In a grant seeking environment of ever-increasing competition, it is imperative to provide a proposal that provides the clearest, yet most energized proposal that will excite the reader and make them want to financially support the program.
The following are what I consider to be the 8 qualities that describe excellent proposals regardless of the program focus:
1. Energy – The proposal shines with enthusiasm and passion.
2. Expertise – The statement of need reflects a deep understanding of the problem being addressed and the plan and theory of the program is contrasted with expertise from the field.
3. Commitment – The proposal reflects the organization’s genuine priorities rather than simply explaining one of the many programs it is currently juggling.
4. Clarity – The goals and objectives for the project are measurable and the evaluation plan for the project is clear and outcome-based.
5. Collaboration – The organization has formed collaborative and cooperative relationships as appropriate in order to advance their mutual goals.
6. Benefits – The proposal expresses a plan to fill a need for the target population rather than just underwriting the organization’s own needs.
7. Comprehensiveness – The complexity of the program is matched by the sophistication of the proposed solution.
8. Effectiveness – A well-designed, outcome-based evaluation is designed into the project to measure the success of meeting the project’s goals and objectives.
While these qualities are subjective in nature, they are qualities that you should strive for in all of your excellent grant proposals. One of the best ways to display these qualities in your grant proposals is to develop a review team as part of your grant team’s responsibilities to keep you from writing in a vacuum (download our free mock review score guide). One of our team’s recommendations is to include someone in your review who is not intimately familiar with the proposed program so that acronyms and program “lingo” do not infiltrate the proposal or confuse readers.
Which of these 8 qualities of excellent grant proposals do you struggle with? Which of the 8 qualities do you feel is your strength? We’d love to hear in the comments below.