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The 5 Most Common Grant Application Elements

You probably feel overwhelmed when thinking about writing a grant proposal to apply for an award or keeping up with the volume of applications you must manage.

That’s understandable. Grant proposals are a lot of work, but we’re here to help.


Knowing what will be expected of you in advance can help you be prepared and gain an advantage. We want to give you a quick overview of the 5 most common elements that are often required in grant applications so you can make a bigger impact.

Most grant applications will require all or some of the following elements in your proposal.

1. Executive Summary

As the first piece of your proposal that the review committee will read, it’s important to make this as strong as possible. An Executive Summary should be a clear, concise, synopsis of your proposed grant-funded project that provides a step-by-step preview of the main points in your proposal.

2. Program Goals & Objectives

This section is an opportunity for you to draw explicit parallels between your project and the funders goals. Be as specific as possible. This section should contain what is called your “Problem Statement,” or sometimes a “Needs Assessment.” Use hard data to clearly describe the situation or issue that needs to be resolved, why it is happening, and how your project makes a difference.

3. Plan of Work or Methodology

A Plan of Work or Methodology is a clear and detailed description of the methods and procedures your team will use to complete the proposed project. Breaking your project down into phases is often helpful. If the application requires a detailed project plan, you can break these tasks down by week. Be as specific as possible with the schedule by trying to anticipate the various steps your team might need to take to reach each milestone.

4. Team Qualifications

Use this section to convince your audience of your credibility by highlighting each team member’s relevant skills and experiences. This section is a short, narrative biography of each team member, and your organization – not a resume.

5. Budget

Your budget should include a table that breaks down the items needed, the cost per item, and the total cost for the project. All costs should be added together and match the total money you are requesting from the funder to complete the project.

*Pro-tip: A table is a visual that should never stand alone, so a written paragraph (or two) that explains the budget and the need for distinct items will make your proposal stand out.

The reality is that while writing a grant proposal and going through the application review process can be time-consuming, most grants are awarded based on a review of the 5 elements listed above. This means you have some control over the process, and if you are prepared, you can increase your chances of winning an award.

Getting support from Grant Management Software like AmpliFund can help you find and win more grant funding by providing you with a tool built specifically to research available opportunities and standardize the way you approach applications.

Knowing the elements of a grant proposal is just a small piece of the puzzle in writing a successful grant proposal. For more detailed step-by-step help in every phase of the process, check out the AmpliFund guide, “How to Write an Effective Grant Proposal.”

Download the Guide

*Photo by LN_Photoart from Pixabay.

Topics:  FundingGrant Writing