Succeeding with Government Grants
Government grants are highly competitive and it can take several rounds of applying to win grant funding. Grantors require applicants to follow certain formats and answer specific questions. The closer you follow the guidelines, the more points you can score during the funder's review process. Our office is committed to helping you craft a high quality grant application. Here are some tips to help you succeed with your grant:
1) Early in your process schedule a phone interview with your program manager (PM). Your goal is to interview your PM to find out his or her needs, problems, and interests. The goal is not to sell your idea. Consider asking:
a) What are your PM's goals for their program?
b) What types of proposals/research are missing from their program?
c) What are the two most common reasons for proposals failing?
2) Craft your proposal to address your PM's needs as much as possible.
3) Study the grant requirements carefully so that you understand them. Create an outline. Create a checklist for the required documents. Get your letters of support or collaboration early, not last.
4) Create a timeline (Gantt charts are nice, but so is paper and pen). Start at the due date and work backward. Do you have enough time to prepare a quality proposal?
a) Allow several days at the end for us to review your proposal and to work with you to edit it. Frequently, last minute problems arise. If there is not time to address them before submission, your grant may not be submitted on time. Plan to be easily accessible during this time in case problems arise. (Do not hand in a proposal and leave on vacation!!)
b) Schedule adequate time for editing.
c) Schedule adequate time for creating the budget. Begin the budget process early.
d) Schedule adequate time for acquiring supporting documents and the required signatures.
e) Pad your schedule since logistics always take longer than expected. The people you need to talk with may be gone at the last minute.
5) Adhere to formatting requirements and page limits. One inch margins and font sizes are important to note. Take time to create an easy-to-read layout.
6) Avoid jargon when you write. Not all of your reviewers will be technical experts in your area.
Resources for writing a quality grant:
- NSF has created a powerpoint presentation on how to create a fundable grant.
- FIE proposal strengths and weaknesses powerpoint.
- NSF broader impacts review criteria.
- NIH grant writing information