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

Task 5: Define Role for Collaborators


Guideline: Collaborators may be other entities within the grant seeker's organization, community groups, units of government, or local businesses. The project plan should define each collaborators role and contribution to the project. A table listing collaborators with their agreed upon role and responsibility is a useful summary in the proposal's appendix.

Asking each collaborator to write a letter of support for the grant proposal gives credence to their involvement. When requesting support letters, it is helpful to include a sample support letter with the request. The request letter should indicate whom the letter should be addressed to, the purpose of the letter, and give guidance on its content. Collaborator support letters should be included in the proposal's appendix.

Building Inter-organizational Collaboration

This document offers a summary of lessons learned from a grant project bringing together seven social agencies to create, implement, and institutionalize a community-based service network of informal and formal family support programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect. Though the source article specifically addresses the experiences from the child abuse and neglect project, the lessons learned are applicable to any situation where several organizations are attempting to work together to accomplish a set of project goals.

Factors Facilitating Inter-organizational Collaboration

This chart looks at the four levels of collaboration in terms of relationship, mission/goals, risk, resource sharing, investment, and process. As organizations interact with each other their leadership needs to understand the level of relationship they are aiming to achieve. This chart may be useful for grant seekers as they reach out to other organizations to participate in their project.

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