Grant Writing Resources

What is a grant?

A funding proposal is an argument. Your proposal is a work of persuasion and not a collection of disparate facts. It isn't merely a description of the work you want to do; you are making an argument that it needs to be done and that you are the right person to do it. Make a tight, focused, compelling argument. Below are a few sites that introduce what a grant is and what is in a grant proposal.
Writing a Grant from the University of Kansas "Community Tool Box"

  • What is a grant?
  • Why is it worthwhile to write a grant proposal?
  • Who can write a grant proposal?
  • What are the standard components of a grant proposal?
  • How do you prepare a winning grant proposal?

Basic Elements of Grant Writing from Corporation for Public Broadcasting
*Comment: General, basic, simple - a starting point, overview of elements and process

  • This publication is an easy guide to the basic elements of grant proposal writing and is offered to assist applicants to CPB and other funding sources. It offers guideposts to help you through each stage of the process.
  • Successful proposal writing involves the coordination of several activities, including planning, searching for data and resources, writing and packaging a proposal, submitting a proposal to a founder, and follow-up. Here are some tips that will help.

Proposal Writing Short Course from Candid Learning

  • Introduction
  • Gathering Background Information
  • Components of a Proposal
  • The Executive Summary
  • The Statement of Need
  • The Project Description
  • The Budget
  • Organizational Information
  • Letter Proposal
  • Conclusion

Finding grant opportunities

Finding funding can be a time-consuming task. Funding opportunities are available at local, state, and federal levels. Grants are given by government and non-government organizations. Requests for proposals often are open for a specific time frame and have a deadline, although some organizations accept unsolicited proposals. Below are some general tips and potential sources for grant funding.

FHOP has put together a list of selected federal and non-government organizations that may have current grant opportunities relevant to your work. To go to the list click here.

The guide has three sections: 1. Readiness Assessment - A self-assessment to help you determine if you're ready to apply for funding. 2. Developing Partnerships - Tips for developing critical partnerships for your community health initiative. 3. Identifying and Accessing Funding Opportunities - Where to look for funding opportunities and tips on accessing funding.


Consider partnering with another agency or organization

Your agency may not meet all of the requirements for a given grant opportunity (i.e. some are for non-profits, or for academic researchers). Or, your agency may not have the capacity to manage an entire grant project--for example, being the evaluator or being the fiscal agent. Consider partnering with another agency, organization, or university especially if you find an opportunity that sounds like it would be a good fit with a population you serve. Build relationships with contacts who have interests related to MCAH at local colleges, agencies, and organizations, so that if they come across a grant opportunity, they may think of you as a partner. Be sure to be clear about the responsibilities and requirements in the proposal and project plan.

Mark your calendar for regular opportunities

Many funding opportunities are available in a regular cycle (once a quarter, once a year). If you find a relevant grant whose deadline you missed, check to see if there is a regular cycle to the funding. Mark it on your calendar, with plenty of time for a reminder, so you can get ready for the next time it will be available.

Remember the Foundations

Non-government foundations may have a campaign or area of interest for which they are giving funding. In California, there are foundations looking to support work and research projects conducted in California. If you have an idea for a small project, a local foundation or non-profit group may be interested in providing funding that goes directly back into supporting the community.

Grant writing guides specific to federal programs

General Federal Proposal Writing Resources from UNC
*Comment: Basics for starting and approaching federal grant opportunities
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: Developing and Writing Grant Proposals
A successful grant proposal is one that is well-prepared, thoughtfully planned, and concisely packaged. The potential applicant should become familiar with all of the pertinent program criteria related to the Catalog program from which assistance is sought. Refer to the information contact person listed in the Catalog program description before developing a proposal to obtain information such as whether funding is available, when applicable deadlines occur, and the process used by the grantor agency for accepting applications. 
*Comment: Short but thorough

  • Part 1 - Developing a Grant Proposal
  • Part 2 - Writing the Grant Proposal

Applying for a HRSA Grant includes the steps for applying for a grant from HRSA. To identify grant funding from HRSA, visit find grant funding.

National Institutes of Health - Write Your Application 
*Comment: Though the advice provided is relevant for all research grants, it is general in nature and geared toward the NIH Research Project (R01). The tips should not replace your organization's internal guidance, specific advice provided by NIH program or grants management staff, or instructions found in the funding opportunity or application guide.

Preparing Your Proposal for the National Science Foundation
*Comment: Very detailed and specific to NSF grant applications

Developing Competitive SAMHSA Grant Applications from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
*Comment: Very detailed and specific to SAMHSA grant applications
Writing a Winning Application - Write to Excite from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
*Comment: Focus is on creating a winning application by keepting its audience - your peer reviewers - in the forefront of your mind

Grant writing resources for rural communities

Grant Writing, Rural Assistance Center
FAQs, Tools, Documents, Journals, Organizations, Terms & Acronyms, Contacts, Bibliographies, News, Events

Contains information on all available federal programs including grant eligibility, application procedures, selection criteria, and program deadlines.
Sponsoring organization: U.S. General Services Administration

Includes resources to help applicants understand the grant process and prepare better HRSA grant applications. Sponsoring organization: Health Resources and Services Administration

Generates summary reports showing how grant spending can benefit a local, rural economy. Reports can reflect past, current and future grant spending. To use the EIA tool, you will need to log in to your RAC account.
Sponsoring organization: Rural Assistance Center

Provides resources for funding community health projects including sections on readiness assessment, developing partnerships and identifying and accessing funding opportunities.
Sponsoring organization: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Web site Provides details on HRSA's competitive grant offerings for the current fiscal year.
Sponsoring organization: Health Resources and Services Administration

Web site Identifies public health-related funding resources at the national and state levels from private foundations, governmental sources, and non-governmental sources. Sponsoring organization: National Association of County and City Health Officials

Sponsoring organization: University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health Offers tips and advice on grantwriting. Includes suggestions about the content and structure of the proposal, writing style, and more.
Date: 07/2006

Sponsoring organization: Administration for Children and Families
Explains what program evaluation is and its importance. Discusses conducting an evaluation, interpreting the results, reporting the findings and using the evaluation to improve programs.
Date: 2010

Additional program planning resources

The planning cycle is a classic public health approach for program planning, implementation, and evaluation. It is an interactive process with each step building on the previous ones and with opportunities for feedback. It is undertaken to understand and address identified public health problems. Although the processes described are generic to all planning efforts at the local level, the case examples are specific to Maternal and Child Health Programs that are required to conduct a formal needs assessment and planning process every five years.

This manual has been created by FHOP to assist local public health agencies in following the steps described in the above planning cycle.

Provides information about using logic models to bring together program planning, evaluation and action to demonstrate the effectiveness of a program.
Nonprofits today are being pressed to demonstrate the effectiveness of their program activities by initiating and completing outcome-oriented evaluations of projects. This guide was developed to provide practical assistance to nonprofits engaged in this process. The pages of this guide give staff of nonprofits and community members alike sufficient orientation to the underlying principles of "logic modeling" to use this tool to enhance their program planning, implementation, and dissemination activities.