How To Write A Great Grant Proposal

A small business grant proposal serves as a clear and concise plan of your intended project before it begins, typically presented through a written document. 

The proposal is sent to a particular funding agency that’s providing a grant opportunity you’re interested in. 

In your proposal, you should comprehensively detail the rationale behind your project and the motivation for seeking financial support from the particular funder. Explain the who, what, when, where, how, and why of your proposed project or program. 

By presenting your proposal in a clear, concise, and well-organized manner, you enhance your prospects of gaining approval from those evaluating the grants.

Understanding the Funder

Research The Grantmaker

Understand their mission, funding interests, and past grants. This knowledge will help you tailor your proposal to align with their priorities

Follow Guidelines

Carefully read the application guidelines. Adhering to the guidelines is crucial, as failure to do so can lead to your proposal being dismissed regardless of its merits.

Structure your proposal

A typical grant proposal includes several key components. While the exact structure can vary based on the grant-makers requirements, most proposals will include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary: A snapshot of your project that includes your goals, the problem you’re addressing, the solution, the funding request, and the impact your project will have. Although this appears first, you’re going to want to write it last.
  2. Needs Statement: Shows why your project is needed and aligned with funders’ focus areas.
  3. Project Description: Detail your proposed solution and the objectives of your project. Describe the activities, timeline, and resources required. Explain how you will implement your project and the expected outcomes.
  4. Goals & Objectives: Clearly state what your project aims to accomplish. Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART).
  5. Budget: Provide a detailed budget that outlines how the grant funds will be used. Include other funding sources, if applicable. Be realistic and justify each budget item.
  6. Organization Information: Describe your organization, its mission, and its relevant experience. Highlight past successes and how your organization’s expertise will contribute to the project’s success.
  7. Evaluation: Explain how you will measure the project’s success. Include both qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods.
  8. Sustainability: Discuss how the project will continue after the grant period ends, or how its impact will be sustained over time.

Proposal Writing Tips

Be clear and concise

Use simple, straightforward language. Avoid jargon and technical terms unless absolutely necessary, and provide explanations for those you do use.

Be specific

Vague proposals are less compelling. Provide specific details about what you plan to do, how you plan to do it, and the impact you expect it will have.

Focus on impact

Funders want to know how their investment will make a difference. Highlight the impact of your project on the community or field


Grammatical errors and typos can undermine the credibility of your proposal. Have multiple people review your proposal before submission.

Follow Up

After submitting your proposal, a follow-up can demonstrate your commitment and interest. However, respect the funder’s process and preferences for communication.