Elements of a Good Proposal

Different grant-making organizations have different elements that they look for when awarding grants, so always pay close attention to the specific grant-making agency or group you are making an application to, but these elements from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham are pretty hard to beat.

SOURCE:  The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham

The Community Foundation looks for certain key principles as we consider grant proposals. As you complete your application, consider how your program, project or capital project takes these elements into account.

Accountability: Does the proposal use reliable data to design and implement strategies that address a critical community need or opportunity? Does it avoid duplication of existing services and document the need for additional services?

Collaboration: Does the proposal bring people and organizations together to form effective partnerships and collaborations?

Evaluation: Does the proposal include an effective mechanism for measuring the program outcomes?

Innovation: Can this pilot project, if successful, be duplicated by other organizations?

Justice: Does this proposal promote equity, mutual respect and understanding, and open access for all?

Leverage: Does this proposal provide a way to amplify our resources by forming partnerships with other grantmakers, government agencies or the private sector?

Management: Does the nonprofit organization comply with Core Operating Standards for Start-Up Organizations and demonstrate the expertise and experience necessary to accomplish the project?

Planning: Does the project advance the mission of the organization, is it driven by the organization’s board and does it include clearly stated goals, timelines and objectives?

Prevention: Does the proposed strategy allow intervention at a point where it is possible to focus on the root causes of a problem?

Social capital: Does the proposal build and promote connections among people of different racial, ethnic, age or income groups in a way that strengthens communities?

Sustainable: Does the nonprofit organization operate under sound financial principles and have a plan for ongoing financial and community support to ensure its own future and that of the project?

Systems approach: Does the proposal take a broader, systemic approach to meeting community needs, recognizing that such needs do not exist in isolation?

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