The successful grant seeker then must communicate that great idea in a thoughtful, clear way, and demonstrate thorough planning for execution of the idea. Success in grant seeking requires both "in-the-box" and "out-of-the-box" thinking. "In-the-box" in that you must follow the funder's guidelines (deviate at your peril); "out-of-the-box" in that funders like to see creative solutions to vexing problems.
*Adapted from 5 Simple Ways to Make Foundation Staff Feel Better About Your Proposal by Deborah Koch
Murder Most Foul: How Not to Kill a Grant Application The first part in a six-part series published by Science magazine focuses on the importance of the proposal title.
Abstract Killers: How Not to Kill a Grant Application The second part in a six-part series published by Science magazine focuses on the importance of the abstract.
So What? How Not to Kill a Grant Application The third in a six-part series published by Science magazine focuses on strategies to avoid the deadly "so what?" response in your proposal reviewers.
Lost at Sea: How Not to Kill a Grant Application The fourth in a six-part series published by Science magazine focuses on the super-importance of clarity, clarity, clarity.
How Not to Kill a Grant Application: Facts of the Case Thus Far The fifth in a six-part series published by Science magazine summarizes the points made in the first four installments.
How Not to Kill a Grant Application: Developing Your Research Plan The sixth in a six-part series published by Science magazine focuses on developing a description of exactly what you plan to do with a grant, should one be awarded.
On the Art of Writing Proposals This nine-page article from Social Science Research Council, directed to applicants for SSRC grants, provides excellent general proposal advice applicable across many academic disciplines and funding agencies.
Writing a Successful Grant Proposal This six-page article from the Minnesota Council of Foundation provides good general proposal preparation guidance.
Foundation Center's Proposal Writing Short Course A short course applicable especially to grant applicants to foundations (less so for applicants to government funding agencies).
National Science Foundation's Guide for Proposal Writing This guide contains the advice NSF program officers give in answer to the question, "what makes a good proposal?"
Noted steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919) observed, "It is more difficult to give money away intelligently than it is to earn it in the first place."
Today, funding organizations attempt to "give money away intelligently" through an application process which is usually published on the funding organization's website. Funding organizations may publish general instruction for all the funding organization's programs, and/or application information that is specific to only one program. While this application instruction is often referred to as the program guidelines, grantseekers would do well to mentally replace the word guidelines with rules, since they are usually not mere suggestions.