Office of Research

Erika Zynda, Contracts & Grants Coordinator
Administration 248A
(574) 520-4181 | FAX: (574) 520-5549

Grant Writing Workshop

The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli

Accentuate the positive.
The successful grantee must stand out from the competition. A little time spent developing a list of your organization's special qualities or uniqueness will go a long way toward convincing a grantor that yours is the right organization to fund.

Consider you staff, location, buildings, and special areas of interest. Use this information to support your proposal, showing that the project supports your organization's stated purpose and mission.

  1. How and why your organization got started
  2. What your organization is doing today
  3. Where your organization is going in the future
Call First, Last, and Always
The importance of pre-proposal contact with your agency can not be overemphasized. Questions to ask a funding source:
  1. Do you agree that the need addressed by our project is important?
  2. Your average award in this area last year to an organization like ours was $_____. Do you expect that to change?
  3. Will last year's grantees compete with new grantees, or have their funds been set aside? If their funds have been set aside, how much is left for new awards?
  4. Are the any unannounced program or unsolicited proposal funds in your agency to support an important project like ours.
  5. The required matching portion is ____ percent. Would it improve our chances for funding if we provided a greater portion that this?
  6. If no match is required, would it help our proposal if we volunteered to cost share?
  7. What is the most common mistake or flaw in the proposals you receive?
  8. Are there any areas you would like to see addressed in a proposal that may have been overlooked by other grantees or applicants?
  9. Would you review or critique our proposal if we got it to you early?
  10. Would you recommend a previously funded proposal for us to read for format and style?
  11. Is it OK to use tabs or dividers in my proposal?

Submit your proposal early!!
Enhance the image your reliability and ability to get things done in a timely manner.

Agency will be able to notify you if anything is missing.

Elements of Well-written Proposals

  • Avoid these common mistakes
    • long sentences
    • passice voice
    • weak verbs
    • unnecessary words
    • unsubstantial claims
    • technical jargon
    • complex design and layout
    • print that is too small
    • small margins
  • Use simple document design
    • document type-size should be no less than 12-point
    • heading and sub-headings help break up text and organize your document, but don't overuse them
    • graphics (such as bullet points) can help draw attention to important points, but don't overuse them
    • use standard 1" margins
  • Avoid worn-out words
    • convene
    • paradigm
    • stategic
    • initiative
    • proactive
    • innovative
    • disenfranchised
    • community
    • grassroots
    • public scrutiny
    • diversity
    • inclusiveness
    • unique
    • empower
    • excellence
    • ground-breaking
    • at-risk
    • programmatic
  • Project Titles should be descriptive and concise. Avoid jargon, cute acronyms, or humor.
  • Write, re-write, then ask others for comments