need statement

The Core of Your Proposal: The Problem Statement

In this blog, I will address need statements specifically for programmatic grants, which will have a heavy focus on the beneficiaries. The need statement, also known as the problem statement, is a key element of any proposal. It makes a clear, concise, and well-supported statement of the idea you are proposing. It needs to be… read more

language

Do You Speak the Private Donor’s Language?

Every time I travel abroad to a place where the language and culture are different, there are always situations where it is difficult to be understood. These experiences often remind me of the flawed way I approached my first grant. I thought the fact that I had an innovative idea would alone merit funding. I… read more

questions

Five Key Questions for Grant Success

Five key questions that are universal to all grant writing will determine the success of a proposal. Knowledge, credibility, direction, research, and passion are essential components of any proposal. Politics will also play an important part in this process. This requires a full understanding of what the funder wants. If the objectives and the language… read more

fatal

Five Lethal Research Grant Flaws

The success rate for scientific proposals can be as low as 12%. Poor writing, insufficient preliminary data, and a deficient literature review can all contribute to rejection, but are fixable. On the other hand, the five most fatal flaws which follow are very difficult to overcome even with multiple submissions. Lack of significance To help… read more

problem

What’s the Problem with Your Problem Statement?

When examining research grant proposals submitted to funding agencies, I am always amazed at the lack of detail in problem statements. The most common issue is that the “so what” question or the hook of the proposal is missing, and if it exists, it is often difficult to locate. Also, the problem description is often… read more

plan

10 Key Ingredients of Winning Proposals

There are numerous components that comprise a winning proposal, and there are many factors that ultimately lead to the donor’s decision to fund or not to fund a proposal. The key elements, however, begin with a solid idea, continue with a clear business plan and end with deliverables that are evidence-based. Specifically, winning proposals should… read more

style

Want to Get a Grant? Change Your Style

Every time I look at a grant proposal that my colleagues in academia give me to review, I am astounded at how difficult it is to read and comprehend. They often use extensive scholarly language that is specific to their field. Their proposals sound like publications in academic journals rather than business plans for grant… read more

first step

Your First Step: Understanding the Request for Proposal

Before you start writing, you absolutely must thoroughly read and understand the Request for Proposal (RFP). My very first experience with the RFP was so intimidating that I almost did not want to proceed with the submission. However, when I realized that much of it contained boilerplate information about the agency and their legal requirements,… read more

abstract

The Abstract: First Impression that Seals Your Fate

The abstract is the most important part of your proposal because it is the first impression you make on the donor. This introduction will seal the fate of your request – for better or worse. You should devote a substantial amount of time and effort to writing this section. You need to keep in mind… read more

NSF

The Most Important Part of Your NSF Proposal: The Summary Page

In last week’s blog I discussed the Specific Aims page for proposals that will be submitted to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This week’s focus will be on the Summary Page for National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals. Each NSF Summary Page, which cannot be over one page in length (or 4,600 characters with spaces),… read more