This may be our most popular question, and we have many resources to help you learn how to write a proposal:
Start with our free introductory class, Proposal Writing Basics, available as a live/recorded webinar, in-person class, or self-paced tutorial. In all formats, you'll learn about a proposal's components -- executive summary, statement of need, project description, and budget -- and other things you'll need to consider when preparing and submitting proposals.
Explore our Proposal Writing gallery, which spotlights upcoming training, articles, videos, podcasts, live chats, and books that we've published on this topic.
Remember: Far more time should be spent on developing the program or project and researching and cultivating donors than on preparing the actual proposal. 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."
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.
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.
Have a question about this topic? Ask us!
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.
Search the Knowledge Base
You May Also Like
Questions by Category
- Funding Resources
- Funding Research
- Nonprofit Management
- Individual Grantseekers
- Resources for Non-U.S. Grantseekers
- Preguntas y respuestas en español