How To Write A Grant Proposal | Examples + Templates

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By Tyra Delos Reyes

Writing a grant proposal is nerve-wracking. Some even hire specialized grant writers just to secure the bag.

So how do you write a winning grant proposal? Be sure to check the founder’s application guidelines to get a clear idea of the format and their specifications. The rest is all about providing quantifiable data to support your problem statement and proposed initiative.

Still confused? 

Luckily, we’re providing specific tips on how to write individual grant proposal sections. 

You’ll also see accepted (and rejected) proposal samples for various disciplines and initiatives. Read on to get started. 

How to write a grant proposal: a step-by-step guide 

Research potential funders

Funders often have specific interests, geographical focuses, and funding priorities. 

Identifying the right funders is crucial. When there’s a good fit, your chances of getting that much-needed funding go up significantly.

To make sure you’re on the right track, take some time to explore the websites of potential funders.  

Pay close attention to their mission statements and grant guidelines. This will help you tailor your proposal to meet their priorities and follow their specific submission requirements. 

Read grant guidelines 

Before even writing your proposal, check the grant guidelines of your shortlisted funders

These guidelines state whether you meet their eligibility requirements and specify specific format/application forms involved in the application process. 

Source: NCFP

Some funding bodies, like the MacArthur Foundation, only accept solicited proposals. Others like the OPEC Fund for International Development accept proposals on an ad-hoc basis provided that the proposing body or organization meets their eligibility requirements. 

Grant guidelines basically summarize: 

  • The type of grant that they can extend to grantees 
  • Criteria for eligibility, as well as priority demographics or organizations 
  • Proposal form or format 
  • Themes or issues that the granter is interested in funding 
  • Financing requirements 
  • Grant deadlines and timelines 
  • What they do and don’t fund 
  • Whether they accept unsolicited proposals 

Write a cover letter 

While writing a cover letter is optional, we usually recommend it to make the best first impression to funders–think of it as a teaser for the rest of your proposal. 

An effective grant proposal cover letter usually includes:

  • A quick intro to your organization and your project objectives
  • Summary of the main problem, your proposed solution, and expected impact or outcome
  • The funding amount
  • An explanation of how the project aligns with the funder’s goals

Write your executive summary

The executive summary’s goal is to give funders a snapshot of your proposal. 

It usually includes five key elements: 

  • The problem: “In our community, 30% of residents lack access to basic healthcare services, leading to widespread preventable diseases.”
  • The proposed solution: “We propose to launch a mobile health clinic that will serve approximately 5,000 residents annually, providing free health screenings, vaccinations, and educational workshops.”
  • The objectives (short-term and long-term): “Our objectives are to increase access to healthcare by 50% in the first year, reduce the incidence of preventable diseases by 20% in two years, and improve overall health literacy in the community.”
  • The impact: “This project will directly benefit over 5,000 individuals in the first year alone, reducing emergency room visits by 30% and creating a healthier community.”
  • The “ask” AKA the funding requirements: “We are seeking $100,000 to fund the mobile clinic, staff salaries, medical supplies, and educational materials. This investment will enable us to operate the clinic, impacting thousands of lives by providing essential healthcare services.”

Introduce your organization

Your goal in this section is to help funders understand who you are, what you stand for, and why you are uniquely qualified to manage the project.

It’s more than just writing your mission-vision statement. 

Source: Venngage

Think about answering the following: 

  • How do your proposal goals align with the funder’s core mission, values, and past initiatives? 
  • What are some major achievements or recognitions that showcase your organization’s capabilities and impact?
  • Who are the key members of your team, and what expertise do they bring to this project?

Write a clear problem statement

In writing the problem statement, you want to keep it focused to two key elements:

  • The core problem and the demographics affected 
  • The implications of having no action taken. This is especially relevant if you’re proposing to a funding body that is keenly interested in similar issues 

Make sure your problem statement really speaks to what the funder cares about. 

Tailoring your language so that it speaks to their areas of support can really increase your chances of having the grant approved. 

Discuss your goals and objectives

Articulating clear goals and objectives helps funders see the impact in a more objective, quantifiable lens. 

You say you want to help a specific population–the goals and objectives section is your chance to share just how much of that population can benefit from the grant. 

Goals are broad, general statements of intent, while objectives are measurable and time-specific steps that help you achieve those goals.

Here’s a sample section from a grant proposal submitted by the Soccer Without Borders organization:

Explain your methodology and project roadmap

The methodology isn’t just proof that the project is feasible. 

The real goal is to show funders that there’s a practical, detailed implementation plan that you can kick-off after you secure the funding. 

Consider using a timetable or visual roadmap to help funders understand the different phases or milestones in your project. 

Source: Venngage

Mention how you’ll be measuring success

Including a section on how you’ll measure success shows funders that your project is results-oriented and accountable. 

You’re giving them a clear framework for evaluating the effectiveness of your efforts–you’re showing how you can achieve tangible, impactful results. 

Here’s a sample section from a proposal sent by The Capital Good Fund: 

You can flesh this out by: 

  • Defining key performance indicators (KPIs) that serve as the benchmark of your assessment 
  • Outlining your methods for acquiring data, whether that’s through qualitative or quantitative methodologies 
  • Discussing the timeline of evaluations: are you doing it weekly, monthly, or yearly? 
  • Addressing limitations with measuring the impact of the project, if any

Include a budget table, and justify the costs

Break down all your expected expenses and explain each one, linking them directly to your project activities and outcomes. 

If you’re requesting $3,000 as part of your outreach program, break it down to smaller sections such as personnel fees, materials, space rental, and government permits for complete transparency. 

Some phrases you can include to help justify the costs: 

  • “Funds allocated for [specific supplies] are necessary for executing our planned [experiments/workshops/activities], which are integral to achieving our project goals.”
  • “This funding will cover the salaries of [number] part-time/full-time [roles], who are essential for [specific tasks], ensuring the project’s success and timely completion.”
  • “The purchase of [specific equipment] is crucial for conducting high-quality [research/experiments/fieldwork], directly contributing to our project’s objectives.”

Conclude by aligning with the funder’s objectives 

Conclude your proposal by reiterating how your project is aligned with the funder’s own objectives. 

You can leverage these similarities by: 

  • Highlighting mutual benefits: “By partnering with us, you will help reduce unemployment rates in our community, fostering economic growth and stability.”
  • Directly aligning with their goals: “This initiative directly supports your goal of enhancing economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations by equipping them with the skills needed for sustainable employment.”
  • Using the same language as them: If they emphasize “community empowerment,” use this phrase to describe the impact of your project.

What else should I include in my grant proposal? 

  • Letters of support: The National Library of Medicine advises grant seekers to add a letter of support to let funders know “there’s an army of support behind your project”. The ideal length is 1-2 pages. 
  • References cited: Consider adding a reference list if you’re using peer-reviewed studies as part of your problem statement.

What is a grant proposal? 

A grant proposal is a formal document submitted to a grant-making organization to request funding for a specific project or program.

Winning grant proposals ensure that the grant is aligned with the funder’s priorities and clearly communicates the impact, value, and feasibility of the project. 

How long should a grant proposal be? 

A grant proposal can be anywhere from 5 to 35 pages, depending on the funding body. 

For instance, The Commonwealth Fund, a funding body for independent healthcare research, requires proposals no longer than 5 pages for Small Grants. 

On the other hand, the Sloan Foundation, a non-profit supporting impartial scientific research, requires 20 pages for requested amounts more than $250,000. 

Make sure to check your funding body’s proposal guidelines for their specific requirements. 

Can anyone write a grant proposal?

Yes, grant proposals are typical written by: 

  • Employees or representatives of the organization
  • Affiliated volunteers
  • Freelancers who specialize in grant writing 

Grant Proposal Examples 

We gathered up various samples of different accepted grant proposals from universities, funding bodies, and government bids. Here are some samples:

Research Grant Proposal Samples

Image-guided cochlear implant programming: Pediatric speech, language, and literacy

This research grant proposal was submitted by representatives from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center seeking federal assistance for a pediatric language project. 

The research proposal aimed to examine the impact of personalized image guided CI programming (IGCIP) in pediatric CI recipients on measures of basic auditory function and speech abilities. 

Ace2 in the healthy and inflamed taste system

This research grant proposes an initiative to understand if there is an underlying correlation between COVID taste desensitization and whether taste buds are SARS-CoV-2 targets. 

Community Grant Proposal Samples

Expanding Access to Urban Growing Space and Agricultural Trainings

Source: Grant Station

This community grant proposal from KNOX to Hartford talks about their multi-pronged project to increase fresh food access through agricultural training, urban farming, and environmental education programs. 

The Inspired Community Project

Source: Grant Station

This proposal from the Butler Foundation details their work-readiness Training & Excellence Program that aims to provide educational opportunities and support to beneficiaries with disabilities, localized to the Bronx. 

Youth Project Grant Proposal Samples

SWB Nicaragua Education & Leadership Program

Source: Grant Station

This proposal was sent by the organization Soccer Without Borders to the Together Women Rise foundation. Their project is for a two-year soccer program specifically for underserved youth in Nicaragua. 

Health Project Grant Proposal Samples

Crisis Relief Loan

Source: Grant Station

This proposal was sent by the Capital Good Fund as a refinancing effort for their already-existing project, Crisis Relief Loan, which aimed to address the long-term impacts of COVID on vulnerable Texas families, with a focus on BIPOC, immigrant, and female-led households.

New Mobile Medical Clinic Providing Access to Healthcare To the Uninsured Populations In Charlotte County

Source: Grant Station

This proposal was sent by the non-profit organization Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic, Inc. (VBA) and their proposal for a mobile medical 33 ft. coach bus to address critical need locations in Charlotte County. 

Where else can I find samples of successful proposals?

How to write a good grant proposal?

Does grant proposal writing still feel complicated? Take a couple pages from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s playbook:


  • Do keep the audience in mind. Make sure the application and responses to program requirements are complete and clearly written.
  • Do start preparing the application early. Allow sufficient time to register and download applicable software and forms if applying through 
  • Do follow the instructions and application guidance carefully. Reviewers expect to find information in specific places, so follow application guidelines to the letter. 


  • Don’t assume reviewers are familiar with your organization. Clearly explain your organization and its relevance to the application.
  • Don’t neglect to explain omitted information. If any required data is missing, explain why it’s missing 
  • Don’t overuse abbreviations and acronyms. Limit their use and always define them clearly when first introduced and periodically throughout the application.

Write winning grant proposals with 

Sign up to our waitlist to get access to our grant proposal software. makes it easy for grant writers and grant seekers to create multiple, personalized grant proposals for different funding bodies. Create your first draft in minutes using our free grant proposal templates. 

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