The Writing Successful Grants KnowledgeBase

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

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

Task 2: Execute Evaluation Plan


Guideline: The grantee will execute its evaluation plan as described in the project plan.

A Checklist to Inform Monitoring and Evaluation

This worksheet from the University of Western Michigan's Center on Evaluation is designed to help project teams select a qualified, well matched program evaluator.


Possible Project-Level Evaluation Activities

This worksheet from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook lists possible evaluation activities for each project stage from planning to policy.

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

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools receiving funds under any applicable U.S. Department of Education program. School districts should ensure all staff members and outside contractors, such as counselors and interpreters, are familiar with the applicable policies on the privacy of student records.


Protection of Human Subjects in Research

A research activity involves human subjects if the activity is research, as defined in the U.S. Department of Education’s regulations, and the research activity will involve use of human subjects, as defined in the regulations. Such activities must follow the Regulations for the Protection of Human Subjects. When developing a program evaluation, it is important to keep these restrictions in mind.

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.