December 20, 2010

How to write a good proposal summary

From {Centered}:
Almost every grant request must include a proposal summary. But what goes into a good one? Most funders will prescribe what the summary should include. But in the absence of instructions, here’s what Arianna Dogil and Carrie Rothburd ("The Elements of a Good Proposal Abstract," CharityChannel, October 6, 2010) say your summary should include:

  • The name of your organization and contact information
  • The need and purpose of the project for which funds are requested
  • The people or constituency who will be served
  • An overview of the project, including what will be done, how it will be done, and its goals and objectives
  • What you expect to achieve, and how you will measure success
  • How much you’re asking for

Dogil and Rothburd also provide examples. They suggest using bold headers and bulleted or numbered lists to make the summary easy to read. Finally, they advise you to write it after you’ve written the proposal itself. This can make it easier to then go back and streamline the full proposal, because it forces you to decide:

  • What are the most important elements of the project?
  • What is it absolutely critical to know about the project in order to understand it?
  • What must your reader know in order to understand why this particular project should be funded now and can’t wait?

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