FUTURE AND OTHER NECESSARY FUNDING
Describes a plan for continuation beyond the grant and/or the availability of other resources necessary to implement the grant.
- Presents a specific plan to obtain future funding if program is to be continued
- Describes how maintenance and future program costs will be obtained (if an equipment or construction grant)
- Describes how other funds will be obtained, if necessary to implement the grant
- Has minimal reliance on future grant support
- Is accompanied by letters of commitment, if necessary
8. PROPOSAL BUDGET
Details all costs (whether requested or donated) required for the project implementation.
- Tells the same story as the proposal narrative
- Is detailed in all aspects
- Is presented in summary (link to sample budget summary) as well as detailed/narrative (link to sample detailed budget) form (which provides the justification for each item)
- Fits the funder's allowable costs
- Projects costs that will be incurred at the time of the program, if different from the time of proposal writing
- Contains no unexplained amounts for miscellaneous or contingency
- Includes all items asked of the funding source
- Includes all items paid for by other sources
- Includes all volunteers
- Details fringe benefits, separate from salaries
- Includes all consultants
- Separately details all non-personnel costs
- Includes indirect costs where appropriate
- Is sufficient to perform the tasks described in the narrative