If you haven’t tried it yet, you may be surprised to learn that it takes a lot of time to write a successful grant proposal. It is important to develop a schedule well before the deadline and stay on track. Even if all necessary information is available to you before you start writing, it is wise to assume that the entire process can take three months or even longer.
A simple overview of the procedure might include the following:
1. Identify a funding source.
2. Study the funding source guidelines.
3. Write and rewrite the grant proposal according to the funding source guidelines.
4. Allow for internal review of the proposal and editing.
5. Allow for approval by your institution (that’s right, you can’t just click on “SEND”).
6. Submit the grant proposal to the funding agency.
In my opinion, the best way to start writing a grant proposals is to start “small.” For example, students may locate an opportunity at their institution that might help to pay for their travel to or registration for a professional meeting or, perhaps, even funds to help offset some of the costs of a research project. These grant proposals are usually 1–3 pages long, but they still require nearly all the elements that would be needed for a more ambitious grant proposal that would be submitted to local, state, federal, or foundation grant funding programs. Future posts will include more information about these topics.
Bottom line for newbies: Start small and know that before a grant proposal can be submitted to a funding agency, department, college, and university representative’s signatures must be secured. Factor this into your grant development timeline.