Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts

By Tom Sant | Go to book overview

13 Writing Research Proposals and
Proposals for Grants
Proposals are not exclusively written in business-to-business or businessto-government settings, of course. Researchers, nonprofit organizations, charities, and others with a social service, educational, or artistic mission must seek financial support from sponsors by writing proposals. Writing an effective proposal to win research funds or grant money can be just as challenging as writing a sales proposal for millions of dollars' worth of equipment and services. And the challenge can be met only by writing the proposal as persuasively as possible.Most of what we have already said about persuasive structure and audience analysis applies to research proposals and grant requests. The primary difference is that instead of focusing on solving business problems that are having a negative impact on profitability, productivity, quality, or some other metric of business performance, you need to position your proposal to show that it will help the target agency or foundation achieve its mission. For your funding source, the primary [problem] is distributing scarce resources in the most effective way to promote the purpose for which the agency or foundation was created. Your proposal must make it clear that your proposed project is fully compatible with the proposed sponsor's interests, policies, and values.As you look for sponsorship, go through the same steps that a salesperson goes through when qualifying a lead. Ask yourself:
What is this organization's purpose? Why was it created? What broad objectives does this foundation or agency seek to achieve through its funding activities?
What size of grants does it award?
Where does its money come from? What type of support does it provide (for example, capital funds, endowment funds, matching funds, research grants, educational project support)?
What are some of its past and current funding activities? What are its program interests for the future?
Who makes the decisions regarding allocation of funds?
What criteria are used?
Does the organization or agency impose any geographic limitations on its grant activity?

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