Academic journal article SRA Journal

Improving the Quality of Grant Proposals - a Grantmaker's Perspective

Academic journal article SRA Journal

Improving the Quality of Grant Proposals - a Grantmaker's Perspective

Article excerpt


The Carnegie Corporation of New York emphasizes internal collaboration at the beginning of its proposal-preparation guidelines:

We strongly encourage the program, financial, and administrative personnel at your organization to work together from the beginning of the planning and budgeting process, and to continue the collaboration as the project is implemented.

The guidelines suggest four basic proposal elements: (a) Summary; (b) Workplan; (c) Itemized Budgets for the amount requested, including all revenue sources; and (d) Budget Justification, which states how each budget item relates to the project, and how the amount was calculated.

We include a table that lists natural budget categories, describes the expenses usually covered by the categories, and identifies the information that would be helpful to include in the budget justification (see Table 1). For example, we suggest the salaries and fees budget category include all staff salaries allocated to the project and that each position, salary, and percentage of time devoted to the project be identified. The budget justification includes a description of each position and its connection to the project.

We decided not to include a form or template for the budget because we did not want to constrict applicants to a format that was incompatible with their internal systems for budgeting and financial reporting.

The guidelines explain that the budget will be reviewed in detail and additional information or revisions may be requested. If the proposal is recommended for funding, the final budget must be compatible with the applicant's financial reporting format and signed by an authorized financial officer at the applicant's organization. …

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