Smart Grant Writing: Certification/Re-Certification
Competencies for Grant Writing Certification
To complete a full-length, fundable grant proposal that includes the following elements:
Element 1: Abstract or Executive Summary
Include the following unless otherwise specified in the grant application materials:
- Briefly describes the problem your proposal will address.
- Presents the solution offered in the proposal.
- Lists the outcomes, or measurable changes that are expected to result from the project.
- Provides information about the applicant organization’s capacity to carry out the project.
- Mentions key collaborative partners.
- States the amount of grant funds requested.
Element 2: Statement of Need
- Provides evidence (including numerical data) that a problem exists in a community to be served.
- Focuses on a need or problem that the proposed project can reasonably address.
- Defines a specific target population within the community to be served.
- Explains why the problem is important to address.
- Describes the problem in terms of the population’s needs, rather than the needs of the applicant organization.
- Cites sources of supporting information and data presented.
- Includes data required by the funding source (if any) to be eligible to receive the grant funding.
- Presents reasoning as to why the problem should be addressed in the community to be served as opposed to other communities with the same problem(s).
- Avoids circular reasoning.
- Briefly introduces the proposed solution to the problem, aligned with the purpose for the grant funding.
Element 3: Project Design
- Includes a set of project goals that address the problems outlined in the statement of need and that are aligned with the purposes of the grant funding.
- Presents measurable benefits to the funder. This is a set of SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) objectives that offer multiple measures of success for each goal.
- Writes goals and objectives that reflect all priorities or required measures (if any) in the grant application.
- Describes a set of activities or methods to support each project goal.
- Provides a rationale for the selection of each activity or method, citing research when required.
- Tells who will benefit from each activity or service provided by the project.
- Tells how many people will benefit from each activity or service, and from the project in general.
- Tells who will be responsible for providing each service provided by the project.
- Constructs a timeline of project activities or tells when each activity will begin and/or be completed by. (Persons responsible may appear as column on timeline).
Element 4: Management and Staffing Plan
- Describes the applicant organization’s mission, history, and track record of success relevant to the proposed project.
- Explains how the current project fits into the current structure of the applicant organization (include an organizational chart if necessary).
- Describes the roles and qualifications of each key personnel who will be employed in the project, including the project director (when applicable).
- Includes the time commitments of key staff in the project.
- Describes the background and contributions of collaborative partners (if any) that will participate in the project.
- If required by the grant application, describes how the project will be sustained or how the benefits of the project will continue beyond the funding period.
- If required by the grant application, tells how the project will be replicated in other settings or how information learned through the project will be disseminated.
Element 5: Evaluation Plan
- Defines exactly how success will be measured in terms of specific performance measures or expected outcomes aligned with the project’s objectives.
- Includes strategies to measure both the processes and expected outcomes of the project (formative and summative evaluation).
- Includes multiple measures of success for each goal, using both qualitative and quantitative data.
- Tells how data will be collected and who is responsible.
- Describes any evaluation instruments (such as surveys or assessments) that will be used.
- Tells how data will be analyzed.
- Tells who will be responsible for conducting the evaluation.
- Describes the background and expertise of the evaluator.
- Tells how often, in what forms, and to whom evaluation results will be reported.
- Tells how periodic evaluation results will be used for improvement of the project (for multi-year projects).
Element 6: Budget and Budget Narrative
- Includes only budget items that are allowable expenses.
- Includes only budget items that directly relate to the proposal.
- Categorizes each item within proper budget categories (salaries, fringe benefits, contractual, facilities, equipment, supplies, travel, etc.)
- Provides details about how each expense were calculated.
- Includes specific amounts, rather than rounded estimations.
- Accounts for all requested funds (does not include a miscellaneous category).
- Includes a calculation for indirect costs within the guidelines of the grant application (if applicable).
- Includes an itemization of matching funds (if required).
- Begins by giving the reader an overview or quick summary of the project (the who, what, when, why, and where), before answering the first question in the grant application materials.
- Responds to questions in the order they appear in the grant application.
- Stays within page limitations.
- Keeps the length of each section of narrative proportionate to the number of points it is worth in the scoring rubric.
- Breaks up the narrative with charts, illustrations, bullet points, bold type, and/or italics to emphasize key points.
- Puts any required elements in bold to make them stand out in the narrative.
- Avoids the use of unexplained industry-specific jargon or acronyms.
- Written in the active rather than passive voice.
- Written concisely and to the point.
- Prioritizes clarity over the use of literary devices or flowery language.
- Adheres to all formatting requirements.
Includes all required supporting documents in the correct order (specified in the grant application materials):
- Cover page
- Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs)
- Letters of support
- Signature pages
- Bibliography or works cited
- Logic model