Table of Contents
5 Tips for Grant Writing Strategies
by the Tech&Learning
Grant Guru Gary Carnow
Be careful with the use of appendices.
Some proposal writers try to use the
appendix to place information that
should have been included in the body
of the proposal. The appendix should
not be used to get around any page
limitations stated in the RFP.
In general, the appendix might include:
résumés of key personnel that will
implement the grant; endorsements
and letters of support; verifi cations;
assurances; and diagrams or illustrations.
It is not uncommon to supply
documentation of your non-profi t status.
Some proposals will ask for you a list of
Do not put new information in the
appendix. Your grant application must
stand on its own. Any information in the
appendix should further verify or backup
the text of your application.
The forms that are part of the RFP
guidelines will often serve as an outline
for your grant narrative. Most RFPs
will also include a procedure for the
application submission. These directions
will guide you and help you plan ahead.
Additionally, the RFP will describe
formatting issues. Follow all directions
carefully. Many applications have
additional components, usually a set of
forms and assurances. It is imperative
that you read all of the directions (several
times) so that you can get going on these
Scoring Criteria, Rubrics and
the Writing Process
Scoring criteria are often included in the
grant request for proposals. The scoring
criteria is often further described in a
scoring rubric. The rubric may further
break down the criteria and provide the
grant readers a score range on which to
judge this element.
Under each category in the rubric, a
statement is provided as an example.
This detailed rubric is both good and bad
for the grant seeker. On the good side,
the grant funder is telling you exactly
what you need to do. What is bad is that
you may be tempted to simply write
the “Makes a Strong Case” statement
without really describing what you
plan to do. Be careful not to fall into
this trap. For example, stating that the narrative describes a comprehensive
action plan to share successful
program implementation strategies
and outcomes with stakeholders at the
conclusion of the program does not
tell the grant reader how you plan to
do this. It does not say how parents,
community members, and school
districts will actually be able to share in
the lessons learned.
The criteria for a budget might be
scored on a three-point scale or a fi vepoint
scale. Here is an example of a
Editing is Everything
1 The proposal’s budget is vague and/
or inappropriate for the project.
2 The proposal provides a budget
that is appropriate in type and
amount, but is lacking suffi cient
3 The proposal provides a clearly
articulated and itemized budget
that is appropriate in both type
A common saying among writers is that
writing is rewriting. There is no good
writing, only good rewriting. Great
writers do this instinctively. The rest of
us have to practice.
Planning ahead will give you the
opportunity to rewrite. Wait two days
to begin the editing process. Going at
it with a clear mind will help you fi nd
what in your proposal works and what
doesn’t. As you begin to edit, remember
that this is the time to cut, not add. Most
of us are too wordy in our writing. Use
this time to get to the heart of what you
are trying to say. Avoid prepositional
phrases, and keep the language simple.
Clutter is really the enemy. Why use
assistance instead of help? Or why not
try many instead of numerous or use
do instead of implement? Cutting and
simplifying will give your writing an
economy and a tone that is sharp and
focused. Show no mercy.
After you have simplified, spell-checked,
and generally cleaned up the final look,
share the document with colleagues
and ask for their insights and reactions.
Particularly ask for their comments
about clarity and content.