The funding organization which is a government agency or private foundation convenes a panel of reviewers to evaluate proposals. Therefore, the reviewers with a set of predetermined criteria aim to make the process to receive the federal grants as fair as possible. The reviewers face the task of reading and scoring the many proposal submissions, and short-listing the participants to the winner of the grant funding. Thus, to reduce the many proposals submitted, the reviewers look for reasons to eliminate most of them from the list.
Therefore, as an applicant, you should follow directions and all guidelines to be on the safe side. Also, make your proposal stand out and be stronger in the competition, and below are tips to help score better with the grant reviewers.
Prioritize clear writing
The reviewer should be able to follow what you are saying through your clear writing. If you do not submit a clear written proposal, your application can not be successful. Plus, writing a clear and easy-to-read proposal is closer to the way you usually talk. Thus, if writing does not come naturally to you, find professional grant writers to help write the proposal. You can use the option of articulating your thoughts orally, where you record yourself talking about each section and transcribe verbatim. Plus, it is a good way to overcome any writer’s block you experience.
Do not assume the reviewer is an expert in your field
Most grant writers assume that proposal evaluators will be educated and informed. But, they are not all subject matter experts, and thus it is vital to explain more technical concepts so that anyone can understand and follow the proposal. For example, if you are writing a grant proposal to solve a food insecurity issue.
Do not assume the reviewer is an expert in food insecurity about all the factors contributing to food insecurity in the geographical area where you operate. Thus, provide enough explanation and detail to enable the non-expert to understand why the issue is a challenge and so pressing and why your solution can help and succeed.
Provide adequate information
For some sections of the proposal, you will have to provide documentation to support what you are saying and references to laws, reports, or policies. If the information is from an external source, cite the source. Do this to make it easy for the reviewers to go through your proposal. Also, to give credit to publishers or authors of cited references.
In this way, you show that your proposal writing states have support from legitimate sources. Also, sometimes the documentation may be referencing your internal report or project data. Do not forget to hyperlink to any public documents that have information about the data you have referenced in your grant proposal.
Submit a proposal of the right length
As you write the grant proposal, ensure it is not longer than the specified page limits. Plus, it does not have to reach the maximum number of pages. Thus, write what you need to write above the minimum number of pages. This is vital for the reviewer will not consider your work if you submit a proposal beyond the page limits.
The reason the guidelines provide the page limits is to cap the number of pages. Not to dictate how many pages your proposal must be. All the reviewers want is a well-written proposal. Therefore, if it is under the page limits because it is concise, it is a plus. But again, if you need all pages to cover what you need to cover, by all means, do it.
Know your level of innovation
Access your proposed project carefully if a funder states it is looking for innovation. Therefore, make sure you do your homework to know if what you are proposing is innovative and if it fits with what has happened in your field to date. However, if you feel the idea is not innovative, you can still apply if the funder is not weighing on the innovation piece. But if you know that innovation is one of the things the funder is looking for, it is not worth applying unless you can offer something innovative.