Why Did My Research Proposal Fail?

The success rate for research proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) is in the teens. So why do more than 80% of submissions fail? The reasons vary from poor writing, to not following directions, to a lack of examples. The major cause, however, is that many submissions are not research projects at all. For those that are,… read more


Top 10 Grant FAQs

I get questions about the proposal writing process and grants almost every day. What to do, what to submit and to whom, and how to proceed are typical examples of what I am asked. The answers range from complicated to quite simple. My responses also depend upon the knowledge and experience of the person posing… read more


Writing a Compelling Need Statement

The success of your proposal depends on persuasively presenting the need for your project. This is done in your need statement, which must be concise, coherent, and supported by evidence. If you make a robust case, the reviewers will want to read the rest of your proposal with enthusiasm. If the argument is weak, however,… read more


8 Signs You’re Ready to Submit Your Proposal

My years of experience have made it easy to spot the signs of grant writers who are ready to submit, as well as grant writers who are better off waiting. Anxious grant writers frequently contact me for proposal content reviews, and the situation presented to me most often is the following scenario. My tenure depends… read more


11 Questions You Must Ask Before You Write

Before considering writing a grant proposal, several crucial steps need to take place. These all drive a proactive approach to ensure you are eligible, qualified, and ready to design your project. Most importantly, create a timeline for implementation of each of the following steps: Is your idea part of a strategic plan? If you are… read more

social media

Use Social Media to Get Crowdfunded

Diversification of funding is a critical need today. The grants that can fund an entire project or all of an investigator’s research are highly competitive, so what do you do? Many solutions are available and one – which has become popular with educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations – is crowdfunding. To be successful, however, a… read more

not your money

Whose Money Is It, Anyway?

“You’re taking my money away from me!” the Project Director cried. He glared at me with contempt while I explained our institution’s position. A grant for which he was the PI had met all of its programmatic goals a few months early, and a progress report had been sent to the sponsor. Although satisfied with… read more

Free Tool

Your Most Helpful Tool: The Logic Model

(scroll down to download fillable logic model tool) Outcomes and evaluation are key components in today’s proposal requests. Using a logic model will ensure you properly demonstrate these elements, thus giving you the best chance of being funded. Donors want clarification of the relationship between their investments and the activities, outputs, and anticipated outcomes of… read more