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

Task 2: Match Project Ideas with Grant Funders' Interests and/or Requirements

Guideline: Before developing the grant proposal, the grant seeker should assure the project idea is in line with the funding source's philanthropic interests. Each foundation has guidelines for grant seekers specifying interest areas for which they are willing to fund projects.

Matching grant funders' interests or requirements with the project idea enhances the prospects of submitting a successful grant proposal.

Checklist for Funding Source

This document offers a series of questions to ask when determining whether a grant funder would be an appropriate source of project funding. Guidance is offered with each questionas to where to look for answers.

Grant Planning Form

This link to grant writing resources at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website provides a form for outlining the basic provisions of the envisioned grant proposal. The form may be useful to grant seekers when matching grant ideas to grant funders’ interests.

Applying for Funding from Family Foundations

This Foundation Center's article addresses applying for funding from family foundations.

Foundation Giving Trends

This report summarizes the findings of the Foundation Center's report on giving trends. The information may be useful to grant seekers to understand the philanthropic environment.

National Science Foundation Grant Proposal Guide

This link to the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Grant Proposal Guide provides the requirements for submitting a grant proposal to the NSF. Though the guide's content is specific to the NSF, grant seekers may in general find its content useful when planning a grant proposal.

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

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