A Step-By-Step Guide: How To Write A Winning Grant Proposal

James Lintzer |

Crafting the perfect grant proposal is like creating a gourmet meal. It takes time, effort, and the right ingredients to get it just right. 

A well-crafted grant proposal can open the door to new opportunities and funding for your organization or project, so it pays to have a solid understanding of what makes a successful proposal. 

In this article, you’ll learn the key elements of a winning grant proposal. With the right information and approach, you can put your best foot forward and submit a proposal that’s sure to get the attention of potential funders.

What Is a Grant Proposal?

When it comes to learning how to write a grant proposal, the key is to know what a grant proposal is in the first place. A grant proposal is an application that outlines your organization’s needs and qualifications, as well as a plan of action to meet your goals and objectives. 

Grants are usually funded by a third-party funder, such as a government agency or nonprofit foundation, and proposals for these grants are often a required part of securing grant funding. The grant proposal is designed to convince the funder that your organization is capable and worthy of receiving grant funds.

A grant proposal is your opportunity to show funders that you have a clear plan and are capable of successfully accomplishing your goals. The key to a successful grant application is to make it as easy as possible for a funder to say yes.

This means you must address the funder’s needs, demonstrate alignment with their mission, and clearly show how you’ll use the funds to make a difference. 

The process of crafting a grant proposal can be challenging, but it also provides an incredible opportunity to reflect on your organization and its goals, as well as your areas of expertise. 

A successful grant proposal typically includes the following components:

  • Problem and need statement
  • Background and research
  • Goals and objectives
  • Evaluation plan
  • Budget (explains how you will track your program’s progress and shows how funds will be spent)

Researching & Finding the Right Grant

The first step in writing a winning grant proposal is researching and finding the right grant to apply for. Here are some tips for finding the right grant for your venture:

  • Conduct online research about different types of grants (e.g. government, corporate, foundations)
  • Interview people at foundations you’re interested in.
  • Network with other organizations and professionals in your field.
  • Once you’ve identified a grant that you’re interested in, you’ll need to do some careful research. This will help you understand the grant, who gives it out, and how you can apply for it. 

Here are some things to look for when researching a grant: 

  • Grant title
  • Grant program overview
  • Grant amount
  • Grant end date (if applicable)
  • Grantor (the organization that gives out the grant)
  • Application instructions 

What to Include in Your Grant Proposal

After you’ve identified a grant you’re interested in, it’s time to put together a grant proposal. This key document will outline the project, your goals, and the need for funding. 

Cover Letter

A cover letter is an essential part of your grant proposal, but it is often overlooked by organizations. The cover letter is your opportunity to show that you’ve done your research, appreciate their mission, and understand the goals of their grant program. 

A well-written cover letter can help you to stand out as an applicant, make a great first impression, and put you in a better position to get your proposal approved. 

Overview & Problem Statement

The overview and problem statement section is where you restate the problem that your project aims to solve and why it’s important. The goal of this section is to show the grantor that the problem is real and that your project is a viable solution.

Introduction & Background Information

After you’ve included an overview and problem statement, the next step is to introduce the grantor to your project. You can do this in one or two paragraphs outlining the project and its goals. 

This section is also a good place to include a little bit of background information about your organization, your team, and the project itself. Keep in mind that the purpose of this section is not to rehash the problem statement or restate what’s already been stated. 

Your Goals & Objectives

This section is where you’ll outline specific goals for the project and how you’ll achieve them. You’ll also have the opportunity to outline how your project will benefit the community. 

Here, you’ll want to be as specific as possible and provide clear goals for your project. This will help the grantor to see the value in your project.


How will you evaluate a grant-funded project’s success? That’s what your evaluation section will outline. In an effective grant evaluation plan, you’ll lay out your goals and objectives, as well as what steps you’ll take to track your progress.


The budget section is where you detail how you’ll use the funds to make your project a reality. Your budget should be detailed and realistic. It’s a good idea to get input from your board or other advisors on your budget before submitting it with your grant proposal. 

This will help ensure your budget is accurate and the figures add up. A detailed and realistic budget will show the funder you have a clear understanding of the challenges ahead and you’re prepared to tackle them. It also helps the funder see how the funds will be put to use.

Funding Resources & Sustainability

You’ll also want to discuss funding resources and sustainability. This is where you’ll discuss how you’ll sustain the project if the grantor does award you with the funding. This is important because many grantors want to make sure the project will be sustainable and won’t need their funding in the future. 

Writing a Winning Grant Proposal

Writing a winning grant proposal is a challenging but rewarding process. The first step is to understand the funder’s needs, the requirements of the grant, and the narrative required in the proposal. Once you have a firm grasp on these elements, you can begin writing a winning proposal. Speed up the grant writing process with jSign. Using our e-signature platform, you won’t have to worry about paper proposals or long, drawn out email threads anymore. The online signature process makes things easier, and everything is stored in one location. When you use jSign, a winning grant proposal could be just a few clicks away. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today.

James Lintzer
Senior Marketing Manager

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