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 6: Develop Project Budget


Guideline: The projet budget identifies the financial resources needed to accomplish the project. It will delineate expenses, funding requirements, and identify funding sources. The funding source will be looking at the level of local support (in-kind or resources) on a short term as well long term basis. Identifying such support is important.

When developing a budget for a federal grant do not exceed the maximum allowable amount possible under the grant, doing so could be a cause for rejection. Federal grant applications should include a budget narrative explaining how the funds under each category will be spent.

The local district budget officer can provide the district's or school's established "indirect rate", do not make one up.

Evaluation Budget

This worksheet from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook is intended to help project planners develop a budget for project evaluation.

Alternate format: PDF


Project Budget Worksheet

This worksheet is adapted from the Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Act website Grant Proposal Worksheet.

Alternate format: PDF


U.S. Department of Education Budget Information

This link is to the U.S. Department of Education's budget form and the instructions for completing it.

Project Budget

This document offers guidance on the purpose and elements of the budget.

Proposal Budgeting Basics

This Foundation Center online course reviews developing a project budget.

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