Writing Funding Proposals

Writing funding proposals is an inevitable part of almost all academic and business life. It is a process that can be carried out either by an individual or by a group. The purpose of writing a funding proposal is to persuade an audience to contribute money to your project or organization. Think carefully about your proposal before writing and submitting it, asking yourself, "Why should the source of your funds (be it from the university, a private organization, or the government) give you money?" The purpose of your funding proposal is to answer this question in a persuasive and detailed manner.

First, determine your project's purpose

Approach your proposal as a persuasion or an argument. You should be able to sum up your project in a one-sentence thesis: what are you doing, and why?

Next, validate your project's purpose

Your audience wants to know how your proposal will be carried out, why you're qualified to carry it out, and how they stand to benefit by your carrying it out.

Text: The Facts

How will your project be carried out? Is your project well defined? What evidence and/or data do you have? Is the scope and timeframe of your project manageable and realistic?

Author: You

How are you qualified to carry out your project? Do you know what you're doing? What are your past credentials? Do you understand the methods and limitations of your research?

Audience: Your funding source

How does your project benefit your funding source? Is your research important tothe applicable field? Are you likely to complee the project and present and/or publish the results?

Finally, follow the guidelines you are given:
  • Provide ALL the information asked for. Use specific headings.
  • Observe page limits. If you go over, cut out or make your proposal more concise.
  • Prepare a thorough and realistic budget. The more thorough, the more convincing your budget. If you're applying for a small part of your needs, indicate that. Explain what the money will be used for and how that portion fits into your total research project so that it's clear to your audience that you understand the complexity and expense of your project.

Remember, it's not enough that you know that you know what you're doing. It's your funding source that you have to convince that you know what you're doing.