Proposal Primer

 Proposal Primer 

Foundations often require a pre-proposal or Letter of Inquiry before the submission of a formal proposal.  A Letter of Inquiry should be no longer than two pages.  Such a letter permits you to make inquiries to several foundations at once and gives an interested foundation the chance to offer guidance and suggestions before you develop a full proposal.

 Once you have been invited to submit a full proposal you should prepare a concise and specific narrative that explains how your project matches the mission and priorities of the corporation or foundation.  If the funding entity provides guidelines or directions for proposal submission, follow them meticulously.  If there are no guidelines, you can follow this proposal outline:

  • Executive Summary:  Clearly and concisely summarizes your proposal.
  • Introduction:  Establishes your credibility and qualifications to carry out the project.
  • Narrative:
    • Documents the problems or needs your work will address.
    • Establishes the desired objectives of the project in measurable terms.
    • Describes the methods or activities through which your work will achieve the desired results.
    • Describes the plan for post-grant sustainability.
  • Budget: Details the project’s overall cost breakdown and the expenditure of the grant.
  • Supplemental Funding:  Identifies additional internal and external project resources.
  • Project Team:  Curriculum Vitas (CVs) of the principal investigator, project director and other team members.
  • Supplemental Materials:  Letters of endorsement, pertinent articles, tax certification documents, etc.

    (Note: Please contact the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations for assistance with these materials).