How to Write a Grant Request

A grant proposal speaks on behalf of its author, answers all questions that it might generate, and persuades the reader to the author's point of view.

General suggestions for effective proposal writing include:

  • Be creative and positive; state your idea with excitement
  • Don't promise too much or too little from your idea
  • Try to anticipate concerns of the reviewer and address them
  • Be specific and factual; avoid unsupported assumptions
  • Use positive words such as "will" (not "would")
  • Keep reviewer's level of knowledge in mind (i.e. don't use jargon)
  • Eliminate errors—organizational, grammatical, and typographical
  • Keep it interesting so your proposal stands out
  • Describe both the problem and the solution in detail
  • Don't make the Metz Grant program the only source of funding for the project

Grant proposals should include the following contents:

Cover Sheet

Executive Summary

The Executive Summary is where creativity should be used in order to get the attention of the reader. It will be easier to prepare if it is completed last.

  • Begin with the project title centered as heading
  • Half page or less in length
  • Give a description of the student organization—assume the reader has never heard of it
  • Include an overview of the entire project, including proposed outcomes
  • State the problem without being too negative (don't make it seem as if it can't be solved)
  • Present the total $ amount requested and the project duration dates in bold below the last paragraph

Table of Contents

  • Limit to one (1) page
  • Only necessary if proposal is more than three (3) pages

Needs Statement

  • Definition of situation or condition the program will address: Include an explanation of the situation or condition the project will address
  • Prove that the problem exists with quantitative evidence, which may require research
  • Provide documentation to help build the case
  • Motivate the reader to read further

Program Description


  • Introduce with this type of statement: "As a result of this award, the following objectives will be attained," followed by a numbered list of specific projected results
  • Usually between one (1) and five (5) objectives
  • Objectives should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely

Proposed Solution

  • Usually the longest section
  • Should be presented in a chronological, step-by-step format
  • Prove the feasibility of the project within the time frame
  • The use of diagrams and charts is recommended (no color)


Describe why the proposed solution is logical and deserving of support. Present an argument that addresses the following questions:

  • Why is it important to get this done?
  • Why is your organization the best to do it?
  • How is your organization qualified?
  • What would be the costs of not doing this project?


  • The assignment of a $ value to an idea
  • Present in a clear and precise format
  • Divide the budget into large categories with subcategories if necessary
  • Round to the nearest whole dollar
  • Don't pad the budget; make reasonable and defensible estimates
  • Request what you need, not what you think you can get
  • Explain amounts that aren't obvious so that no questions remain about the amount