S E A R C H   
Keys to Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

Writing the Grant:

Creating a Proposal Theme

Too often grant proposals are written with no sense of mission or purposefulness attached to the overall message the proposal is trying to convey.   The proposal tries to answer the grant request in a fragmented way with no unifying theme or focus point.   While the use of a matrix breaks down the grant request into its parts, those parts must ultimately come together to form a focused, deliberate, unified message.   Without this unified message, it will be nearly impossible to demonstrate that your proposal is truly heads and shoulders above the competition.   The proposal theme must be reiterated regularly throughout the proposal in order to drive home the reason it deserves funding.


How to Create a Proposal Theme

Creating a proposal theme requires the use of three discreet data points.   They include an introduction to the grant request, specific award criteria for the grant, and the matrix that was created to demonstrate the varied strengths of your team.

The purpose or theme of the grant is a point of intersection among these three data points.   The idea is to focus on what the spirit and intent of the grant is as aligned with award criteria i.e. technical approach, people assigned to the task, prior background and experience, or expected results are.   In this way you can determine whether the granting institution is trying to accomplish the intent of the grant through the use of an innovative approach, the right experience, or a company well versed in this type of work.  

The theme statement must capture the essence of these data points as reflected in the strengths of the team.   Using the matrix and internal logic represented in our example, the theme statement might look like the following.  

The ABC University and its partners provide the most complete and comprehensive analysis of programs concerning violence against women from Diverse Communities because our team brings together data and information from researchers, agencies, advocates and organizations who have served this community of women for the ten years.   We have the best information resources because our team members live it everyday.

It is important to create what is called a "stickiness factor" in the theme statement.  Stickiness comes from the idea that the evaluation team will remember a phrase or a sentence long after the proposal reading is completed.   The stickiness above comes from the words, "our team members live it everyday."   The idea is to convey to the granting institution that the data used in this analysis is current and reliable both of which are enormously- important concerns for research of this nature.  

The proposal must continually drive this point home by telling the story of the team partner and how and when the data and information was collected.   Additionally, ABC University must describe how the information will be used in their experimental design to produce the best program evaluation possible.  






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Using a Matrix
Writing the Grant
Organization Techniques
Context of tutorial
Relevant audiences
About the author