After coming up with your idea and writing a grant proposal, it is now time to finalize your proposal, submit it, and follow-up when needed. Although this final part of submitting a grant proposal is an often-overlooked part of the process as writers may get ahead of themselves and submit their proposals right away, it is an integral part of increasing the chances of your grant proposal being accepted.
Once your grant proposal is fully written, it is time to go through and make sure you do not have any spelling or grammatical mistakes. In many cases, such mistakes can be seen as unprofessional and will negatively affect the chances of your grant proposal being accepted. As is the case with other manuscript submissions, it is recommended that researchers use professional editorial services with expertise in copy editing to ensure that the manuscript is free of any such mistakes. A grant proposal is also likely to have calculations in various sections of the proposal to explain the funds requested and the breakdown of the way they are to be used. It is important to ensure that the calculations are correct and are also reflected accurately. The appearance of discrepancies will look unprofessional and will likely have the funder question the viability of the project.
After making sure that the proposal is ready to be submitted, it is recommended that researchers go through the submission details to ensure that they are not missing anything. Checking due dates before submitting is important, as it is not unusual for different agencies to have varying time windows for submitting grant proposals, and submitting outside of that time window may result in your proposal never being reviewed. Also, before proceeding with the final submission of the proposal, it is necessary to go through the submission items requested on the website, such as different forms and various documents. Although researchers may have already included some documents to showcase finances and previous projects, funders will often request specific documents that, if not submitted, may result in the proposal not being reviewed. There are also other submission guidelines that could include page numbers, font size, and other technical issues. Make sure that your submission follows all the requests laid out. Also, many funders have a public page that showcases scoring criteria for each section of the proposal. It is helpful to look through this scoring criteria and see how the different sections measure up to it (Health Resources Services Administration [HRSA], n.d.).
After submitting your proposal, there is a waiting period that is usually stated on the website. There are two outcomes after your submission. The proposal may be accepted or rejected. Following up is recommended in both scenarios.
If your grant has been accepted, you should consider calling and thanking the funding organization or sending a thank you letter, which would also mention tax deductibility if applicable. After extending your appreciation, it is important to take the lead in implementing the project. Call the project manager and ask them for a meeting and alert other people who are working on your project. Ensure that you have specific dates marked down on your calendar showing the exact date reports and other documents are due. Check in with your project lead on a regular basis and alert the funder ahead of time if you foresee any challenges or delays. Finally, stay in touch with the funder as time goes by, as the staff members will appreciate regular updates about the project and how it is going (Library Strategies, 2017).
On the other hand, your proposal may be rejected. When this happens, remember not to take the rejection personally, as it does not always mean that the proposal was not worthwhile or written professionally. Funders often receive more requests than they can fund, and they might have found another request to have been more relevant to the funder’s mission or more urgent. It is recommended to reach out to the staff member you were in contact with to find out the reason the proposal was not accepted and ways to make it stronger. It is often the case that you could not have done anything differently, and it was a decision based on other factors. Some funders will allow you to read other accepted proposals, so it might be helpful to go through those. It is recommended that you send a letter of thanks addressed to the staff member you were in contact with, as this will establish a positive connection that may become useful in the future (Library Strategies, 2017).
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- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). (n.d.). Tips for writing & submitting good grant proposals. Health Resources and Services Administration. https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/grants/apply/writestrong/grantwritingtips.pdf
- Library Strategies. (2017). Following-up on your grant proposal. Library Strategies. https://www.librarystrategiesconsulting.org/2017/05/following-up-on-your-grant-proposal/