Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools
Grant Writing Tips
Allow plenty of time to prepare your proposal carefully and thoughtfully. Do not rush through the process.
Read the application package in its entirety before starting to write. Be sure you are an eligible applicant and your proposed project addresses the funding priority for Fiscal Year 2003.
Follow the formatting guidelines carefully and precisely. For example, if guidelines request a font size of 12-point or larger, do not use 10-point size. Also, if page limitation is set at 25 pages, do not exceed this number.
Structure your narrative according to the selection criteria. This helps to ensure that you cover all required information and also makes it easier for reviewers to evaluate your proposal.
Be clear, concise, and specific in your responses to the selection criteria.
Justify your funding request in accordance with project activities keeping in mind that all costs must be reasonable and necessary to carry out your project. Be specific about how the funds will be used and link them to items in your program narrative. Here are some things to avoid:
- If there is a limitation on the award amount noted in the application package, do not request funds in excess of that amount. Note that the estimated range of awards is not a limitation.
- Do not request funds for "miscellaneous" purposes.
- Do not request funds for anything that is not directly related to the program you described in the narrative portion of your application.
- Entertainment expenses are usually unallowable.
Gifts and incentives for program participants are usually unallowable.
Check your budget figures for consistency. The amounts on the application face sheet (ED Form 424), the Budget Information Form (ED Form 524), and in the narrative justification for your budget request must be identical.
Proofread your proposal. Ask a colleague who has not been involved in its development to read the proposal. Reviewers will not give your proposal the benefit of the doubt if information is missing, spelling errors change the meaning of sentences, or information is presented in a confusing manner.
Use the checklist printed in the application package to ensure that all required information is included. Make sure that your agency's authorized representative signs all required forms. This is usually not the project director.
Submit your proposal by the deadline date. Extensions for individual applications failing to meet the deadline will not be granted, except as indicated in the e-Application instructions.
If you have any questions, or need additional information, about the grant competition, contact the competition manager listed in the application package for clarification.