Use a two-step process when reviewing and editing your proposal.
- Self-Editing is an important step in writing your proposal. Be sure the first draft accurately reflects your understanding of the review criteria and that all the requirements of the announcement are met. Confirm that your budget is reasonable and the benefits of the project have been well described. Demonstrate that you are aware of what else is being done and why your solution is the best.
- After you've finished the proposal and completed a spell-check, put is aside for awhile. Re-read it, and read it again. Spelling and grammatical errors can significantly count against you.
- Volunteer/Peer Reviewers have no stake in your project and will provide an impartial review of your proposal. Be sure to provide your volunteer reviewers with adequate time to review your final draft and give them a concrete deadline for submitting their comments. Also help them understand the program priorities and review criteria. Your reviewers should be technical experts, scientific experts, and other qualified persons. Finally, submit your final draft for a full review by your grant officer who can provide a thorough proof-reading of your proposal.
Convincing the Reviewers: What Your Proposal Says about You and Your Project
- Title. The first thing a reviewer sees is the title. Does it accurately describe who you are or what you want to do?
- Abstract. The second thing a reviewer reads is the abstract. Does it grab his/her attention? Does it concisely paint a picture of your project in a clear manner?
- Background/Justification. The background/justification should demonstrate the need for the project. Does the data support the need, importance, and timeliness of your project?
- Plan of Operation. Is your approach or methodology appropriately outlined and detailed enough that someone else could implement the project from the plan as you describe it?
- Staffing Plan. Does it show that your project team is credible and has the expertise to complete the project?
- Budget. Does it show that you are efficient and fiscally responsible?
- Timetable. Does it show careful attention to details and planning?
- Evaluation Plan. Does it show you will be accountable for the project by monitoring its progress and results?
- Results/Dissemination. Does this section show the impact of your project?
Remember: Perfect writing does not exist; effective writing does. Use a flexible approach to your writing; each phase of writing overlaps others. Professional writers have editors correct their work; use your grant officers to check yours.