Full Proposal

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


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


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


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


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.


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 
  • Videotapes


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?


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


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