Business How To

How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal

How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal

Grant proposal

Finding the best eligible grants is great to work done, however, writing convincing proposals for your grant application is another case entirely. Most federal, state, and foundation grants require that one write a proposal to highlight the reasons why the grant should be awarded.

Grant proposals are not usually required for small businesses grants except for government grants in most cases. They are however important for all nonprofit grants. This article will be exposing all the elements of a proper grant proposal and how each element can be properly justified to win grants.

Elements of a Grant Proposal

Having done the research and from experience, this article would be highlighting the common essential parts of a grant proposal regardless of the authorizing body. In other words, if your proposal covers all the essential elements listed here then you’re most likely good to go.

  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Table of content
  • Executive summary
  • Introduction/ need assessment
  • Mission/vision
  • Past achievement/success
  • Proposal statement
  • Methodology
  • Program objectives
  • Work plan
  • Organization annual budget
  • Community benefits
  • Key to success
  • Organization summary and management

These are the essential parts of a grant proposal. Although, it is natural to start every document with a nice cover page with a logo that depicts the image of the organization.

How to Write Each Element of the Grant Proposal

Confidentiality Agreement

Most people usually don’t take this part as important as they should. This is the part that expresses the legal right of the document and how the information therein can be utilized.

A clear sample is given below:

“This proposal contains certain information regarding the current operations of (name of organization), including its mission, vision, programs, and proposed objectives.

The undersigned reader acknowledges that the information provided herein is confidential; and that any disclosure or use of the same by the reader may cause serious harm or damage to (name of organization).

therefore, the reader agrees not to disclose it without express written permission.

Upon request, this document is to be immediately returned.


(name of organization)


Readers should do well to edit this format into a suitable non-disclosure agreement.

Table of Contents

This is pretty much simple and can be done by using Microsoft word tools. Making use of the different headers under the styles Ribbon in the toolbar and simply inserting the auto-generated table will do the magic.

This part of the document can be done last. Other parts would have to be completed or scheduled at first before the table of content can be done.

See also: How to carry out grant research

Executive Summary

Ideally, this is the last technical part of a proposal to be drafted. It is also the first part that the examiner would read. In most cases, this might be the only part that they might be interested in.

Carefully begin by highlighting the key problems that the organization or a project is looking to solve, the impact of this problem in the immediate community, and the overall scope.


***Most writers tend to introduce the organization first in the executive summary. That is not a bad idea however, the problem you’re trying to solve is most important***

The executive summary introduces the company and its purpose or purposes. Summarize how the problem would be solved. With statistics, provide the number of people suffering from this problem and what percentage your solution can cover realistically.

Highlight the previous achievement and in the last paragraph, request for the amount that is being sought.

Ensure that this part is written as the final piece as it is the summary of the other parts of the proposal.

Introduction/ Need Assessment

The problem at hand, the background to the problem, and its current state are fully discussed here in detail. Also, the organization and its purpose are discussed in full length here.

The proposal should judiciously expatiate this problem on the immediate community, state, city, or country by highlighting other different sources that have made mention of this problem.

Quick research needs to be done to be able to get references from people who have once written about the subject problem and its consequences.

Mission and Vision

In a few sentences, the mission and the vision should be explicitly expressed here. The mission and vision need to cover key values as regards its purpose or belief.

Past Achievement/Success

This is where the milestones that have been set, achieved, and how they were achieved would be discussed.

The relevance or impact of each successful event or project to the community should also be emphasized emphatically.

Proposal Statement

Here, the exact amount that has been requested will be stated. The exact use to which the funds will be put can be stated in about one or two paragraphs maximum.


Somehow similar to that of an academic proposal. Methodology highlights the means through which the solution would be applied. How are you going to execute this project? What techniques have you been using? This part should judiciously take care of the underlying methods.

See also: How to write an investor-ready business plan

Program Objectives

Objectives are the key milestones that must be achieved before the final accomplishment of a goal. Say, I have a goal of curbing the social injustice of African Americans caused by systematic racism in New York.

My objectives for such a project will include

  • Informing and educating the public about the essence of social justice
  • Provision of materials to help educate the public.
  • Reach out to stakeholders and influencers that can spread the positive message.
  • Build a community.
  • Provide help to all people that have suffered and are suffering from social injustice.

Work Plan

This work plan is a set of activities that explains how each objective can be achieved. A sentence for each activity is okay for this section.

Annual Organization Budget

Of course, everyone knows what a budget is. A list of all the expenses should be done. Ideally in an excel sheet or just a table inside the word document. Using a separate excel sheet might require that one add it as an attachment.

Most government grants come along with templates that only need to be filled.

Community Benefits

This section highlights all the benefits that the project location would serve. Grantors are usually very interested in this project. Especially for nonprofit programs.

Key to Success

The organization’s key values, beliefs, structure, and other positive factors serve as the basis for the success of the proposed project.

Read More on Understanding Business Grants and How to Win Them

Organization Summary and Management

The company summary, management summary, and the board of directors will be introduced in this part.

Company summary might include the name of the organization, the founder, address, website, phone number, etc.

Management summary includes the management team and the experience, qualification of each team member. The same applies to the board of directors.

In Conclusion

In some cases, the notification of funding opportunity might require that one write a cover letter as well. The content of the letter can be extracted from the executive summary (after address and salutation).

In most grant notifications of funding opportunities (NOFO), the grant body or authority usually specifies what they would like to see in each applicant’s proposal. The format, font style, font size, spacing, and other elements are usually specified as well.

The Author

Awoyele Olanrewaju

Lanre is a professional writer with over eight (8) years of experience. He has created various content across multiple niches such as business, academic, grant research, and cryptocurrency.

His research and writing skills have helped start-ups and non-profit organizations secure grants. He has also worked with different De-Fi organizations such as Algorand, Bluezelle, and EasyFi, and Status to create amazing cryptocurrency content.