Grant Tip #46: Appendices by Gary Carnow

The grant request for proposal (RFP) will specify whether or not you may include an appendix with your grant submission. Most appendices are not considered part of the page count allowed in a proposal and are usually not part of the scoring criteria. Grant readers may choose not to read the appendix, unless it is a required and integral part of the RFP. Use the RFP as your guiding source. If the RFP specifically states no attachments, skip the appendix. Avoid the inclusion of videotapes, DVDs and other not-asked for support material.

I suggest that you error on the side of too little. 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. As part of your writing and revision process, it is often hard to let go of portions of your text. As you edit and revise, don’t place this material into an appendix. The appendix should not be used to get around any page limitations stated in the RFP.

Typically, when allowed, an appendix will expand upon and provide back up to your proposal. Much of what might be included are the documents that are too detailed and will interrupt the flow of your proposal. The back-up is provided if the reader chooses to clarify or delve further into your plan. When allowed, I do like to look at an appendix as a way to demonstrate and expand upon information that will not fit inside of the proposal’s page limit. For example, let’s say you are suggesting an advisory group to guide your grant implementation. You may wish to provide the names, titles and brief resumes of those who will be assisting your project.

In general, the appendix might include: resumes of key personnel that will implement the grant; endorsements and letters of support; verifications; assurances; and diagrams or illustrations. It is not uncommon to supply documentation of your non-profit status. Some proposals will ask for you a list of collaborating partners.

Foundation proposals may not have a formal RFP. Instead, the foundation may ask for you to follow a common application format. Call for clarification if you are unsure. Most common application formats have a place for attachments. Place the attachments in the order requested.

I have written proposals where the appendix was required and the RFP specified the contents. Some RFPs have required a list of resources consulted in the preparation of the proposal. Other grants have asked for work plans and schedules for implementation. In some cases, letters of support made up the additional materials. It is fairly common to have letters of support from elected officials for governmental grants. It is rare to have these kind of letters in a foundation application.

Any material that I include in the appendix, I precede with a brief description or opening paragraph. For example, if I am including key personnel, I usually include an introductory paragraph that describes what the personnel will do and follow with a short paragraph summary of the qualifications of the directors and other key implementers. If asked for a resume, I limit the length to less than one page for each individual.

If an appendix is allowed and that is place where attachments or tables are placed, be sure to cross-reference all of the appendix material in the body of the proposal.

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 back-up the text of your application. For example, your grant proposal may include a specific set of data collection instruments. Your surveys, questionnaires, instruments and consent documents (if required) may make up your appendix.

Most grant submissions today are done electronically, so if your proposal does have an appendix, you more than likely will submit the appendix in a portable document format (.pdf). It is also not uncommon to submit a CD with the contents of your proposal via U.S. Mail or by a delivery service. Make sure you are familiar with creating a .pdf document and spend some time practicing prior to the grant deadline.