Proposal Toolkit


Section 1: General Information

Experts may name proposal sections differently. Some of the sections following at times may be collapsed into one section, at other times stand separately. In any case, follow the directions of the funding agency carefully relating to what to include and how to organize the information.

Following are typical sections with various names used for each:

  • Cover Letter
  • Abstract/Executive Summary
  • Table of Contents
  • Narrative
    • Introduction/Background on the Institution
    • Statement of Need/Problem Statement
  • Project Description
    • Goals and Objectives
    • Methods
    • Staffing/Administration
    • Evaluation
    • Sustainability/Continuation Plan
    • Budget & Budget Justification
    • Support/Commitment Letters

Check-off Sheet
If the funding agency provides a check-off sheet, use it to make sure all documents are present and assembled in the order requested.

Frequently the funding agency will specify the allowable number of pages, size of font, spacing, margin size, how to assemble the final proposal, number of copies, even the color of ink to use in signing the documents. Follow all directions carefully. Proposals have been excluded from the review process for something as simple as signing documents in the wrong color ink or exceeding the page limit.

Many proposals today are submitted online. If the proposal must be mailed, make sure you have the correct mailing address. Separate addresses are included occasionally depending on whether the proposal is to be mailed or hand delivered. Double check the spelling of the name of the program officer or other designated recipient. Be sure you know all your options to get your proposal to the funding agency on time. Allow for last minute, unexpected delays.  Deadlines are firm. Proposals received after the deadline are excluded from consideration.

Always remember that you are writing for the reviewers.  If your proposal doesn't cause the reviewer to give maximum points for each section, chances are your project will not be funded.

Next: Cover Letters >>