The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase

Element 1: Assess Organizational Needs and Basis for Desired Funding

Purpose: Writing a successful grant application begins with understanding the reason for seeking grant funding from a governmental agency or private foundation. If the grant seeker is a school, the organizational assessment undertaken for improvement planning may provide useful reasons for the desired funding.

The grant seekers organizational assessment must address the subject area the funding organization has an interest in supporting. In regards to a governmental grant proposal, the assessment must address the request for proposal's focus.

Element 1 outlines the tasks involved in creating an organizational assessment.

Activity 1: Take a Snapshot of Your Organization

Activity 2: Identify Broad Areas in Need of Improvement

Element 2: Outline the Project Ideas

Purpose: Developing innovative grant ideas that fulfill organizational needs is essential in a successful grant application. The successful grant application will be one that effectively matches the grant seeker's project ideas with the grant funder's interests or programmatic focus!

Activity 1: Create a Project Team

Activity 2: Conceptualize Project

Element 3: Organize for Action

Purpose: Prior to writing the grant application, the project lead should pre-plan how the application will be developed, a timeline for completing it, and an internal review process for the application. Element 3 outlines the steps in creating a road map for the application process.

Activity 1: Understand the Grant Requirements

Activity 2: Plan to Act

Task 2: Conceptualize Project


Guideline: Moving from an idea to a solution is a process, starting from a global perspective to drilling down to the actionable components. This requires the project team to open its thinking to new possibilities and ways of doing things. The application of brainstorming tools may be helpful with this task.

Questions to Ask Before Writing the Proposal

This checklist offers a series of questions to assess the odds of success and how well the project fits within the grant seeker's organization.


Questions to Ask When Assessing Project Ideas

This checklist offers a list of helpful questions when considering project ideas.


Things to Do in Conceptualizing a Project

This checklist offers a list of key things to do as the project team takes the project idea and conceptualizes how it will work.

The Three P's: Project Angles

This document summarizes one approach to conceptualizing a community initiative according to the three angles: Purpose, Partners, and Practices.

Logic Models

When creating any type of plan it is important to closely look at how it will work and how its pieces fit together. Links to resources explaining the logic model concept are offered to assist the project team apply the concept with their project planning.

Element 4: Develop and Submit the Grant Proposal

Purpose: The grant proposal brings life to the project idea. It is the vehicle the grant seeker uses to sell their idea to the prospective funding sources. Element 4 outlines the steps to develop and submit a successful grant application. Once the application has been submitted, follow-up with the funder is essential.

Activity 1: Develop the Project Plan

Activity 2: Commit the Proposal to Paper

Activity 3: Review and Finalize the Proposal

Element 5: Implement the Grant

Purpose: Upon receiving the grant award it is necessary to have a process in place for administering and managing the grant. Element 5 outlines the steps involved with implementing the project and fulfilling the grant's administrative requirements.

Activity 1: Administer and Manage the Grant

Activity 2: Accomplish Change

Activity 3: Evaluate Project Outcomes