The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase

The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase is an online resource aiding education professionals in their pursuit of public and private grants to support local programs. Its five elements contain information and resources that assist the grant seeker with developing their project, writing the grant proposal and managing the grant upon its award.

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

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

Task 4: Submit Proposal to Funding Source


Guideline: Prior to submitting to submitting the grant proposal be sure to review the funding sources' requirements for how the proposal should be packaged. When the proposal is complete and ready for submission to the funding source the project lead should obtain authorization to do so as part of the internal review process.

Federal Grant Application and Other Forms

This U.S. Department of Education website contains links to the forms commonly required when applying for Federal grants. Each form appears in several formats including PDF and Microsoft Word.


Sample Electronic Submission Waiver Request

This document offers a sample electronic submission waiver form when experiencing problems with an electronic submission system.


Sample Letter of Support

This sample represents a common format for letters of support submitted with a grant application. Grant writers may wish to supply such a sample to those individuals and/or organizations they approach for support.

Tips on Submitting a Grant

This document contains a list of tips gathered from experienced grant writers concerning what to do when the grant proposal is ready to submit.

Electronic Submission of Grant Applications

This U.S. Department of Education Federal Register notice announces policies and procedural requirements for the electronic submission of grant applications through the government wide grants application site, Grants.gov, and the department’s grants application site, e-Application. Federal grant seekers should be aware of these requirements and note how their specific grant application is to be submitted.

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