Grant Application Tips

To make your grant application competitive:

•   Applications that have been thoroughly prepared stand out to reviewers. Spend time writing the application, thinking of ideas for programs, and lining up support in the library and in the community, and you will see better results in both the application process and when developing and implementing the program.

•   Read the application carefully and answer all questions directly and with as much detail as possible. Pay particular attention to requirements mentioned in the application.

•   Think beyond the boundaries of normal library operating procedure in completing your application. If your application states that you plan to publicize a program through all of the normal channels and rely on an audience that already attends programs or focus on standard program formats, it will not compare favorably with one that offers new publicity strategies to attract new audiences, presents creative ideas for programs, and demonstrates that the library will approach this project with a fresh outlook in order to make it a success.

•   Submit letters of support from groups you mention in your application and plan to work with on the project. Libraries are encouraged to enlist the support of community organizations in presenting these programs. Their presence adds weight to your application and shows that you are committed to making the program succeed.

•   If you use statistics to describe your service area, your targeted audience, or any other part of the proposal, be sure you indicate where they were obtained or use reasonable estimates and indicate their basis.

•   Think through the answers to each question on the application. Be careful not to restate the question and make sure that each answer provides detail and shows your commitment to the program.

•   Provide all signatures and attachments requested. In particular, if a scholar is required for a project, you must submit a scholar's resume with your application, or it will be considered incomplete.

•   Pay close attention to your application's appearance, clarity, enthusiasm, spelling, and organization. Ask yourself: if I were the reviewer, what would be my impression of this proposal? Would I find it easy to follow and understand? Would I be excited by the programs proposed? Use bold face type, bullets, italics, and other devices to make points and help organize your proposal, but be careful not to overdo it. Use simple, direct sentences. Check and double-check spelling. Convey your own excitement about the project.

Read the original application carefully after you have completed your proposal to be sure you have answered all questions, are submitting the attachments required, have all signatures, and have met other requirements.