Examples of Successful Grant Proposals

Updated January 19, 2020
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Preparing to submit a grant application can seem overwhelming at first. With so much information to compile and so much riding on success, it's important to stack the odds in your favor. Reviewing successful grant proposals can help you determine the important points to emphasize in your grant application and can help you learn what it takes to write a successful grant proposal.

Examples of Effective Grant Proposals

It is never too early to begin the grant proposal process once you have a project or program in mind. As you research the grant writing process, it is helpful to examine examples of successful grant proposals to get ideas and inspiration. Fortunately, there are many places where you can review examples of different types of grant proposals online.

Examples of Successful Grant Proposal for Education

If you're seeking funding to support an educational initiative, these proposals are good ones to review.

  • Kurzweil Educational Systems: The sample of a successful grant proposal at this site walks you through the complete process beginning with the cover letter and winding up with a sample letter format with all the details in between.
  • Salem Education Foundation: Review a sample grant application submitted for consideration by a school seeking to receive funding to provide enrichment learning opportunities beyond classroom instruction for history students.
  • National Language Resource Center: This George Washington University/Center of Applied Linguistics grant proposal sought funding to establish a National Language Resource Center to provide support for the needs of foreign language instructors in K-12 and post-secondary educational institutions.

Sample Youth Program Funding Proposals

Children are the future, and funds are available to support programs designed to help youth reach their potential. If that's the kind of gran you're seeking, review these examples.

  • William T. Grant Foundation: Review proposals submitted by recent recipients of the William T. Grant Scholars award program, which funds research focused on improving the lives of young people in the United States.
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): If you're applying for a block grant focused on youth development, review this well-written proposal prepared by Family Service Association (FSA) in Riverside, California for inspiration.

Individual and Family Support Grant Applications

If you're seeking grant funding to provide service to under-served or disadvantaged populations within your community, this sample grant proposal can help you figure out what to include in your proposal.

  • Kennett Area Senior Center: This application was submitted to the community foundation in the county where the Kennett Area Senior Center operates to request funding to provide needed services and assistance to local senior citizens.

Arts Funding Grant Proposals

Seeking funding for an arts program or project? Review these examples for ideas on how to approach your documentation.

  • Imagine Fund: Explore excerpts from several particularly strong proposals submitted to the University of Minnesota's Imagine Fund program, which provides support for a variety of arts-related endeavors.
  • Individual Artist Grants: If you're seeking individual artist funding through your local arts council or similar organization, check out this sample proposal provided by the Region 2 Arts Council.

Science-Related Grant Proposal Examples

If you're seeking funding for scientific research, conservation, or other science-related endeavors, these grant proposals can provide you with a wealth of ideas.

  • NIAID: Visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) for several examples of successful grant proposal applications written to secure funding for scientific research related to healthcare.
  • Association of Zoos & Aquariums: This site offers over a dozen examples of successful funding proposals ranging from animal health to management and breeding. All examples are in pdf format.

Characteristics of Successful Grants

A successful grant is the result of a combination of a thorough research, an excellent proposal and a well-matched funding source. General aspects of successful grants include:

  • The preliminary proposal research is thorough and covers every detail of the project from start to finish.
  • The applicant researched prospective funders and found an organization that would be interested in the project type.
  • The proposal is tailored to each funding organization prior to submission.
  • The applicant follows all of the funding agency's writing guidelines when creating the proposal and submitting the proposal application packet by the deadline.
  • The proposal clearly explains the entire project, especially sections which describe the need for project, the resources, goals and budget sections.
  • The narrative section of the proposal answers every possible question about the project.

Keep these characteristics of successful grant proposals in mind when you write a grant proposal.

Grant Writing Tips for Success

Once you learn about grant writing, you can create a winning grant proposal. Tips to help you write a successful grant include:

  • Research every detail of your project to make sure it is feasible before applying for a grant.
  • Look for funding sources that typically fund similar projects.
  • Consider local grant funding sources first. Local sources increase your chances of success because of business community loyalty.
  • Start the grant writing and application process as soon as you know that your project is viable.
  • If the funder doesn't provide a specific format, you may want to use a grant proposal template to organize your submission.
  • Submit the grant proposal before the deadline to make sure that it reaches the funding organization in time.

Additional Grant Writing Resources

When you are ready to start the grant writing process, the following websites can help you get started:

  • UNC: The UNC has a detailed grant writing guide. The guide can help you understand the grant writing process, structure and the function of each section.
  • EPA: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site provides helpful grant proposal structure advice.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission: The Appalachian Regional Commission site has an article that provides a section by section discussion of the important types of information to include in a proposal.
  • Minnesota Council on Foundations (MCF): The MCF has helpful grant writing tips. The site also explains the general proposal structure, section titles and discusses each section of a sample proposal in detail.
  • Foundation Center: The Foundation Center site offers free grant writing course.

These resources can help you figure out the most important details to stress in a grant proposal.

Prepare to Experience Grant Writing Success

You can write a successful grant proposal with the right preparation. You have a great idea, and you believe in your cause. The next step is to combine your passion and enthusiasm with what you've learned from reviewing a few successful grant application examples and start drafting a proposal of your own. All of your hard work can make a difference.

Examples of Successful Grant Proposals