Grant-Writing Guidelines for Manchester University
General Procedures and Information
1. Plan ahead. The rewards can be great, but writing a grant proposal requires work and time. Planning ahead is essential. Build in time for reviews, rewrites and approvals. Foundations may have only one or two funding cycles per year; a decision can take several months.
2. Getting started. To start the process, complete the Proposal Request Form and submit electronically to Melinda Lantz, Grants and Advancement Writer in the Office of University Advancement (OUA). The primary purpose of screening your ideas is to ensure that all proposals are well prepared and that multiple proposals are not sent to the same funder.
3. How OUA can help. OUA can advise you on how to research funding sources, how to work with foundations and how to write effective—and hopefully, successful—grant proposals. The office also can provide supporting documentation that often is required: the “tax letter” that designates Manchester as a nonprofit organization, a list of current board members with addresses and biographies (if required), the University Mission Statement, history, financial statements, etc.
4. Research. Good research is key to writing a successful grant proposal. Check with OUA for printed directories or online resources for funders. Foundations often have Web sites that provide current guidelines. Jill Lichtsinn, Academic Technology Support, Funderburg Library, can help with an online search.
- Foundations may limit their giving to specific geographic areas. If we are not in their area, don’t bother applying.
- Local foundations such as the Honeywell Foundation and the Community Foundation of Wabash County can be good sources, but should not be overused.
- Foundations may limit their giving to particular types of projects (seed money for new programs, research, etc.). They also may specify projects they do not fund (religious organizations, building renovations, etc.). Consider whether any of their limitations apply to your proposal.
- Pay close attention to whether the foundation’s goals match your program. A foundation typically has a certain kind of problem it wants to solve. A successful proposal will provide a way to solve that problem. It may be helpful to paraphrase the foundation’s guidelines when describing your own project.
- Information also is available on the size of grants the foundation has awarded in the past. That will provide a guide to what they might be expected to fund in the future.
- Before you write a proposal, consider calling the foundation and asking them if they might be interested in your project. Also, many foundations will want you to write a Letter of Inquiry. Having them screen your proposal in this way can save you and them time and effort.
- It is essential to follow the foundation’s proposal guidelines. You must provide them with every piece of information they request in the format they request.
- Allen County Public Library. The Allen County Public Library has an excellent grant research center, including online foundation directories that are more up-to-date than printed versions. We recommend this resource as the starting place for proposal research. The librarians are very helpful and the library lets you print free copies of source information.
For Steps in Completing a Grant Proposal, please click here.