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Comments from John Weiler, Senior Program Officer, The F.B. Heron Foundation, from The Grantseeker's Guide to Winning Proposals:
New York Industrial Retention Network's (NYIRN) proposal is strong in a number of ways. In the first section, "The Status of Manufacturing," NYIRN states the need for their work, gives a clear picture of why supporting manufacturing is important, and demonstrates how manufacturing benefits low-income communities. In some proposals this "need statement" can seem overstated or overly long. By contrast, NYIRN's is succinct and compelling and cites data rather than appealing to sentiment.
NYIRN also clearly states what their direct service strategy is and what they hope to accomplish. Objectives are measurable. In many cases the objectives are quantitative and even when they're not, they're specific enough so that they will form a good basis for knowing whether a program is meeting its intended milestones.
Finally, NYIRN lays out an ambitious set of policy goals, but also measurable benchmarks against which it will be evaluating its progress. For Heron, these goals strengthened the proposal by showing that NYIRN was thinking and acting at both the direct service and policy levels. It also helped that NYIRN was realistic about what could be accomplished in the policy arena within the near term (one year) even though they intended to continue moving forward with their policy agenda into the future.