Funders each have specific requests for their proposal process. Be sure to carefully review their prompts and checklists. However, in the event that your funder’s guidelines are vague or too broad, below is what foundations are typically looking for.
Keep in mind there may be differing terms used for the same concept. We have included the most widely used terms. This page will get you started, but every proposal is different and funder guidelines vary. We strongly encourage you to work with the Grants office to develop the strongest proposal for your project.
A lead-in paragraph that tells the who, what, where, when, and why of the proposal.
You may include Eastern University’s history (see above) and a brief background of your department.
This should include a 1-2 sentence summary of the request. For example, “Eastern University requests $20,000 to support the education of economically disadvantaged students.”
This is the heart of the grant proposal; it is where one explains the dire need for funding to address problem X. You should be able to illustrate the severity of the problem from current research and/or qualitative evidence. Research into the problem—how you know it exists.
It should include:
Explain how the project will be continued or have a lasting impact after grant funding ends.
Step by step progress of how you will address/explore/solve the indentified “problem.” This may not be a section to itself. It is sometimes included in the statement of need/narrative/methods section/ or in a separate chart of Project Goals and Objectives. This section should provide a road map that would enable the reader to complete your proposal if s/he tried.
See supplemental material (at top of box) to help you complete this section.
Identify project staff members, consultants, and lead scholars. State their qualifications and define their responsibilities within the grant proposal. Describe how participating partners will be selected (if applicable), and what contributions they will make. Include hours or percent of time devoted to the project, and double check whether the funder wants CVs attached.
Refers to the macro level/big picture of what you want to accomplish.
For example: “Address the problem of low achievement by community high school students by providing after school enrichment.”
Objectives are tied to outcomes; specific results that can be measured. There are two types that should be included whenever possible:
Tells how you know the project was successful and describes the methods used for measuring your objectives. For example:
Your budget needs to tell the same story as your narrative. Everything listed in the budget should be presented in text of the proposal. Use given grant instructions or templates to complete budget requirements. If not provided with a template, use the template provided at the top of this box. The budget section usually separates the administrative from operational costs.
Be sure to check guidelines for caps on allowable amounts of salary, administration, equipment, etc.
The bulk of the costs should correspond to the bulk of the proposal narrative. For example, if you are asking for $15,000 for an after school program, including $12,000 in your budget for a database system is misleading unless your proposal focused heavily on the need for the database system.
There should be no surprises in your budget that have not been discussed in the rest of your proposal.
It may include:
Unless the grant specifies otherwise, Eastern University’s policy is to include an indirect rate of 10%
Use appendices to provide supplementary but essential materials if they will better illustrate your request. Remember to check the guidelines of the grant to see if providing these is appropriate.
Possible samples of added material would be Eastern University’s Annual Report, a departmental news update, a screenshot of a model database, a flow chart of the design or process you are describing, faculty résumé, or press release of your project.
Submission dates for applications are generally not negotiable. They are usually associated with strict timetables for agency review. Some programs have more than one application deadline during the fiscal year. Applicants should plan proposal development around the established deadlines.
The Grants Office policy is to have a proposal completed and submitted 48 hours in advance of the deadline.
Advancement Office of Eastern University
1300 Eagle Rd.
St. Davids, PA 19087
Title V Project Director/Director of Foundations, Grants, and Government Relations