Tennessee Education Association

Great Public Schools for All Students


Grant Writing Tips

Tips for writing successful grants can be very important to you. Never doubt your chances of being a successful grant writer, even if you've never tried before. Follow these tips to win grant dollars to help buy the new instructional resources that you need.

Steps to developing a grant proposal

  • Identify a proposal development team.

  • Review the programs/literature in the field.

  • Formulate an initial draft of the proposal goal setting forth what you hope to accomplish at the end of the project. 
    (For example, the goal of a project might be to integrate a reading program that meets the needs of all students within the district as demonstrated by student achievement.)

  • Outline the steps necessary to achieve your goals.

  • Write the steps in the form of objectives.

  • Identify the means that will be used in the problem resolution process: methods, strategies, materials, activities.

  • Set time lines for the above problem resolution process.

  • Draft ideas about how you will document what you did and the results of your project.

  • Analyze the Request for Proposals and determine the format the funding agent requires.

  • Assign writing assignments to people with time lines specified.

  • Edit the written components into one coherent proposal.

  • Review, refine and submit proposal.


The proposal writer's ten commandments

  1. Thou shalt read and re-read the proposal guidelines.

  2. Thou shalt be specific rather than philosophical.

  3. Thou shalt be serious, but never dull.

  4. Thou shalt be positive by emphasizing opportunity rather than need.

  5. Thou shalt eliminate all jargon and avoid emotional appeal.

  6. Thou shalt demonstrate confidence by saying "we will" not "we hope."

  7. Thou shalt write in the third person.

  8. Thou shalt visualize yourself as the funding source.

  9. Thou shalt create a skimmable proposal by:

    • Using a table of contents, numbered pages and headings

    • Creating bulleted lists where appropriate

    • Bold facing or underlining key words

    • Thou shalt have others review the draft proposal and grade it according to the funding source guidelines.

  10. Be sure to check out the Grants page for even more helpful info.