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It’s often observed in certain circles that there’s more to winning a grant than merely writing a proposal. And indeed there is!


For planning purposes, it may prove useful to other potential grant seekers to consider grant proposal development as a four-dimensional process of:

  1. Research
  2. Communication
  3. Budget
  4. Writing


How much time each takes separately as part of the overall enterprise of creating a fundable proposal will vary greatly with the grant opportunity. As components of the total time required to develop a proposal – by way of illustration only – Research could take 20%, Communication could take 25%, Budget could take 10%, and Writing could take 45%.


Research Dimension:

Among the core tasks that define the Research Dimension are:

  • Locating and selecting grant leads
  • Retrieving and analyzing data
  • Finding model programs and/or effective practices
  • Developing a literature review


Communication Dimension:

Among the core tasks that define the Communication Dimension are:

  • Creating and formalizing partnerships
  • Communicating with all stakeholders
  • Coordinating with proposal team members
  • Contacting and corresponding with grant program officers
  • Negotiating partners’ participation, objectives, and other key elements
  • Holding meetings of any type
  • Obtaining signatures and signed letters of commitment


Budget Dimension:

Among the core tasks that define the Budget Dimension are:

  • Preparing line item budgets
  • Verifying cost items
  • Justifying cost items (often in a separate narrative)
  • Completing budget forms


Writing Dimension:

Among the core tasks that define the Writing Dimension are:

  • Drafting (and redrafting) entire proposal
  • Editing and proofreading entire proposal
  • Labeling and assembling entire proposal
  • Submitting the completed proposal

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