Funding is always a challenge to obtain. Many grants face rejection because they do not qualify for funding due to structural and formatting errors. Yet, you can easily avoid these errors with proper preparation and guidance as you apply for federal grants. Use your grant application as an opportunity to present your work to people who matter and let them decide whether they can invest in the project. Also, the way you submit the proposal is crucial. Below are some steps to take to ensure your grant proposal does not end up in the bin but makes it to the top of the stack.
1. Follow instructions always
Before you start writing your grant proposal, read all the instructions. It may seem like a task, especially if the instruction booklet has a lot of pages. Also, it is tempting to skim through, but it is best to follow to know the specifics, for instance, the font size, file names, citations, data limit, among other things. Remember, if the format is not part of the instructions, your application may face dismissal. Most grant writers provide clear guidelines of what you should and should not include in the proposal. It may take time to read, but it is worth the time.
2. Familiarize yourself with the grant structure
To write a high-quality grant proposal, you should familiarize yourself with the structure. The specific aims, this section is the cornerstone of the application, where you mention the method and purpose of the proposed research project. The background and significance section is about the literature search and provides detailed current status and analysis of the history of the literature. Include your previous studies and research related to your project in the preliminary studies. The research design and methods are the most extensive section with up to 50% of the content. Plus, there are the limitations and conclusions and the abstract that is the summary of the proposal.
3. Seek expert advice
If you are a first-timer, the grant process may seem confusing and daunting. To sort this out, seek expert advice who have a wealth of knowledge to assist new applicants in filling forms, double-checking the proposal, and other things like logistics and technical stuff concerning the research. If you are using expert-sponsored research offices, contact them early. They receive numerous applications and have deadlines so that they have enough time to review your application in detail. Most times, it can take up to ten days.
4. Start small, but early
Grant writing is not an easy process. Writing the proposal is challenging in comparison to doing the research. Therefore, it is best to start early because of competition, and the number of applications keeps increasing every year. Start by having a checklist of all documents and material you need to submit, create a plan and course of action and find alternative solutions for unobtainable items. The average time for writing your grant proposal is between 4 months and a year. Experts advise that you leave at least a month gap between completing and submitting your grant to leave enough time to retouch, revisit and perfect your application.
5. Think like a reviewer
To identify the shortcomings and faults look at your grant through the reviewer’s eye. In this way, you will find it easy to fix the remaining glitches in the proposal. Remember, the reviewers of your grant are busy and have careers and lives to lead outside reviewing your grant application. So their time is of the essence. The language you use in your grant should be appealing and elegant but focused. It should follow the format. Use plenty of white spaces, timelines, bullet points, preliminary data, and insert flow charts. The review should not have an endless flow of texts.
To conclude, a detailed grant has a professional and pleasant appeal to it. But if you feel you cannot provide the best, seek expert help, if possible. The above are some of the pointers to consider if you want a successful proposal. Whether you are writing an old or new grant, most of them have the same structure. Notably, the grant proposal should appear up-to-date and scholarly.