Proposal Tip Sheet

  1. Use plain language and convey key information
    When talking about your work, don’t assume we know what you do, who you are, or what communities you serve. Answer each question fully in plain language. Provide examples if appropriate, and avoid jargon and acronyms if at all possible. After you answer the question, ignore the temptation of filling the remaining character spaces with information unrelated to the question.
  2. Write clearly and concisely, but don’t sacrifice meaning
    If your friends or neighbors can’t understand what your organization does or what your proposal is about, we probably won’t either.
  3. Connect your work to your mission
    For your proposal to be competitive, you’ll want to make a strong connection between your programs and services and your mission.
  4. Answer the question asked
    Often we receive proposals that have a narrative that does not even address the question asked. For example, let’s look at this question, Provide your Business Plan, you should simply provide us with your business plan. It is not necessary to add any further information. If you are unsure what the question is asking then give us a call. For example, if you do not know what your business plan is, call us so we can discuss it with you. Do not be bashful, we are here to help.
  5. Run a spell check
    We do not change what you have written in your proposal, including spelling errors. Most of the time our website underlines misspelled words. We recommend having a friend read over your proposal.
  6. Ensure that your numbers add up
    When entering individual numbers in the Financial Information section of the proposal, make sure that your numbers add up. The numbers for the Annual Gifts and Grants total should come from your audited financials. The audited number should tie to the numbers that you enter for Federal Grants through the Other Grants. If these two numbers do not tie something was entered incorrectly. We do not go in and change numbers on the proposal. Your proposal will be presented to our Trustees with numbers that do not add up. This reflects poorly.
  7. Ask us to review your draft before you submit it
    Take advantage of our offer to review your draft proposal. Be the first to complete your draft and email us that you are ready to have your draft reviewed. Usually the sooner you give us a draft to review the more time we can devote to your proposal. Plan on having a draft of your narrative completed at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline. We will not look at your financials but we will focus on your narrative.
  8. Continuously update changes in your organization on our website
    Create or update your profile on our website. If you have lost your password, follow the prompts to reset it, give yourself plenty of time before the deadline as this may take a day or two. If you have a change in your grant contact, it is imperative that you update your information. It is possible that you will miss important information regarding reporting. Incorrect contact information can make the difference in getting a grant and not getting a grant.