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Definition: A formal proposal submitted to a government or civilian entity that outlines a proposed project and shows budgetary requirements and requests monetary assistance in the form of a grant .
Every year, corporations, foundations and government agencies dispense billions of dollars in grants to companies for addressing issues these organizations are interested in. Writing good grant proposals is a valuable skill. You can learn much of what you need to know to write a successful proposal by talking to the agency offering the grant. The main parts of a grant proposal are:
- Abstract. This brief summary, about a half-page long, should clearly describe your proposed project, much like an executive summary of a business plan.
- Needs statement. This describes the situation or problem your proposal will address, including supporting evidence. It should focus on the problem you hope to solve with the grant money and make the case that the problem is fixable, that this is the appropriate agency to take on this problem, and that the problem is significant enough to warrant funding
- Project description. This part of the proposal describes the project, explaining how it will solve the problem. It should convince the reader that your way is the best way.
- Goals. This section should describe the desired outcome of your project. Discuss both long-range goals and specific, short-term objectives, as well as the precise effect to be achieved and the means you will employ. It should be reasonable, measurable and bound to a specific time frame.
- Action plan. The action plan is a step-by-step description of sequential activities that must be completed to achieve the objectives. It should clearly and specifically say who will do each step, what will be done and when.
- Evaluation. This describes how the project will be monitored and its results evaluated. It should cover the criteria for measuring progress, say who will be conducting the evaluations, and tell when evaluations will be held.
- Budget. This is where you tell how you'll use the money you receive. It should be within the amount you're asking for, be realistic, and include only eligible expenses. Make it detailed enough to satisfy anyone's curiosity on the question of how the money will be spent, and make sure everything adds up.