Grant Writing 101

For graduate school I was asked to write a fake grant proposal as if I were going to apply for one. I struggled with the assignment, did anything except it, and tried to hide from the deadline. Any time any one ever mentions grant writing it is nearly always followed by “Ugh my life” so I was afraid of it as well–untill now.


I’m not saying I am in any means an expert–I mean I wrote this for a class and not an actual foundation. However the hardest part of writing anything is getting over the initial fear of starting. After years of working for, around, and in the publishing world I know that just getting a product on page is the worst part of any project.

Oh way?!

Pictured: Existential Horror

To get started I read about twenty different grants. Each one was a snoozer. I think it was hard to read because they were all pushing page counts. They did not make a clear argument for what the money was for or why it was important and they were still awarded funds.

So I hit as many tip sites I could find. Besides offering the usual writing advise one thing stuck out over and over–be authentic and straight forward. One site mentioned writing a grant like a letter to a friend, with sources, and a clear mission you need their help to complete. I feel like this was the advice that finally got me out of the writing slump and into the meat of my project.

I started by fiddling around with the document itself (of course) and made a separate page for each section the foundation listed that they wanted. That way even if there was not much written on a page I would know at a glance I had something there.

The next step was to basically write a letter to the foundation I was fake applying to and tell them why I needed the cash. I tried to keep it loose and personal while staying professional. This part went the quickist. It fell into the Opening Introduction+Supporting Paragraphs+Conclusion=Done formula of email/essay writing.

After that I filled in each additional page with just the information that section needed. The sections were; History of USAO, Project Description, Research, Development, Cost, Daily Operations, Need for Support, Operations, Time Period, Budget, Key Staff, Financial Statements, Conclusion, and Works Cited. After I wrote in what was necessary I formatted the sections as were desired by the foundation. I choose one to be who I was fake applying to so that I’d have a format to adhere to.

Lastly I made sure to add in graphs, tables, and images where I could to break up the boring sections as much as possible. Then I crammed it altogether to meet the guidelines and be more compact. It isn’t pretty–BUT it’s mine. I shall call this grant proposal Squishy and it shall be mine and it shall be my Squishy.


Any who… Here is a redacted copy of the proposal. It is rough around the edges and needs more editing but it shows the basic idea of what a proposal looks like. This one cleared an ‘A’ so I think it is at least on the right track. I hope this helps and that your proposals go well in the future.

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