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 2: Conduct Internal Review

Guideline: Following the project team's review, the updated grant proposal should undergo the established internal organizational review. This review offers a fresh perspective on the grant proposal and assures assures the organizational requirements are met. Through this process questions for the funding source may be identified. The internal review should conclude with the proposal receiving formal approval to be submitted.

Characteristics of a Good Grant Proposal

This checklist may be useful when reviewing the grant proposal prior to submission to the funding source.

Alternate format: PDF

Checklist for Applicants

This checklist reviews federal grant requirements in regards to supporting documentation and additional forms to be completed. It may be useful when reviewing the grant package prior to submission.

Alternate format: PDF

Grant Proposal Review

This link to grant writing resources at the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website provides a form for reviewing the completed grant proposal. The form may be useful to grant seekers when reviewing the grant proposal prior to submission to the grant funder.


GrantSAT (Self-Assessment Tool) is a tool to evaluating each section of a grant proposal. It may be useful for all grant writers from the novice to the highly experienced.

Scoring Guidelines - Evaluation Grant Proposals

Each funding source will have a basis for evaluating grant proposals. Utilizing the review criteria and the assigned scoring weights a project team and an internal review team can use the information to evaluate the grant seeker's proposal prior to submission. This document offers a sample scoring scale.

Intent to Submit Form

This document offers an approach for soliciting input from the parties impacted by the grant proposal.

Office of Research Integrity

This link is to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Research Integrity. Though intended for scientific research grant seekers may find the misconduct resources useful to assure integrity in writing their grant proposals and executing awarded grants.

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