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Writing a Proposal

How to:

Advice

  • Read all the sponsor's requirements.  Then read them again. The memorize them.
  • If the sponsor's program announcement provides proposal evaluation criteria, use them as guidelines while you write and as a checklist before you finalize the application.
  • If you have questions about what a requirement means, contact the program representative identified in the RFP by email and ask for written clarification.
  • Write your proposal following the content and structure stated in the sponsor's guidelines.  Make sure you cover every item in the order given.  Use the sponsor's topic headings.  Reviewers will be looking for specific information at specific places in your proposal; if they can't find it easily, they will assume it is missing.
  • Follow the sponsor's rules.  No exceptions.  Even if you believe you have a better way or a better idea, give the sponsor what they want.
  • Don't try to solve all the world's problems with one project.  Establish a project scope limited enough for you to do well and broad enough to meet all the grant sponsor's requirements.
  • Write for the sponsor, not for yourself or the university.  Your proposal is not about what you really want to do.  Defer to the sponsor's priorities, use the sponsor's language, and reflect the sponsor's perspective.
  • Paint a clear, credible, engaging picture of yourself, your project team members, and Tarleton.
  • Sound enthusiastic and confident.
  • Don't make promises you can't keep.  Don't shade the truth.
  • Write and package the proposal so it is easy to read.  Don't exceed length limits; reviewers will discard your proposal.  Obey all instructions concerning margins, type size, line spacing and other formatting.
  • Allow adequate time to write, review, revise, obtain the necessary internal approvals for, and submit the proposal.  Do NOT procrastinate.