What To Ask Yourself In Order To Write A Winning Grant Proposal

What To Ask Yourself In Order To Write A Winning Grant Proposal

Questions to Ask Before Searching for a Grant Opportunity

  1. Do you have a compelling idea?
  2. Do you truly need the funding and can you explain why?
  3. Do you have the organization skills to write the proposal?
  4. Does the staff have the skills and willingness to carry out the project?
  5. Do you have stakeholder buy-in?
  6. Do you have the ability to write in clear, simple, convincing terms?
  7. Do you have an elevator pitch: Can you express your basic idea in one sentence?

Questions to Ask Before You Write the Proposal

  1. Why do you want this grant?
  2. What needs will your project address?
  3. What are your short and long-term goals?
  4. Do your goals address the mission of the funder?
  5. What do you need to reach these goals?
  6. What are you looking to accomplish?
  7. Who will be involved in the project?
  8. Are you and others committed to writing the proposal?
  9. Are you and others committed to carrying out the program?
  10. Do other key people support the project?
  11. How much money will you need?
  12. What resources will be required?
  13. Do you fully understand the grant’s guidelines?

Questions to Ask as You Write the Proposal

  1. Summary/Abstract:Are you including excerpts from each section?
  2. Needs:Do you detail the compelling needs of your school, district, or group and why your organization should get funded to run this project?
  3. Objectives:Do you explain specific objectives and the methods you will use to reach each goal? Are the needs, goals and objectives clearly aligned?
  4. Narrative:Do you describe your action plan with specifics on how it leads to success: what you'll do; how you'll do it; where you'll do it; and who's going to do what?
  5. Budget:Do you itemize every budget item and explain clearly how each is required to guarantee success?
  6. Personnel:Do you show which staff members will be part of the program, how each person’s qualifications contribute to make the program a success, and what each will do?
  7. Evaluation: Do you explain what you will measure, how you will measure it, and the benchmarks you will use so it is clear how the project will prove that it achieved its targets?

Questions to Ask Before You Submit the Application

Does the proposal:

  1. Demonstrate a compelling need for the grant?
  2. Include specific, measurable goals and objectives?
  3. Match your answers to the grant’s selection criteria?
  4. Explain the expertise of the staff?
  5. Describe the commitment to making it work?
  6. Make it clear that the grant funds are essential?
  7. Show what you mean by success and how you will measure it?
  8. Steer clear of jargon?

Informal Funding

Finding a funding source, assembling all of the required information, and writing a proposal is serious business. If formal applications seem too complicated for your organization or if your idea doesn’t need major funding, informal sources may be just the thing for you. Here is a list of request sites, crowdfunding options, equipment giveaways, fundraising and other resources to consider. Read the information on these sites carefully; sometimes there’s a fee or percentage the site keeps. And while some of them were designed specifically for education, others are general sites where anyone can crowdfund or raise money.



Class Wish




Computers for Learning


Computer Recycling Center




Digital Wish


Donors Choose






Funding Factory














Gwen Solomon was Founding Director of The School of the Future in New York City, Coordinator of Instructional Technology Planning for New York City Public Schools, and Senior Analyst in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Instructional Technology. She has written and co-authored several books and many magazine articles on educational technology.