How to prepare strong grant
proposals to compete effectively.
To provide general tips for preparing strong application packages.
To provide an overview of general elements for successful proposals.
To provide and discuss examples of strong and weak proposals.
Do You Need to
• Do you have the talent and materials within your partnership to
complete the project?
• Could your problem be addressed by having local vendors
provide materials or make other contributions?
• Could a community fundraiser fulfill your needs?
If you answered yes to any of these questions …
then you may NOT need to write a proposal.
Yes, I do need to write a grant
1. Begin researching funding sources
2. Collect materials to write your proposal
•Letters of support
SHOW ME THE MONEY
References and resources
to find external funding
How to work with funders
External Funding Sources
• State/Territory fish and wildlife agency
• Federal government grants
• Friends associations
• Local businesses
• Local conservation organizations
Grant Funding Resource
• Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
• Federal Register
What is Grants.gov?
• A one-stop online shopping source to find and
apply for Federal government-wide competitive
• Houses 900+ grant programs from 26 grant-
• Fund opportunities for more than 20 diverse grant
• Over 1,100 active grant opportunities posted
• Nearly 9000 grant applications submitted through
the electronic system
Dummy bullet for transition
Find and Apply
• “Find” feature allows users to:
– Search for available grant opportunities
– Register to receive notification of grant
• “Apply” feature allows users to:
– Search for and download application packages
– Complete application packages offline
– Submit completed application packages online
– Track the status of submitted applications
Getting Started – Register
• A multi-step process with time required between steps for
verification, authentication and confirmation
Grants.gov registration/authentication processes—allow 7-14 days!
– Register with Central Contractor Registry (CCR) -
– Register with the Credential Provider to receive
username and password - Individuals
– Register with Grants.gov to be designated as an
Authorized Organization Representative - Individuals
– Log in to Grants.gov to verify successful registration -
– Download PureEdge viewer to be able to access and
submit application materials - Individuals
Help is available…
• Grants.gov provides numerous sources of help to
guide you through the process
– Online tutorials and training demos
– Checklists and worksheets
– Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
– User Guide
– Help line – telephone and e-mail support
Grant Funding Resources –
• U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
www.fws.gov (see “Grants at a Glance”)
• National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
• USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
National Fish and Wildlife
Other Types of Grants
Corporations $213 Billion
Where the money comes from: Where it goes:
3% science and
Foundations and Corporations
• Give locally
• Don’t normally have applications
• Personal contact is required
• Fund very specific projects
• Give to non-profits
How Do we Find Foundations
– Foundation Center Online
– Conservation Grants
– Environmental Grantmaking
– Foundation Center Collections
– Foundation searches, 990s
– Chronicle of Philanthropy
Does the Grant Opportunity
Work for Me?
• Does your project meet the funder’s interest?
• Are you an eligible applicant?
• Does it support projects in your area?
• Does the funder support all project needs?
• What size grants are given?
• What is involved in the application process?
• What are the grant criteria?
• Does the timing of funding meet your needs?
Budget Your Time
Solid partnerships Communicate
Innovative Define your
80% planning the project 20% writing the proposal
Get the award for a strong
• Do your homework
• Know the big picture
• Coordinate, establish partnerships
• Know the funder’s budget cycle
• Determine how you will meet match
Basic Grant Application
For a more competitive application be sure to
– Detailed methodology/description of activity
– Detailed Budget include how match funds are will be
– Demonstrated partnerships with local communities
and resource agencies
– Relevant Principle investigator experience and
– Description of how information from project will be
used to improve management.
– Realistic description timeline with benchmarks for
Get the award for a strong
• Follow grant application instructions
• Be succinct, well organized, on time
• Specify your piece of the pie
• Target funding agency’s priorities
• Set a realistic budget
• Provide real, legitimate match
• Be innovative
• Work with a proofreader
Grant Writing Tools –
• Updated Agency Websites
• FWS/NCTC Grant Writing for Conservation Course
• EPA Grant Writing Tutorial
• NFWF Pre-proposal Form
• NOAA Coastal Services Center
• NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
• NOAA Grants Management Division
• Do not follow directions in the
• Are not proof read, have lots of
• Have incorrect or insufficient match
• Lack coordination and had
duplication of activities.
• Are submitted after the deadline.
Weak proposals (cont)
• Do not provide adequate
description of PI’s relevant past
experience or performance
• Demonstrate that work begins
or is completed before the grant
is to be awarded.
• Build a relationship
• Be courteous
• Respect their time
• Know their interests
• Discuss opportunities
• Follow up
What if You Don’t
Get the Grant?
Follow up – ask:
– Any hints to increase success next time?
– Any other funders recommended?
You got the Grant!!!