Writing a grant
proposal, even with an
effective grant team,
is a daunting exercise
in time management.
No matter how much
time you think a writing project will
take, double it, and then plan your time
The actual grant writing takes place
after you and your team have established
your goals and objectives for your
identified needs. You and your team
can agree on the problem (need). You
know how you plan to go about solving
your problem (objectives based on your
needs). You have developed methods
(activities) that will move you from a
problem to a solution. And you have
thought through how you plan to evaluate
your program and what kind of budget
will be needed.
It’s not uncommon to feel frozen in
place at this point in time. Even though
you have done all of your homework,
the request for proposal (RFP) may
be intimidating. Your narrative may be
limited to twenty pages, double-spaced,
but the RFP itself may be close to one hundred
pages. Copying the RFP so that you can highlight
and read it often is important.
The best way to begin…is to begin. Start by
creating a to-do list. Which part of the proposal
will you do first? Which part is better put off for
another time? Are you the kind of person that
works better from an outline? If so, create an
outline first. For me, creating the budget first is
like creating an outline. It lets me know how far
the money will go. With practice, you will get
good at turning grant activities into line items on
After I complete a draft of the budget, I
like to begin with an easy part of the proposal.
What is easy for me may not be easy for you. So
look through the RFP and the scoring rubric (if
available) to help you put order to your writing.
After I get a piece of the project completed, I try
to tackle what I perceive to be a more difficult
Develop blocks of time to write that work
with your schedule. Plan time allotments.
Determine how long you like to work before
taking a break.
Use the RFP as your outline to your writing.
Scan the directions to determine the exact
number of pages that you are allowed to use.
Also determine the page layout requirements..
During the writing of your draft, don’t worry
about the final layout; you can edit later to make
things fit and easy to read.
At times, the project may seem so big that
it feels like a black cloud is hovering over your
head. Procrastination sets in. The deadline
looms. Challenge these thoughts. In reality, there
is never a perfect place, time or topic. Do what
you need to do to get unblocked. Ask for help,
break it down into smaller parts, and challenge
your reasons for delay. Go back to your writing
outline. Make some progress every day, even if
only for a short block of time.