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Tips for Writing Successful Proposals

Basic ideas to help in the preparation of a proposal include the following:


1. Match the proposal to the specifications of the grant sought.  

DO make certain idea fits the grant building on standards and Principles to Actions. State goals and objectives clearly. A goal is a broad statement about what you hope to accomplish and is usually not measurable while an objective is a measurable statement about what you will do.

DON’T be unrealistic by aiming for “pie in the sky.”


2. Delineate your plan with utmost care.  

DO be specific about what is to be done and when it happens. A timeline gives life to a proposal. Write clearly and succinctly demonstrating alignment of activities to goals, objectives, and grant requirements.

DON’T expect proposal readers to guess what is going to be done; tell them the plan. Be very clear about intent.


3. Observe technical guidelines.  

DO read directions on the Request for Proposals carefully and include everything mentioned in the order of the proposal guidelines. Have a budget with estimates about costs and the time needed to complete the project.

DON’T exceed the page limit, font size, or budget limits. Don’t be unrealistic about budget or resources required.


4. Emphasize the benefits.  

DO show how benefits participants. If student participation is required, focus on student learning.

DON’T philosophize in the proposal; show a direct need for the work and have a creative solution for problems.


5. Describe possible long-term implications.  

DO an evaluation plan that measures all objectives. Describe how assessment information will be collected, used, and reported. 

DON’T over generalize implications or promise more than can be delivered.


6. Enlist the support of your principal, supervisor, and colleagues.  

DO have recommending letters indicate strong support and commitment to the project. Provide writers a proposal copy for their understanding of details and requirements in the project.

DO have someone not connected with the project read the proposal and requirements to check whether guidelines are met, the proposal is sensible, the thinking is clear, and there are no errors.



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