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Proposal Planning and Writing

Grantwriting - Online Tutorials
Planning and Writing Resources
Tips and Strategies


Planning and writing can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have enough time. So the best way to prepare is make sure you are giving yourself enough time to write the proposal (at least 6 weeks – 1 month for a 20 page proposal). How do you do that?

  1. Read the previous year’s Request for Applications (RFA). Although most agencies do not release RFA’s until 1-2 months before applications are due, you can always look up the previous year’s application for reference. Most RFA’s do not change too much from year to year and sending a quick email to a Program Officer will easily answer any questions about upcoming changes. Reading an RFA ahead of time will give you time to plan and develop your project long before you have to start writing.

  2. Talk to the Grant Development Office early in the process. We can help get sample proposals, talk to Program Officers, help develop your idea, write/edit text, assist with budgeting, facilitate the internal grant approval process, provide valuable resources like sample text and much more! See Chabot Grants Process webpage for further detail.

  3. Start planning and developing your project well before the application is due. This is especially true with grants that ask for collaborations and partnerships. Getting together your partners ahead of time and detailing their commitments will save you a lot of time and effort when it comes time to write the proposal.

  4. When writing your application, complete the budget early. Although there are competing schools of thought on this tip, I find it very useful to come up with, at least, a draft budget very early in the writing process (I often draft the budget as I am writing the Needs Statement). The budget provides clarity and focus as you write your project description since your description should justify and describe the all of the activities that the funds will support!

  5. Continuously build, develop, expand, and/or refine current projects. If you see a funding opportunity that may not seem feasible now but might be possible with a little extra planning or additional elements, take some preliminary steps to build those pieces into your program. Not all grants are created equally. Some fund projects that are fairly simple and straightforward and there are others that fund more complex projects (e.g., regional collaborations, partnerships with K-12 schools and/or 4-year institutions, projects that will have regional/national impact, long-range projects with many phases of development, etc…).

Hopefully, with these tips, the information in the links below, and support from the Grant Development Office, proposal writing and planning will be a little more approachable!

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    Phone: (510) 723-6600 | Last updated on 4/25/2013