Grant Writer's Glossary
Abstract: a brief overview of a project; usually 1/2 page or less immediately
following the face page or cover sheet. May be called an executive
Administrative Costs: see Indirect Costs.
Proposal: a proposal modified after it has been submitted
but prior to the time the award is made; may be initiated by either
the submitting organization or the funding source.
Application: a request for funds; may imply the use of a special form
supplied by the funding source. See proposal.
Boilerplate: sections of a proposal applicable to a variety of requests; e.g.,
organizational descriptions, professional resumes, etc.; often maintained
by organizations submitting numerous proposals in order to reduce
Budget: financial plan for conducting a project; should include whole dollar
amounts only; no decimal points.
Justification (budget explanation): a clarification of
the budget; explains how dollar amounts were determined; not a rationale
for the amounts requested.
Periods: intervals of time (usually 12 months) into which
a project is divided for budgetary and reporting purposes.
Grant: an award that provides funds for building construction
and/or equipment purchases; see Construction Grant.
Group: beneficiaries of any service award; sometimes called
the target group.
Foundation: a publicly supported organization that makes
grants for social, educational, religious or other charitable purposes
in a specific community or region.
Grant: an award made to support the costs of a meeting
Grant: an award made to one grantee in support of a project
being conducted in conjunction with one or more other formally participating
Consultant: person contributing to a project during one or more brief periods
of time; not on project payroll.
Funds: funds allocated for unforeseen purposes; considered
a non-allowable line item by most funding sources.
Foundation: a grant making organization legally independent
from, but with close ties to, the corporation providing the funds.
Sharing: financial contribution by the grantee; typically
less than 1/3 of the total cost, more common to research grants;
a form of matching.
Letter (transmittal letter): letter of transmittal accompanying
a proposal submission.
Sheet: see Face Page.
Deadline: date after which a proposal will not be accepted for review; often
stated as a receipt date or a post mark date; see Post Mark Date.
Costs: all costs necessary for the administration and implementation
of a funded project; not included in the organization’s indirect
cost rate or administrative charge.
Dissemination: how you will communicate information on your project to those who can use the information.
Grant: an award made in accordance with legislation allowing
the funding source to exercise reasonable freedom in selection the
project and the grantee and determining the amount of the reward.
Proposal: see Preliminary Proposal.
Dates (project period): starting and ending dates of a
project; define the period during which allowable project costs
may be charged; see Grant Period and Expiration Date.
Date: date award is made; allowable project costs may not
be charged to the project until this date.
Equipment: definition varies; usually considered as any item having an approximate
unit value in excess of $500 and an estimated usefulness of more
than two years; e.g., file cabinets and microscopes.
Evaluation: a quantitative assessment of what was, or was not, accomplished
by a project; a comparison of project objectives and actual project
outcomes; an increasingly important part of proposal writing and
Date (termination date): last date of a project; no charges
may be made to a project after this date; see Duration Dates and
Page (cover sheet): first page of a proposal; identifies
project title, sponsor to whom proposal is submitted, project director’s
name, title, address, project duration, total dollar request, submitting
organization’s name and address, and the name, title, and
signature of a person authorized to sign for the organization.
Foundation: an independent grant making organization; decision
may be made by donor or donor’s family, by an independent
board of directors, or by a bank or trust officer acting on donor’s
Fellowship: an award made directly to an individual in support of specific educational
pursuits; recipients may be subject to service and/or payback requirements
after the fellowship terminates.
Report: may be programmatic, technical, financial, or any
combination thereof; a summary of project implementation including
an evaluation of the degree to which objectives have been met; required
by most funding sources and appreciated by all others; a necessary
courtesy if future funds should be desired.
Application: a proposal to which an authorized signature
has be affixed; contrasts with an informal inquiry that constitutes
a request for information only; see Authorized Signature, Proposal,
Foundation: organization established to disburse funds for philanthropic purposes;
usually privately owned.
Benefits: payments in addition to base salary for such
things as social security, hospitalization, retirement, etc.
Goals: general statements of anticipated project outcomes; usually more
global in scope than objectives and not expected to be measurable;
if used, goals should be supported by well-stated objectives; see
Grant: an award of financial or other assistance that does not
hold the grantee to a rigid work plan; more flexible than a contract;
grantee or grantee’s client is usually the beneficiary.
Period: begins on the effective date and ends on the expiration
date; the period of time agreed upon by the grantor and the grantee
during which a funded project is in operation; allowable project
costs may be charged to the project only during this time; see Duration
Date and Expiration Date.
Grantee: any legal entity that receives an award and assumes responsibility
for fiscal accountability for managing awarded funds, supervision
of grant-supported activities, and submission of final reports.
Grantor: funding source that has agreed to provide financial support in the
form of a grant.
Grantsmanship: the process of procuring grants; a modernization might be "grantspersonship".
Guidelines: directions to follow in the preparation and submission of a proposal;
usually but not always provided by the funding source; more commonly
available from government sources or larger foundations.
Costs: overhead or administrative charges related to a
project but not easily and separately identifiable; e.g., utilities,
clerical, office space, accounting, library, and custodial services
necessary for proper implementation of the project; usually assessed
against the project as a predetermined rate established according
to standard accounting procedures.
Consent (statement): a written description provided by
project staff, agreed to and signed by project participants, which
describes the activities (including the possible benefits and risks)
in which the participant will become involved; required by the federal
government as a condition of accepting an award for projects involving
research on human subjects.
Contribution: a service or item donate in lieu of dollars
to the operation of a funded project; usually given by a third party;
e.g., donated equipment or guest speaker’s time; should by
referenced in budget as real direct project cost but designated
as in-kind; must be auditable with letter of agreement.
Inputs (resources): items you will need to carry out the objectives or activities (surveys, money, staff time, volunteer time, etc.)
Letter of inquiry (LOI): initial contact with a funder to find out if a full proposal would be welcome. Typically includes a brief summary of your organization, its mission, the need you want to address, the program you want to implement, the cost, and the amount you are requesting.
and Service Contracts: an agreement with a supplier to
service and repair equipment sold or rented to a project; cost should
be included in proposal budget; typically applies to office instruments
such as copy machines, word processors, etc.
(funds): financial contribution by the grantee; common
to capital and/or equipment grants when grantee and/or grantee’s
client is primary beneficiary; typically 1/3 or greater; a form
of cost sharing.
Budget: budget representing the cost of a project of more
than one year’s duration; a separate budget is prepared for
each year, with a budget summary presented preferably at the beginning
of the budget pages; see Multi-Year Funding.
Funding: financial support expending beyond one year; may
require submission of annual request for continuing support even
though grantor approval has been tentatively given for the anticipated
multi-year grant period; see Multi-Year Budget.
Objectives: specific statements of anticipated project outcomes or products;
should identify clearly what will be produced as a result of the
project having been funded; not a definition of project activities
to be conducted during the project; should be measurable and directly
related to project evaluation, need statement, and budget; see Goals.
Outputs: direct products from program activities (number of service units, number of participants, products developed, curricula developed, etc.)
(costs): see Indirect Costs.
Overload: project responsibilities that, when added to other professional
responsibilities for which a person is normally paid, constitute
more than 100 percent time; normally not allowable by a funding source.
Trail: an auditable financial record; may also apply to
administrative procedures and records.
Review: process of evaluating proposals for funding; usually
involves experts representing the same general fields or disciplines
as the proposal topics.
Grant: an award made in support of the planning stages
of a future project.
Proposal (draft proposal): occasionally required by a funding
source as a first step in the submission process; a proposal containing
only the essentials necessary to convey the idea to be proposed
more formally at a later date; see Prospectus.
Contractor: organization that receives the funds and implements
a project funded under a contract.
Investigator (PI): project director or program director;
individual designated by the grantee and approved by the funding
source to direct the grant supported activities of a project; responsible
to grantee officials.
Approval: written documentation of a permission to alter
any aspect of a funded project; includes programmatic and fiscal
changes; may be obtained within grantee organization or from grantor
depending upon the case in point and grantor policy.
Foundation: a nonfederal funding source; established to
make funds available for purposes consistent with the desires and
interests of the person or persons responsible for acquiring the
funds, or consistent with the objectives of the founding group.
Director: see Principle Investigator.
Officer (project officer): funding source staff member
officially responsible for the technical, scientific, and programmatic
aspects of funded project.
Project: all activities described in an approved grant application whether
or not the funding covers or only a portion of the necessary financial
Costs: all approved costs (direct and indirect) incurred
during the budget period of a grant-supported project.
Director: see Principle Investigator.
Officer: see Program Officer.
Overhead: see Indirect Costs.
Period (duration dates): time included within the approved
project duration dates; includes any extensions of the termination
Proposal: definition of project conditions and expenses prepared by a potential
grantee and presented to a potential grantor; see Application.
Prospectus: a brief, written project overview; draft proposal; see Preliminary
Date: see Deadline.
Replication: how your project will be used or duplicated by others.
Grant: an award made in support of an empirical study.
(request for an application): see Request for a Proposal.
(request for a proposal): announcement distributed by a
funding source to potential grantees defining in a general way the
type of project proposals desired; often pertains to applied research
that is in the interest of the grantor or contractor or its clients;
can result in either a grant or contract; same as Request for an
Rubric: a way of presenting evaluation criteria that helps the judge score your grant proposal.
Money: a small grant for the purpose of getting a project
started; it is assumed that the project will be able to attract
additional external funds following the "seed grant" period.
Project Staff: usually includes project director, associate
director, and any full-time professional project personnel having
major responsibility for administering and/or implementing project
Visit: a final step in the review of some proposals; involves
a team of evaluators designated by the funding source who examine
the project facilities and other resources on location; includes
review of project plan and objectives with key personnel; an encouraging
sign to the project director; occasionally conducted during the
life of a project.
Proposal: a proposal responding to a project concept originated
by the funding source; usually the funding source invites all eligible
organizations to submit such a proposal.
Sponsor: funding source.
Stipend: periodic payment, similar to an allowance, made to an individual;
normally intended for living expenses associated with participation
in some phase of a funded project such as a fellowship or training
grant; usually related to academic studies.
Subcontract: a secondary agreement in which a third party agrees to perform some
of the activities or services defined in a primary proposal; agreed
upon by the grantee and service provider at the time of submission
but not consummated until after the award has been made to the organization
submitting the primary proposal.
Grant: an award made to cover expenses incurred beyond
those requested at the time the original was submitted; additional
funds become a part of the original award.
Sustainability: how the project will continue when the grant funding ends.
Group: somewhat worn out term used in referring to the
primary beneficiaries of a project; see Client Group.
Tasks (also called activities or actions): specific steps you will take to achieve the objectives in the grant.
Date: see Expiration Date.
and Conditions: legal requirements imposed upon a grantee
as conditions for accepting an award.
Budget: a budget that identifies in three distinct columns
the amount requested of the funding source, the amount to be contributed
by the grantee, and the total project cost; only necessary when
matching or cost sharing is involved.
Timeline: a schedule that includes every activity you must undertake to establish, implement and evaluate the program.
Grant: an award to support costs of furthering the education
of personnel, often students.
Letter: see Cover Letter.
Proposal: proposal for which the initiative for defining
the project concept and submitting the proposal rests solely with
the applicant organization.