How to Write an Impactful Grant Proposal | Guide & Samples

Grant Application Template

Writing a convincing grant proposal can be a daunting task, especially since grant funding is highly competitive.  This makes it critical for an applicant to build and hone their grant writing skills. Honing these skills will help the applicant secure much-needed funding for their project or idea.

Complete the Ground Work

Applicants must ensure they take specific measures to write a good grant proposal. The steps they take before writing the grant proposal play a crucial role in creating a winning draft. 

Applicants should consider taking the following measures before writing their grant proposal:

Check your eligibility

Before writing a proposal, applicants must ensure that they are eligible for the grant. Applicants can affirm their eligibility by going through the criteria set by the grant program. Information on the eligibility criteria of an applicant is often posted on the grant program website, making it easy to conduct a quick search online.

Gather all the necessary information

Applicants must then gather the necessary information on grant funding guidelines, requirements, and application forms. This will ensure that they follow the necessary process or procedure laid out by the grant program.

Give yourself plenty of time

There are several steps involved in writing and submitting a good proposal. Therefore, an applicant must not underestimate the length of time they will put together a winning grant proposal. The applicant should take their time ahead of the deadline for submission of the proposal.

The applicant should also consider other timings that matter, such as the time it will take for the grant to be approved by the appropriate and authorized organizational approver. The deadline is also crucial for the applicant because the grant proposal must be submitted by the closing date.

Make it easy to read and understand

A good grant proposal is easy to read and understand. An applicant can ensure this by considering their audience, providing adequate details and information on the background, rationale, and supporting evidence of the idea/project, etc. Ensuring ease in reading and understanding the grant proposal can help in compelling a swift approval.

The following are different ways to make a grant proposal easy to read and understand:

  • Be specific with the title, headings, and subheadings. The title should be indicative of the type of project and its relevance.
  • Use proper English and avoid using technical jargon. Abbreviations and acronyms should be used selectively and minimally, where used, ensure they are defined at the end of the proposal. Always review for spelling and grammar.
  • Give sufficient details in regard to what is being proposed. Let it be clear what is being proposed and how it will be carried out.
  • Request for costs directly linked to the proposal. Be objective and confirm which research costs can and cannot be requested.
  • Use figures and diagrams where necessary to add substance to the proposal.
  • Use the appropriate format of referencing. Use a consistent format.

Make sure to have a competitive proposal 

The applicant should ensure that they draft a competitive grant proposal. This is because several grant proposals are submitted to grant programs, and reviewers/assurors of the grant are only likely to consider those that stand out to them.

An applicant can ensure to draft a competitive grant by using the following criteria:

  • Quality/importance of research questions: The applicant should form a grant proposal that can generate a significant impact in the field. The impact of the research questions posed by the applicant should be linked to their field to make sure that they understand the kind of shift generated by the idea or project.
  • Feasibility: The practicality of the idea or project should be depicted in the grant proposal. This will show that the applicant has considered the viability of what they are proposing to the grant program. It will also show that the applicant has considered the potential risks and has realistic mitigations.
  • Innovation: The grant proposal should show innovation by illustrating how the applicant develops and examines their new concepts, technologies, or methods. The applicant can also demonstrate innovation in the application by finding a new approach to existing ideas with relevant and measurable potential.
  • Knowledge: The applicant should show their in-depth knowledge of the idea/project. This will show that they are competent in the area the grant proposal focuses on, therefore building trust and confidence in the applicant’s abilities.
  • Location/collaborators: The grant proposal should contain information on whether it is a collaborative proposal. If it is collaborative, the applicant must explain why it is paramount to the idea or project. For example, the applicant should state a location they believe is paramount to the idea or project and explain why it is crucial.
  • Institutional support: The applicant must ensure the grant proposal contains any institutional support that will be relevant to the project. The relevance of the institutional support should be clearly stated to ensure the organization understands why it is vital.

Pre Writing Considerations

A grant proposal should be effective in convincing a grant program to fund an idea or project. It is an applicant’s responsibility to draft a winning grant proposal.

The following guide can help the applicant stick to the key points when writing a grant proposal:

Prepare your proposal

The applicant should start by preparing their grant proposal. The grant program’s vital documentation should be gathered, and instructions on it should be reviewed. This will ensure that the applicant is well prepared to start the writing process and can submit the proposal by the close date.

Project cost

The primary aim of writing a grant proposal is to secure funding for a project or idea. The second major step that the applicant should make is to investigate and come up with an estimated cost for the idea or project. The applicant should avoid inflated costs or estimates and ensure that they find quotes for all the components of the grant project.

Other funding sources

The applicant should also consider finding other funding sources interested in financing the idea or project separate from the grant program. This information should be included in the grant proposal to ensure that the grant program knows that other funding sources are involved or interested in financing the idea or project.

Other funding sources may include local councils, other government departments, local businesses, volunteers, etc. The funding sources the applicant finds will depend on the field the project or idea is based.

Formulating a study question/hypothesis

A study question/hypothesis must then be formulated as it is the center of the grant proposal. A well-formulated grant hypothesis helps distinguish the applicant from others and is often used by reviewers to accept or decline the proposal. The applicant can boldly highlight the hypothesis statement to emphasize it.

Review the grant instructions

The applicant should review the grant instructions laid out by the grant program as they prepare to start writing the grant proposal. The review will ensure that the applicant is well aware of the details included in the grant proposal.

The applicant must keep in mind instructions on the following areas:

  • Formatting: Formatting instructions will indicate the basic page set that the applicant must use when writing the grant proposal. In addition, information on the page’s limits, font size, font type, and page margin is provided. This helps ensure that the grant application meets the essential requirement of the grant program even at face value.
  • Due date: The due date is a vital instruction that the applicant should always have in mind throughout the preparation and drafting of the grant proposal. The applicant can mark it on their calendar or set an automated notification on their mobile device to ensure that they always have a reminder of it nearby. Through careful and well throughout the planning, an applicant will ensure that the grant proposal is submitted on time.

Project’s outcome

The grant proposal should indicate what outcomes the applicant expects the project to yield and when it should be expected. The possible project outcomes stated by the applicant should be of considerable value to the grant program.

Who will benefit from the project

The applicant should state the beneficiaries of the project /idea proposed in the grant proposal. This will enable the applicant to prove that they have a target group in mind. Therefore, the grant will be benefiting the community.

Match the aims of the grant program

The applicant should ensure that the project matches the aims of the grant program. This will ensure that the work carried out to execute the project will align with the goal set up for that grant program.

Components of a Grant Proposal

The grant proposal must contain a clear, well-structured proposal. In addition, the grant proposal should provide a brief background to help the applicant provide some context of the idea/project to the assessor of a grant program. It will also help persuade the grant program of the rationality of the idea/project.

The information contained in the grant proposal will help persuade a grant program to consider funding an applicant’s project/idea.

It is therefore critical that applicants ensure that the grant proposal contains the following components:

Specific aims

The applicant should write the specific aims of the proposal drafting a grant proposal.  The aims should be clearly described to ensure that an assessor can quickly grasp them. In addition, well-written aims show that the applicant is focused and knowledgeable in the idea or project.


A knowledgeable applicant should clearly state and demonstrate the significance of the idea/project proposed in the grant proposal. Assessors of the grant proposal consider significance among the top five criteria that must be met. Therefore, the applicant must link gaps in the proposed field to the project /idea to establish relevance.


If the applicant is a young investigator applying for a mentored grant, the references of the work they have performed should be mentioned to boost their credibility. In addition, the use of statements that demonstrate an applicant’s contribution can help illustrate that they have had some experience in the field.


The applicant should ensure that the grant proposal focus on scientific novelty and methodological innovations. Highlighting new and novel technologies can help the grant applicants justify the need for the proposed idea/project.


A section on the applicant’s approach to obtaining results should be written in the grant proposal. This will help show that the applicant is skilled and capable of generating the idea/proposal results.


Information explaining how the applicant will identify or facilitate an environment that will enable them to conduct research and experimentation should also be included in the grant proposal. This will help show that the applicant has considered all aspects of how the grant will be spent.

Information Included in Project Plan

An applicant should state and explain the project plan in the grant proposal. This will help show that the applicant is well organized.

The project plan written in the grant proposal should contain information on the following:

Description of the project

A clear, detailed description of the project should help the assessor understand what it is and what benefits it provides to people. This will enable the applicant to demonstrate the necessity of the project.

How the project will be undertaken

An explanation of how the project will be undertaken should be provided. This will show that the applicant has already thought of a method of executing the project. The applicant should keep the explanation of the execution of the project realistic to avoid seeming impractical.


A budget outlining the cost of the project should be outlined in the grant proposal. This will help the applicant account for the grant they are requesting from the grant program.  It will also help prove that the amount the applicant is requesting is necessary for their project.

Timeline of the project

The applicant should provide a realistic timeline for setting up the project, executing it, and registering an outcome.  The timeline the applicant provides will depend on the size and magnitude of the project.

Evaluative measure

The applicant should provide a precise, simple evaluation measure to check the project’s success. This will help the applicant show that they can monitor the progress and success of the project/idea. 

Proofread your proposal

Once the proposal is complete, the applicant should proofread to ensure no technical errors in the grant proposal. The applicant can also ensure that the concluded grant proposal meets the instruction they reviewed before writing.

Grant Proposal Samples

Following are the free samples that can help you with your grant proposal that can be customized as per need:


    A grant proposal is a document written to a grant program/organization to request funding for an idea/project. A grant proposal is used to persuade a grant program to finance an applicant’s idea /project. It is, therefore, important that it shows a clear understanding of a need that must be met in the community.

    An applicant should prepare certain essentials before writing a grant proposal to ensure it is competitive and stands out from others. This will also help them gather the necessary information to be included in the grant proposal. When writing does commence, the applicant should ensure that the necessary components are included in the grant proposal to ensure that it is effective in securing funds.

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