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This post is one of a series about what goes into proposals that win grants. Its topic is personnel plans. Its context is the United States of America.


The ultimate success of a grant-funded project or initiative depends largely upon who does the work and how well each person does it. Descriptions of staff qualifications and roles (known also as quality of personnel narratives) help funders to decide which applicants win grants and which ones don’t.




Among the factors that reviewers often use in determining the quality of personnel who are proposed to manage or implement a grant-funded project or initiative are:

  1. Required qualifications are appropriate
  2. Actual qualifications of named key personnel are appropriate
  3. Suitable personnel are identified by name
  4. Current resumes or curricula vitae are available for all key personnel
  5. Time commitments are clear, explicit, and appropriate
  6. Experience and educational attainment levels are appropriate
  7. Position descriptions fit the specific proposal


Other factors that help reviewers to judge the quality of personnel include:

  1. Position descriptions include all expected elements
  2. Key personnel have outstanding professional accomplishments
  3. All key leadership positions have administrative experience
  4. A plan or policy for nondiscriminatory employment is in place
  5. Evidence is given that the applicant in fact observes its nondiscrimination policies


If possible, for each identified key position:

  1. Prepare a brief biographical sketch
  2. Identify each specific person by name, title or position, and affiliation
  3. State the person’s highest level of educational attainment
  4. Present and quantify the person’s relevant experience
  5. Present the person’s relevant professional accomplishments or distinctions


Whom an applicant proposes to do the work, manage the work, and evaluate the work can make or break its competitive grant proposal. Applicants need to be certain that their staffing plans demonstrate the organization’s capacity to deliver high-quality results.



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