Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grant Research Includes Reading a Grant Sample

“Nothing succeeds like success” is an old proverb, but it applies well to grant writing today. Grant writers who want to be successful know what is wanted by the grant maker and one great way to do that is to read a grant sample of proposals that were successful in previous competitions.

Now you might be saying to yourself “Whoa! You’re talking about plagiarism," and I’ll say y’all are wrong about that. I’m talking about reading for the purpose of research only, certainly NEVER copying or creating derivative works.

Reading a grant sample is no different than serving as a reader on a grant scoring team. You learn a lot about how to write a successful grant proposal by reading the work of other successful grant writers.

Here are some of the key things you should look for when you are reading a grant sample.
  1. Program structure including who is served, what kind of services, how much service was deemed acceptable, etc.
  2. What kind of organization got the money, public, private, non-profit?
  3. Who was the target audience? Is there a preference for a certain demographic, geographic area, or municipal size?
  4. What is in the budget? What will the funder actually pay for and what are the relative amounts in terms of budget categories?

Of course there is a lot more to look for including use of language, use of graphics, and use of charts and tables. Remember that successful proposals were those that the readers liked and recommended for funding. That’s the group you want to be in the next round of funding!

Creative Resources and Research offers grant samples that our staff has collected for various competitions at We also offer some of our own successful proposals there (with identifying information about the client agency redacted).


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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.