Writing Grant Proposals

What Makes a Good Proposal in "Real People" Language

Learn How to Write Proposals

Free Online Training
Proposal Writing Basics
Proposal Budgeting Basics
Problem statement/Needs assessment
  • What is the specific problem in your community?
  • How do you know it is a problem?
  • What needs to be done about the problem?
  • What specific changes or outcomes do you intend to achieve in your community as a result of your project?
  • How do you know it is the right thing to do?
Credibility/Applicant Background
  • Why is your organization the right organization to do it?
Methods/Steps/Action Plan/Program Design & Implementation
  • What specific things will you do?
  • To whom, for whom, and with whom will you do it?
  • How many times, how often and in what time frame will you do it?
  • Who else has a vested interest in working with you as partners on this problem?
Budget/Future Funding
  • What will it cost?
  • How will all the costs be covered?
  • How will you fund it after the grant has been spent?
  • Evaluation How will you know your solution is working, and that you are doing the right thing?
  • What tools or data will you use to decide whether your project succeeded?
Funder Fit
  • Why is this a good fit for the _______________ Foundation?

Adapted from "What Makes a Good Proposal in "Real People Language" by Dimitra Tasiouras, Grassroots Fundraising Journal, December 2000, pp. 10-12, and Marilyn Boess, Grantsmanship Institute, UA Extended University.

Return to top

Web Resources on Proposal Writing

Foundation Center: Proposal Writing Short Course
Start here to learn about writing grant proposals.
Foundation Center's Free Webinar
Proposal Writing Basics.
The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing - Audio Book
Listen to the free audio book.
Just Grants! Arizona Planning Worksheets
At their website, Just Grants! Arizona provides worksheets to help you organize your funding research and planning.
Foundation Center: Common Grant Applications
From the National Network of Grantmakers and other locations. The common grant application format has been adopted by groups of grantmakers to allow grant applicants to produce a single proposal for a specific community of funders, thereby saving time.
Foundation Center: Examples of completed grant proposals
"Already-written proposals" are usually difficult to find, via print or the Internet, because they are typically very specific to the organization requesting funding as well as to the donor's mission, and they work only within that context. However, there are some resources you can review and adapt to your organization's own situation.
Volunteer Time Monetary Value
The Independent Sector estimates the monetary value of volunteer time. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.
Proposal Writing: Selected Web Sites
Categories of web sites include Funding Agency Manuals/Guides, General Manuals/Guides, Consultants, Workshops, Bibliographies, and Writing Aids.
Nonprofit Guides
Instructions and examples of letter of inquiry, proposals, cover letters, budget, Request for Proposal.
Arizona Common Grant Application
Developed by a committee of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum to facilitate the application process within Arizona. The goal of this application is to make grantseeking easier by enabling an organization to create one master proposal that can be customized for multiple grantmakers.
The federal government's single source for applying for federal grants online. Includes the grant application package.

Return to top

Useful Statistics for Proposal Writing

Arizona Community Action Association Census 2010 Poverty Database for Arizona
The Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) created this online poverty database as an easy-to-use tool for community planning, grant-writing, needs assessments and public policy deliberations.
Southern Arizona Indicators
Provides high quality, community driven, objective data that can be the basis to evaluate and collaborate on a variety of community issues.
Arizona Education Statistics
Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse
The Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse provides Information about crime and justice statistics.
Crime Statistics in Tucson Neighborhoods
Immigration Statistics

Return to top

Suggested Books

Browse the following subject headings for books.

Return to top

Pima County Website