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How do I write a grant proposal?

This may be our most popular question. Please visit our Proposal Writing page for introductory or full-day classes, online training, and books that we’ve produced in response to this question. Check out our free tutorial, Proposal Writing Short Course, and learn about the components of a proposal - the executive summary, statement of need, project description, and budget - and other things you'll need to consider when preparing and submitting proposals.

Start learning now with our free class, Proposal Writing Basics, available free as an online webinar or in-person class.

More Knowledge Base articles about proposal writing»

Guide to Proposal Writing book

Finally, keep in mind that proposal writing is just one step in the grantseeking process, according to Jane Geever, author of The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing: "The proposal does not stand alone. It must be part of a process of planning and of research on, outreach to, and cultivation of potential foundation and corporate donors."

Far more time should be spent on developing the program or project and researching and cultivating donors than on preparing the actual proposal.

Sample Proposals

Samples of actual proposals are usually hard to find because the donor and applicant may be very protective of these documents. Also, they usually are very specific to the project, organization, and funder.

However, our Sample Documents section is a searchable collection of proposals, cover letters, letters of inquiry, and proposal budgets that were actually funded. Each proposal includes a critique by the decision-maker who awarded the grant.

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The Foundation Center's Ask Us service is available Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm (Eastern time) to answer your questions related to starting a nonprofit, finding grants, or other fundraising and management queries.

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Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals book

These sample documents come from our book, Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals, which you can buy at our Marketplace or use at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations.

You also might check if anyone in your professional networks would be willing to share sample proposals.

To learn more about this topic, selected resources below may also be helpful.

Web Sites

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Books and Articles

Check title availability at our libraries and Funding Information Network locations or your local libraries.

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