Receiving a grant usually begins with good research. Each funding agency decides to which types of organizations they wish to give grants, and for which types of projects. They usually publish this information in their funding guidelines. Many grant program officers advise applicants, "your success begins with your careful reading of the guidelines." Faculty and staff can research for potential funders by using databases found on the Grant Research Resources page. External Grants staff can assist you with this research.
Once you've decided to which funder you will apply, contact the grants staff. Grants staff review the grant program guidelines and provide a summary to Academic Affairs of key points, including any institutional obligations that are required as a condition of receiving a grant. Upon approval from Academic Affairs, you have the green light to proceed. Grants staff assist and advise along the way. When your proposal narrative (the main body of the proposal) and the project budget is nearly complete, grants staff circulate those documents to the Business Office and Academic Affairs for their review and approval. Upon approval from both the Business Office and Academic Affairs, we work with you to submit your proposal, whether it is through paper or electronic means. Then we wait. Sometimes it's a long wait. Notification can take from a few weeks to six months or longer.
Helping Faculty Differentiate Between the Good and the Fundable: This article from NCURA magazine (December 2014) can help grant seekers in the humanities, social sciences, and education understand how grant makers think — how they separate proposals into the small pile to be funded and the larger pile to be declined.
The funding agency notifies applicants of their funding decision by electronic or paper means, sometimes to our office, sometimes to you as the faculty or staff member serving as project director, or sometimes to the president's office. If the answer is "YES", celebrate! Read the reviewer comments, grant contract and terms carefully. Note the conditions and report due dates. The Grants Office and Business Office staff will meet with you to explain and advise on post-award administration of your grant. If your proposal is declined, do not give in to discouragement. Many times a grant seeker is successful on their second or third attempt. If the funder makes reviewer comments available, carefully read them for insights into how you can improve your proposal. We'll be happy to work with you on your next proposal.