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 1: Review Proposal Requirements and Elements


Guideline: Prior to writing the grant proposal, the grant seeker must know and understand the funding source's requirements including the proposal format (number of pages, font type & size, margins, etc.) and expected information elements. A proposal meeting those requirements at least warrants the funder's consideration. Failing to follow the submission requirements can cause an outright rejection.

Proposal Format Checklist

This document contains a list of elements and format common in grant proposals.

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 Replicability, Dissemination, and Sustainability Statement

It is common for grant funders to require statements of the project's replicability and sustainability, and the dissemination of the grant's outcomes as part of the grant proposal. This document contains a generic statement covering these elements.

Assuring Meaningful Access

Assuring meaningful access for national-origin language-minority parents and ELL students was the crux of the compliance agreement between the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Though the agreement is specific to the TUSD, it illustrates OCR's areas of concern related to meaningful access. This document offers resources to assist school districts understand the federal requirements and tools to assess their efforts. A copy of the Tucson agreement letter is provided.

Equal Educational Opportunity to LEP Students OCR Pamphlet

Grant Writing Tips

This document offers practical tips addressing the grant seeking process, from before the proposal has been written through after it has been submitted.


Seeking Grants

This document offers practical tips to keep in mind when developing grant proposals.


Tips for Proposal Writing

This document offers ten tips for successful proposal writing. The list is worth reviewing prior to committing the proposal to paper.

Glossary of Philanthropy-related Terms

This link to the Foundation Center website provides a glossary of philanthropy-related terminology.


Grantmaking at ED

This booklet provides a non-technical summary of the U.S. Department of Education’s discretionary grants process and the laws and regulations that govern it.


Plain Language

This link to the Plain Language.gov website provides information and resources related to the federal government’s to improve communication with the public. Grant seekers submitting federal grant proposals may find its content useful. Other grant seekers may find its content useful when submitting proposal to other grant funders.

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