MAIN SECTIONS...Of a Grant Proposal

Grants formats vary, but there are eight main sections to a grant proposal that should always be included.  These are:


The statement of the problem serves as the introduction.  It includes an overview, the background, and the purpose or premise of the program you wish funded.


The proposal must include a goal and measurable objectives.  Be specific as to the outcomes that are expected.  Objectives should also be verifiable, clear and concise, realistic, achievable and appropriate to the problem and goal.
Note:  The program may find a need to change, delete or add to the objectives while the grant project is underway.  This can often be done with approval from the funding agency.


A program description must also be included.  Often the target population is described; for whom specifically, is the project being developed?  You may also want to include the location and demographics.  Include facts, data, rationale as well as the need for conducting the project.


The program evaluation should measure the program’s effectiveness.  It needs to be built into the entire planning process and included in the timeline.  Evaluations can be subjective, i.e. based upon opinions or feelings, or objective, i.e. based on unbiased data.


The management plan clearly identifies tasks or action steps, person(s) responsible and deadlines for completion.  The management plan “operationalizes” the project objectives and activities into a format that can be used to implement the project.

Developing the management plan will help ensure that the time and resources are available to meet objectives.  The action steps tell specifically how each objective will be met or achieved.  They should be stated in terms of:

•   What will be done?
•   Who will do it?  Identify the staff involved with the project.  Include who will supervise, who will conduct the project, and who is responsible for the budget.  Often you will be asked to provide background information about participating staff.  Are the staff qualified to conduct the project or assume responsibility for their assigned roles?

Identify a project manager.  This person will be responsible for:
a.   Keeping plans on track, i.e. tracking the progress of the plan and communicating changes;
b.   Training those who will deliver the intervention activities;
c.   Getting the intervention going; sharing responsibilities, including problem resolution, with others;
d.   Consulting with the partners and guiding the activities during implementation; encouraging others, making the most of their talents and skills.

•   When will it be done?  The timeline provides an overview of when the actions will be taken.  It is often presented in calendar form or by a chart.


The budget should include a good cost estimate of personnel costs, non-personnel costs, and indirect costs.  You may want to include a summary of in-kind services and/or other funds that will be used to support the grant activities.

•   If you are provided a budget form, USE IT!
•   List the number of items you intend to purchase, as well as the cost.  Be specific.  In identifying personnel costs, include how many hours will be spent on the project, the cost pre hour, or the percentage of salary.
•   DO NOT request funding for anything that is not identified in the body of the application.

The Three Primary Components of a Budget

•   Expenses: personnel costs
•   Expenses: non-personnel costs
•   Indirect costs


The summary/abstract should provide a brief, one-page overview of your proposal.


The cover letter is very important as it makes your first impression.  Be sure to include a brief description of your need for the money; the merits of the grant; and how it relates to the funder’s RFP.