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This post offers an overview of the 400+ pages posted to this blog in the past five years. It may serve visitors as an aid in searching Grant Results for posts about diverse practical aspects of grant writing as a career, state and national resources for grant seekers, and sundry tools and tips for writing competitive grant proposals. With the few exceptions noted, its context is the United States of America.


Grant Writing as a Career

  • Common Career Paths
  • What Grant Writers Do
  • Essential Tools/Skills
  • Where Grant Writers Work
  • When Grant Writers Work


Grant Consulting: Rates and Fees

  • Hourly Rates and Flat Rates
  • Prospect Research Fees
  • Retainer Fees
  • Proposal Revision and Review Fees
  • Proposal Planning and Other Fees


Grant Writer Salaries

  • Median Annual Salaries
  • Median Salaries in All 50 US States
  • Median Salaries in 51 US Cities
  • Median Salaries in Australia
  • Median Salaries in Canada
  • Median Salaries in the United Kingdom
  • Median Salaries in Mexico
  • Median Salaries in the Caribbean Region


Professional Associations for Grant Writers


Grant Writers’ Networks

  • Purposes and Benefits
  • Questions for Start-Ups
  • Online Presence


Grant Writing Dictionaries:

  • Budget Development Dictionary A-Z
  • Proposal Development Dictionary A-Z


Finding Funding: Sources of Federal Grants


Finding State Education Grants

  • Southwest
  • Northwest
  • Great Plains
  • Midwest
  • Southeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • New England


State Grant Maker Directories

  • Southwest
  • Northwest
  • Great Plains
  • Midwest
  • Southeast
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • New England
  • Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands


Writing Competitive Grant Proposals

  • SMART Goals
  • PESTLE Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Red Team Reviews
  • RASCI Charts
  • Gantt Charts
  • Using Strategic Plans


Grant Writing Basics

  • Abstracts
  • Needs Assessments
  • Research-based Rationales
  • Project Objectives
  • Project Goals
  • Timelines
  • Personnel Plans
  • Management Plans
  • Dissemination Plans
  • Sustainability Plans
  • Evaluation Plans
  • Itemized Budgets
  • Budget Justifications
  • Proposal Attachments
  • Tables of Contents
  • Cover Letters


Common Proposal Application Forms

  • Proposal Elements
  • Contacting Funders
  • Roles of Evaluation
  • Lengths and Formats
  • Revenue Sources
  • Expense Categories


Why Proposals Don’t Win Grants

  • Choices of Opportunities
  • Applicant Attributes
  • Context and Competition
  • Grant Readiness
  • Proposal Content
  • Development and Delivery


Logic Models

  • Performance Indicators and Logic Models
  • Elements of a Logic Model
  • Defining a Logic Model
  • Basics of Logic Models
  • Types of Logic Models
  • Benefits of Logic Models
  • Alternative Logic Models
  • Use of Logic Models in Evaluation


Myths in Grant-Seeking

  • Myth of Instantaneity
  • Myth of Uniformity
  • Myth of Needless Complexity
  • Myth of Automaticity
  • Myth of Universal Eligibility
  • Myth of Substitutability
  • Myth of Omnipotence
  • Myth of Relationships


Proposal Boilerplate and Proposal Templates

  • Uses of Boilerplate in Grant Proposals
  • Hazards of Cloned Proposals
  • Using Proposal Templates


Funding Success Rates


Learning from Technical Review Forms


Return on Investment as a Metric for Grant Writers



In Australia, in 2018, local professional Grant Writers appear to earn sizable salaries. Due to the limits of readily available and timely data, such a conclusion is, however, subject to revision.


This post explores available data on the salaries of Grant Writers in Australia. Other posts will explore grant writing as a career in other parts of the world.


Average Salaries


Data from for the selected cities for which it reports data, indicate that the average salaries of mid-career Grant Writers range from a low of A$91,021 in Brisbane, QLD to a high of A$106,483 in Sydney, NSW. For early career Grant Writers, the averages range from a low of A$65,387 in Brisbane, QLD to a high of A$76,494 in Sydney, NSW. And for late career Grant Writers, the averages range from a low of A$112,504, also in Brisbane, QLD, to a high of A$131,614, also in Sydney, NSW.


City and State/Territory Early Career 2018 Average Late Career
Canberra, ACT A$67,827 A$94,417 A$116,701
Sydney, NSW A$76,494 A$106,483 A$131,614
Alice Springs, NT A$67,553 A$94,035 A$116,229
Darwin, NT A$68,083 A$94,774 A$117,142
Brisbane, QLD A$65,387 A$91,021 A$112,504
Townsviille, QLD A$66,785 A$92,967 A$114,909
Adelaide, SA A$67,518 A$93,988 A$116,170
Hobart, TAS A$66,490 A$92,556 A$114,401
Melbourne, VIC A$73,124 A$101,791 A$125,816
Perth, WT A$69,291 A$96,455 A$119,220
Australia A$71,855 A$100,025 A$123,632


Alternative Salary Ranges also presents a fairly rosy picture for Grant Writers in Australia, but the sample size is far too small to be reliable. This online information source indicates that the national average salary for Grant Writers is A$59,159, with a range of A$41,222 to A$104,000. Data at the levels of Australian states and cities are not available.


As of 2018, Sydney has the highest cost of living in Australia, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. Overall consumer prices are 15.56% higher in Australia than in the US.


Note on Conversion Rates


All data presented here are in Australian dollars (A$). As of the week of this post, the A$ has been trading at A$1.25 to US$1.00 in international exchange rates; consequently, one may convert data to US salary equivalents by multiplying the Australian salaries by 0.80. As examples, this results in the national averages for Australia being equivalent to US$57,484, US$80,020, and US$98,905.


The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from R to Z (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Restricted Funds Supplanting
Review Panel Supplies
Salaries Sustainability
Seed Money Travel
Selection Criteria Unallowable Costs
Sequestration Uniform Application Forms
Single Point of Contact (SPOC) Unrestricted Funds
Soft Funds Wages
Standard Form Zero Funding


RESTRICTED FUNDS: Funds that a grant recipient may use only for predetermined purposes – such as those defined in the approved budget of a funded grant proposal – and that, consequently, it cannot expend as general funds. Also see: Unrestricted Funds.


REVIEW PANEL: A group of peers or experts retained by a grant maker to evaluate the merits of grant proposals in a grant competition and to recommend which ones should be funded. Sometimes the reviewers may include one or more directors or trustees of a foundation.


SALARIES: The compensation of professional and technical personnel – who are typically limited only to those holding a post-secondary degree – before the addition of fringe benefits.


SEED MONEY: A grant award intended to help start a new project or initiative or to launch a new non-profit organization. It also may be called a Start-Up Grant.


SELECTION CRITERIA: The formal set of factors a grant maker uses in scoring and ranking a set of competitive proposals to determine which ones it will select for funding. It also may be called Criteria or Review Criteria.


SEQUESTRATION: A mandatory spending cut in the federal budget, such as through a repeal of legislation authorizing a grant program, a reduction of the funding appropriated for a grant program, or an appropriation of no funding for a grant program.


SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT (SPOC): A person in state government whom an applicant must inform when it is applying for a federal grant in the United States of America. A list of single points of contact is maintained at the federal Office of Management and the Budget. Some states have a SPOC, others don’t.


SOFT FUNDS: A non-technical term for the funding of staff positions or other resources using grant funds rather than other means such as revenues from tax levies; it reflects the premise that such assets are not as secure, over the long term, as those funded using other means (e.g., annual tax levies). Also see: Hard Funds.


STANDARD FORM: A blank template that an applicant must complete and submit, as each specific program requires, with its application for a federal grant. A comprehensive collection of standard forms is available via the federal General Services Administration, but be certain to observe strictly the cautionary guidance available at the GSA site.


SUB-GRANTEE: A lower-tier recipient (e.g., a county agency) of grant funds from a higher-tier recipient of those funds (e.g., a state agency) and not directly from the grant maker; also called a sub-recipient. Also see: Grantee.


SUPPLANTING: A deliberate shifting or displacement in the source of funds (e.g., state or local) used to afford a given resource (e.g., personnel) in an organization because of the availability of federal grant funds after a new grant award. One caveat in many government grant programs is “Do not supplant.”


SUPPLIES: A cost category for consumable resources such as paper, pens, pencils, postage, folders, files, binders, paperclips, toner, blank data storage media, and similar office products. Definitions and thresholds for value of the discrete items vary widely across grant programs and funding agencies. Also see: Materials.


SUSTAINABILITY: A measure of the perceived likelihood that an applicant (and its partners, if any) will be able to obtain and use funding (and other resources) from itself and/or other sources to continue its proposed project or initiative after its initial grant funding ends. Grant makers of all types often favor proposals that exhibit a high potential for sustainability.


TRAVEL: A cost category for costs associated with going place-to-place, including fares (e.g., air, bus, train, taxi, or shuttle), vehicle rentals or leases, mileage, tolls, meals, tips, and lodging. Every item assigned to this category must be clearly defined and thoroughly justified.


UNALLOWABLE COSTS: The cost categories or discrete line items that a grant maker forbids or discourages an applicant to include as part of a proposed budget. Also see: Allowable Costs.


UNIFORM APPLICATION FORMS: The standard forms that applicants must complete and submit with applications for federal grants; several of them require specific or detailed budget information. Examples: SF-424 and SF-524. In federal programs, these are associated with specific notices of grant opportunities posted on


UNRESTRICTED FUNDS: Funds from a grant or any other source that an organization may use for any legal purpose, such as general funds or operating funds. Also see: Restricted Funds.


WAGES: The hourly compensation of non-professional personnel – typically all of those who do not hold a post-secondary degree – before the addition of fringe benefits, if any.


ZERO FUNDING: The termination of a grant program authorized by law or regulation by ending all appropriations for funding it.


This post concludes a seven-part series on Budget Development. A second five-part series of posts covers Proposal Development.







The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from O to R (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Operating Support Grant Project Income
Other Project Period
Overhead Proposal
Pass-Through Funding Recipient
Personnel Regulations
Private Foundation Replicability
Program Office Request for Proposals (RFP)
Program Officer Research Grant


OPERATING SUPPORT GRANT: A grant that supports the general purpose or work of an applicant, and as such may be used as general revenue or unrestricted funding.


OTHER: A cost category commonly used in state and federal grant programs for budget items that do not fit other categories. Every item assigned to this category should be as clearly defined and as well justified as every other item in a proposed budget. Avoid using this cost category for proposing budget line items vaguely identified as “contingency” or as “miscellaneous.”


OVERHEAD: See: Indirect Costs.


PASS-THROUGH FUNDING: A scheme for the distribution of funding where a first tier of grant recipients (e.g., state agencies) administers a grant program, awards sub-grants to a second tier of eligible applicants (e.g., school districts); and performs a yearly program audit of the second-tier grant recipients. It also may be called Flow-Through Funding.


PERSONNEL: A cost category for the human resources or labor, internal to the applicant as an organization, who will be involved in implementing a project; it includes positions paid in salaries and those paid in wages, and it excludes all independent contractors (e.g., evaluators and other consultants). Personnel may or may not be paid out of a proposed grant budget. Also see: Key Personnel, Staff, and Staffing Plan.


PRIVATE FOUNDATION: A legally defined type of nonprofit organization whose directors or trustees conduct charitable programs for social, cultural, educational, religious, or other permissible purposes.


PROGRAM OFFICE: An administrative unit, within a grant-making organization, that implements or coordinates the details of conducting a grant program, including the review and ranking of applications.


PROGRAM OFFICER: An administrator on the staff of a grant-making organization who runs a specific grant program, manages grant competitions, and provides technical assistance either to potential grant applicants or to existing grant recipients or to both.


PROJECT: The entire proposed plan for which an applicant requests grant funds.


PROJECT INCOME: The revenue an applicant’s project is expected to generate during a given time-span; it may include products sold, membership dues, service fees, earned interest, and funds raised by other means. It may also be called Program Income or Revenue.


PROJECT PERIOD: The total time for which support of a discretionary project has been approved; it is usually a series of one-year budget periods. Most project periods last one to five years; some may be longer, others may be shorter. Also see: Budget Period and Grant Period.


PROPOSAL: A written application of vastly varying length and content, submitted to one or more grant makers, describing a plan or initiative to meet one or more identified needs, and requesting partial or full funding for its support. Some grant makers and grant programs require much more formal, detailed, and highly structured proposals – narratives and budgets – than do others. It also may be called an Application or a Funding Request.


RECIPIENT: An individual or organization that will receive a grant or has received a grant. Also see: Grantee.


REGULATIONS: Administrative guidelines for government grants, issued after enabling legislation, which establish and define eligible applicants; eligible beneficiaries; the nature of activities to be funded; allowable costs; selection criteria for proposal review; and other requirements. Example: Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR).


REPLICABILITY: The proven or predicted ability of a project’s effective activities and strategies to be transportable to another setting and to generate similar results in it; it is a factor in considering the potential impact of an initial grant award and it is a criterion often associated with grant programs that fund demonstration projects. Also see: Demonstration Grant.


REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP): A formal invitation to apply for a grant that describes what types of applicants are eligible to apply; when proposals are due; the program selection criteria; the contents required in a complete proposal; anticipated levels and durations of funding; and other considerations. The specific length and contents of an RFP vary widely from one grant program and one solicitation to another. Also may be called a Request for Applications (RFA) or a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).


RESEARCH GRANT: A grant designed to support research rather than to support other purposes such as direct services or general operating costs. Also see: Direct Services Grant.


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters R to Z.








The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from I to N (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Indirect Costs (IDC) Leveraging
Invitational Priority Market Value
Lead Agent (Applicant) Matching Funds
Lead Agent (Grant Maker) Matching Grant
Letter of Commitment Materials
Letter of Inquiry Multiyear Budget
Letter of Intent (LOI) Non-Competitive Grant
Letter of Support Novice Applicant
Level Funding


INDIRECT COSTS (IDC): A cost category for costs that are not readily allocable to or identifiable with operating a specific grant program; it is also often called Overhead. Indirect costs equal direct costs multiplied by the approved indirect cost rate (IDC = DC x rate). Such costs commonly relate to administration and facilities. Generally, a government agency, as a grant maker, reimburses indirect costs only after it has negotiated and approved an indirect cost rate with the grant recipient. As grant makers, foundations are less apt than units of government to allow full or partial recovery of an organization’s indirect costs. Also see: Direct Costs and Indirect Cost Rate.


INVITATIONAL PRIORITY: An area of special focus that a grant maker would prefer to see an applicant address in its proposal, but which does not affect the review, rating, or rank ordering of proposals.


LEAD AGENCY (Applicant): The organization that submits a proposal on behalf of a partnership of two or more organizations and that serves as the grant recipient. If funded, the lead agency is legally responsible for implementing and administering its funded project, for properly managing all grant funds, and for submitting all required reports. Also see: Fiscal Agent.


LEAD AGENCY (Grant Maker): Particularly in federal grant making, the agency or program office with the primary responsibility for approving or funding a project. It reviews the proposals, coordinates with other involved agencies, and notifies the applicant of its funding outcome.


LETTER OF COMMITMENT: A brief official letter that conveys the willingness of a partner organization to commit cash or other resources to a proposed project; it specifies the terms and conditions of the commitment, the precise resources to be offered or delivered, and the actual or estimated values of those resources. Also see: Letter of Support.


LETTER OF INQUIRY (LOI): A brief, but formal, mode of grant application, typically one to five pages long, often used when an applicant seeks a grant from a foundation; it commonly includes: an introduction; a problem statement; objectives and activities; an evaluation plan; an organizational capacity statement; and a budget. The letter of inquiry often forms a basis for deciding whether the foundation will request a full proposal from an applicant. Informally, also known as an LOI.


LETTER OF INTENT: A brief official letter or email (or other specified form of notification) from a potential applicant to a grant maker that conveys its intention to apply for funding. The grant maker may request or require the letter of intent in order to gauge the number of applicants likely to be competing for funding in a given grant program. Alternatively, some grant makers may use the term as a synonym for Letter of Inquiry.


LETTER OF SUPPORT: A brief official letter that conveys the enthusiasm, endorsement, and encouragement of an individual or an organization for an applicant’s proposed grant project or initiative and for its request for funding, but does not explicitly commit resources to it. Also see: Letter of Commitment.


LEVEL FUNDING: An amount of grant funding that does not change from year to year during a multiyear grant period.


LEVERAGING: A measure of the potential role that a given grant award is likely to have in attracting other funding or resources to a proposed project or initiative. As the specific grant maker requires, an applicant may present either a ratio of requested grant funds to total project funds or a ratio of requested grant funds to funds from other sources.


MARKET VALUE: The economic value of a resource (e.g., volunteer labor at minimum wage) as determined up to the date and time an applicant submits a proposal (e.g., the wage rate in effect on or before that date); often, an applicant determines market value by checking an official government publication or website or by reviewing a grant program’s regulations.


MATCHING FUNDS: The share of the total costs of a project or initiative, as required by law or regulation, which comes from any source other than the specific grant being sought; the matching funds may consist of the fair market value of donated resources (in-kind contributions) or of actual cash to be spent (cash) or of both. See the table for examples when an applicant is requesting a $200,000 grant award. Also see: Cost Sharing.


Calculating Matching Funds
Match Required Grant Maker Share Local Share Total Budget
50% Match = 1:1 $200,000 grant $200,000 local     $400,000
33% Match = 2:1 $200,000 grant $100,000 local     $300,000
25% Match = 3:1 $200,000 grant $66,700 local     $266,700
20% Match = 4:1 $200,000 grant $50,000 local     $250,000
10% Match = 9:1 $200,000 grant $22,500 local     $222,500


MATCHING GRANT: A grant awarded to an applicant with the intention of matching some of the funds (i.e., as a partial match) or all of the funds (i.e., as a total match) awarded to an applicant by another source. Also see: Challenge Grant.


MATERIALS: A cost category for consumable resources such as media (e.g., books, workbooks, digital videodisks, or software), references, and training products. The category is often conjoined with Supplies or it is subsumed as a part of Supplies. Also see: Supplies.


MULTIYEAR BUDGET: A budget covering all or part of two or more consecutive fiscal or calendar years. Many grant makers require a budget for an entire multiyear project period at the time of the original application for a grant.


NON-COMPETITIVE GRANT: A funding program from which applicants are eligible for a grant award if they complete and submit required materials by a given deadline. Also may be called: a Budget Earmark, an Allocation Grant, an Entitlement Grant, a Formula Grant, or a Mandatory Grant.


NOVICE APPLICANT: An individual or an organization that has not obtained a discretionary grant directly from a specified unit or level of government (e.g., a federal agency) or from a specified grant program within a defined time-span (e.g., the last five fiscal years).


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters O to R.








The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from F to I (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Floor Amount Grant
Form 990-PF Grantee
Formula Grant Grantor
Fringe Benefits Grant Agreement
Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Grant Period
Funding Cycle Guidelines
Funding Offer Hard Funds
Funding Priorities In-Kind Contribution
General Grant Indirect Cost Rate


FLOOR AMOUNT: The minimum amount allowed as a grant request, often stated as the lower limit of an anticipated funding range. Also see: Ceiling Amount.


FORM 990-PF: A yearly Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form required of all private foundations (hence the -PF) that provides a public record of the financial status and grant-making activity of a private foundation. In some respects, Form 990-PF is the equivalent of an annual federal income tax return to be filed by private foundations.


FORMULA GRANT: A non-competitive grant whose amount is established by applying a formula based upon criteria described in a law, amplified in that law’s subsequent regulations, and awarded after a yearly formal application process; it may also called an Entitlement Grant or an Allocation Grant or a Mandatory Grant.


FRINGE BENEFITS: A cost category for non-salary and non-wage modes of staff compensation that accrue to those who qualify for them. Examples of typical fringe benefits are: health insurance; dental insurance; unemployment insurance; workers’ compensation; paid holidays; paid sick leave; paid personal leave; paid vacation days; and FICA (social security). Fringe benefits are usually calculated as percentages (%) of salaries or wages.


FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT (FTE): The financial obligation for one full-time staff member. Two or more persons may split the position in the budget to add up to one full-time equivalent. FTE may be written as a percentage (often abbreviated as % FTE) or as a specific number (N) of hours per week (sometimes abbreviated as N hrs/wk).


FUNDING CYCLE: A sequence of events that starts with a formal public notice that funds are available, and includes the deadline for submission of applications, the review of applications, the award of grants, the completion of contractual documents, and the release of funds; the same sequence may recur in subsequent years if funds are available.


FUNDING OFFER: A proposal by a grant maker, in oral or written form, to award a successful applicant an amount of funding that is less than it had requested; such an offer may occur when the grant maker either does not allow certain proposed line items in an applicant’s budget or does not have enough funds to fund the project or initiative at the full amount requested.


FUNDING PRIORITIES: Project-related factors that grant makers may use to award extra rating-points to otherwise-qualified applicants. Priorities may also include such non-project factors as geographic distribution of grant awards and the diversity of types of funded applicants. Many federal grant programs announce absolute priorities, competitive priorities, or invitational priorities in their requests for proposals. They are also called Funding Preferences.


GENERAL GRANT: A grant designed to subsidize the organization-wide operating expenses of a worthy applicant rather than to provide support for a specific project or initiative. Also called an Operating Support Grant or an Operational Grant. Example: Facility rent and utilities.


GRANT: An award of funding for an eligible recipient to do pre-defined activities using pre-defined resources over a pre-defined time-span to achieve pre-defined objectives and advance towards one or more pre-defined goals, but whose outcomes are less certain than those expected from a contract.


GRANTEE: The organization or individual that receives the grant funds and is responsible for implementing and administering the project or initiative and managing the grant funds; it is also called a Grant Recipient. Also see: Grantor and Sub-grantee.


GRANTOR: The organization (e.g., corporation, foundation, or governmental unit) that awards grants; it is also called the Funder, the Funding Agency, or the Grant Maker. Also see: Grantee and Sub-grantee.


GRANT AGREEMENT: A legally binding and enforceable understanding entered into by a grant recipient with a grant maker; it is commonly based on an approved application made by the grant recipient and it commits the grant recipient to implement certain activities and pursue certain objectives, within a pre-defined time-span, for a specific amount of funding. By reference, it may incorporate other municipal or state or federal statutes and regulations beyond those enabling the grant program.


GRANT PERIOD: The total time-span for which a grant maker has committed to funding a grant recipient; it may or may not last exactly as long as a budget period or a project period. Also see: Budget Period and Project Period.


GUIDELINES: The instructions that describe what the grant maker wants to fund, what applications for funding must contain, how applications – including their budgets – must be prepared and submitted, and how proposals will be reviewed. Also see: Request for Proposals.


HARD FUNDS: A non-technical term for the funding of staff positions or other resources that support a program or initiative by using annual tax levies or similarly predictable and renewable revenues rather than by using grant funds; its character reflects the perception that such assets are more secure, over the long term, than those funded using grant funds. Also see: Soft Funds.


IN-KIND CONTRIBUTION: A non-cash donation of labor (paid staff or unpaid volunteer), facilities, equipment, materials, or supplies to carry out a project. Applicants for grants must exercise extraordinary care in calculating the cash value of in-kind contributions and in identifying, tracking, and reporting the sources of such contributions. Also see: Matching Funds.


INDIRECT COST RATE: An annually revised percentage established by a unit of government for a grant recipient that the recipient uses in computing the amount it charges to a grant to reimburse itself for the indirect costs it incurs in doing the work of the grant-funded project. The rate may be a Final Rate, a Fixed Rate, a Predetermined Rate, or a Provisional Rate. A foundation grant maker also may solicit and approve an applicant’s proposed indirect cost rate before it considers a proposal from an applicant or awards a grant to it.


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters I to N.







The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from D to F (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Demonstration Grant Enabling Legislation
Direct Costs Endowment Fund
Direct Services Grant Equipment
Discretionary Grant External Grant
DUNS Number Family Foundation
Earmark Federated Giving Program
Eligible Activities Fiscal Agent
Eligible Applicants Fiscal Sponsor
Eligibility Criteria Fiscal Year (FY)


DEMONSTRATION GRANT: A grant designed to help an applicant to test, prove, or establish the feasibility or effectiveness of new approaches or new types of services in solving one or more defined problems, or in addressing one or more defined needs.


DIRECT COSTS: Costs directly associated with operating a project and borne using funds from a grant maker. In government grants, direct costs commonly include: personnel (salaries, wages, and fringe benefits), consultants or contractual services, supplies and materials, equipment, travel, construction and renovation, and other. Foundation and corporate categories for allowable direct costs are typically fewer than government categories. Also see: Indirect Costs.


DIRECT SERVICES GRANT: A grant designed to provide services directly to a pre-defined population of beneficiaries rather than to support other purposes such as research or general operating costs. Also see: Research Grant.


DISCRETIONARY GRANT: A grant awarded to a recipient selected after a competitive review based upon the judgment of the grant maker or at the option of the grant maker. A discretionary grant program commonly involves a high ratio of applications to grant awards. Alternatively, in the foundation context, a discretionary grant may also be a grant awarded to a recipient based on the judgment of a member of its board of directors or trustees or at the option of a member of its board of directors or trustees.


DUNS (DATA UNIVERSAL NUMBERING SYSTEM) NUMBER: A unique nine-digit identification number provided by Dun & Bradstreet (for free) and now required as an identifier for every applicant before it applies for a grant from the federal government.


EARMARK: A grant appropriated by a legislative body prior to a peer review. It specifies the applicant’s name, the activity, and the grant amount.


ELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES: A circumscribed set of activities for which applicants can propose to spend available grant funds; enabling state or federal legislation often explicitly defines them, and many public and private grant makers also often define them in their application guidelines or on their websites.


ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Specific and defined types of organizations that may apply for funding from a specific grant program at a specific time. Types commonly include: non-profit organizations, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, state educational agencies, local educational agencies, and federally recognized American Indian tribes, among many others. Depending upon the specific grant maker and the specific grant program, individuals also are often eligible to apply for grants.


ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Qualifying factors that a potential applicant must satisfy before it seeks a grant; often they pertain to the type of individual or organization as an applicant or to the population or geographic area to benefit from a grant.


ENABLING LEGISLATION: A law, enacted at any level of government (e.g., city, borough, county, parish, state, federal), which creates and defines one or more grant programs.


ENDOWMENT FUND: An account of funds set up to be invested in perpetuity to provide income for the continuous support of a non-profit organization. Some foundations will award grants for endowments.


EQUIPMENT: A cost category for durable resources requested in a budget; generally, each discrete item of equipment lasts more than a defined period of time (e.g., one year or three years) and costs more than a defined minimum amount (e.g., $500 or $5,000). Definitions of equipment in terms of durability and minimum cost vary widely among grant makers. Also see: Supplies.


EXTERNAL GRANT: A grant awarded to the applicant by any source other than the applicant itself. Example: For a school district, sources of such external grants include the local community foundation, the state education agency, and the federal education agency.


FAMILY FOUNDATION: An independent, private foundation that the members of a single family fund and maintain. Example: Davis Family Foundation.


FEDERATED GIVING PROGRAM: A collaborative fundraising effort usually administered by a supervising nonprofit organization that in turn distributes the funds generated through that effort as grants to other nonprofit organizations. Example: Tulsa Area United Way.


FISCAL AGENT: An organization that has legal accountability for managing a grant award, for expending its funds, and for reporting on grant expenditures.


FISCAL SPONSOR: A third-party organization that agrees to serve as the fiscal agent for a grant on behalf of an applicant or a consortium of applicants; some grant makers will permit use of a fiscal sponsor, others will not.


FISCAL YEAR (FY): A 12-month period at the end of which the financial accounts are closed for the organization in question. Common fiscal years are: October 1 through September 30 (federal), July 1 through June 30 (states), and January 1 through December 31 (foundations). Organization-wide financial audits commonly occur after the end of each fiscal year.


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters F to I.

The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from C to D (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Ceiling Amount Consultants
Challenge Grant Contact Person
Commitment Continuation Grant
Community Foundation Contractual
Competitive Grant Corporate Grant
Competitive Priority Cost Categories
Concept Paper Cost Sharing
Construction Declining Funding


CEILING AMOUNT: The maximum amount allowed as a grant request, often stated as the upper limit of an anticipated funding range. Also see: Floor Amount.


CHALLENGE GRANT: A grant from a single source intended to lead to further grants from other sources by committing the grant maker to award a grant only if the applicant raises the balance of funds from other sources within a certain time period.


COMMITMENT: A measure of an applicant’s present and future internal investment of its own resources, both cash and in-kind, in an initiative or project that it proposes for external grant funding.


COMMUNITY FOUNDATION: A charitable organization that awards grants in a specific community or geographic region. In general, community foundations receive funds from many donors, maintain them in multiple endowments, and use the endowments’ income to fund grant awards. Example: North Texas Community Foundation.


COMPETITIVE GRANT: A grant program in which eligible applicants submit proposals, the grant maker reviews, rates, and ranks the proposals, and the highest ranked proposals are funded down a list of applicants, usually until available funds are exhausted.


COMPETITIVE PRIORITY: An area of focus which a grant maker would prefer to see as part of an applicant’s proposal; it may affect the rating or the rank ordering of proposals either by the award of additional scoring points or by its use as a tie-breaker.


CONCEPT PAPER: A short variant of a full-length grant application, often only two or three pages long, that may be used or required for applicants seeking a corporate or foundation grant. At the least, it should include a problem statement, a program narrative, and a budget.


CONSTRUCTION: A cost category for the materials used in creating or modifying the facilities where some or all of a project’s activities will take place; by contrast, construction labor itself is a contractual budget line item. Some grant programs disallow construction line items.


CONSULTANTS: Individuals or organizations that provide paid professional advice or services to support a grant-funded project or initiative, but which are not in the employ of the grant recipient or its partners; some grant makers use it as a distinct cost category.


CONTACT PERSON: A person or persons of whom a grant maker may ask questions about the content, nature, and scope of an applicant’s proposal. Examples: The proposed Project Director or the applicant’s Executive Director.


CONTINUATION GRANT: A grant of additional funding awarded for one or more budget periods following the initial budget period of a multiyear discretionary grant; its award may require the applicant to demonstrate adequate progress during a current funding period.


CONTRACTUAL: A cost category for services to be provided by independent contractors in implementing a project. Contractors may be organizations or individuals. Such budget items may include: evaluators, trainers, consultants, partner subcontracts, and many other external providers of services; they may also include contracts for the rental or lease of facilities or equipment or similar resources.


CORPORATE GRANT: A charitable grant awards program funded by a for-profit business or corporation; it may be independent of the corporation and it may have its own endowment. Example: Royal Dutch Shell offers several types of local grants.


COST CATEGORIES: The set of primary types of line items presented in a project budget. Common categories for government grants are: Personnel; Fringe Benefits; Contractual; Travel; Supplies; Equipment; Construction; Other; and Indirect Costs. Categories for foundation grants are typically fewer; they may include as few categories as only Personnel and Non-Personnel.


COST SHARING: An applicant’s contribution to the costs of a grant-funded project or initiative beyond any matching that may be required by law or regulation. Also see: Matching Funds.


DECLINING FUNDING: An amount of grant funding that decreases from year to year during a multiyear grant period.


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters D to F.


The vocabulary of budget development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from A to C (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


Absolute Priority Budget Item
Activities Budget Justification
Allowable Costs Budget Narrative
Annual Performance Report (APR) Budget Period
Applicant Building Renovation Grant
Application Capacity
Assurance Capacity-Building Grant
Award Notification Categorical Grant


ABSOLUTE PRIORITY: An area of focus that a government agency, as a grant maker, requires without exception as part of an applicant’s proposal, and that, if it is absent prevents a proposal from being reviewed, scored, or ranked. It is one of three common types of government agency funding priorities. Also see: Competitive Priority and Invitational Priority.


ACTIVITIES: Logical sequences of actions or steps to be undertaken to accomplish one or more project objectives by applying specific identified resources and strategies to solve a problem or to meet a need within a pre-defined span of time. Also see: Objective.


ALLOWABLE COSTS: The cost categories or discrete line items that a grant maker permits or encourages an applicant to include as part of a proposed budget. Also see: Unallowable Costs.


ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REPORT (APR): A yearly document that a grant recipient submits to a grant maker, as required; commonly, it includes a description of project accomplishments, a statement of progress towards attaining project objectives, and project budget information. It is also called an Annual Report.


APPLICANT: The organization or individual that seeks a grant by submitting a proposal (or an application) for funding. It will be legally responsible for properly managing the funding if a grant is awarded. Also see: Fiscal Agent.


APPLICATION: The total formal document or package that an applicant submits to a grant maker. It describes a proposed project and its budget, and it usually forms the basis for a grant award; often used as a synonym for Proposal.


ASSURANCE: A legally binding declaration signed by an applicant and commonly included with its application, which certifies that the applicant does comply with specific requirements of a grant maker and/or will comply with them if a grant is awarded.


AWARD NOTIFICATION: A formal, written, physical document that a grant maker typically mails to an applicant; it informs the applicant that it will receive a grant, and it indicates the amount of the grant award and the start and end dates of the grant period. It is also called a Grant Award Notification (GAN) or a Notice of Grant Award (NOGA) or a Notice of Award (NOA).


BUDGET: The total estimated cost of all project activities; alternatively, a plan for expending funds in a grant award. A budget often may incorporate both revenues (also called income) and expenditures.


BUDGET ITEM: A single element in a proposed budget; it includes a brief description and an amount requested per project year. Also see: Line Item.


BUDGET JUSTIFICATION: A brief description or explanation defending items in a proposed budget, particularly all of those items that reviewers may find questionable.


BUDGET NARRATIVE: A brief description or explanation of some or all of the line items in a proposed budget; it is often used as another term for a Budget Justification.


BUDGET PERIOD: The time-span that any given budget covers, usually any 12 consecutive months, such as a grant maker’s fiscal year. Also see: Grant Period and Project Period.


BUILDING RENOVATION GRANT: A grant of funds intended to be used to repair, renew, or construct one or more buildings or parts of buildings; informally, it is also called a Bricks and Mortar Grant.


CAPACITY: A measure of an applicant’s present and future ability to implement and sustain an initiative or project that it has proposed for external grant funding.


CAPACITY-BUILDING GRANT: A grant designed to create or expand an applicant’s ability to provide services – often of a magnitude and scope similar to those funded through a proposed grant – after that grant expires. Alternatively, a grant intended to create or expand an applicant’s ability to operate more effectively or more efficiently or more sustainably.


CATEGORICAL GRANT: A grant awarded by a federal agency to an eligible entity, such as a unit of state or local government, for a specific purpose, as defined by law or regulation.


A later post will cover Dictionary entries starting with letters C to D.


The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. This set of entries covers words and phrases from Q to Z (see table). Revised and expanded in early 2018, its context is the United States of America.


RASCI Chart State Educational Agency (SEA)
Red Team Review Summative Evaluation
Replicability SWOT Analysis
Reliability Target Population
Research Team
Result Timeline
Staff Validity
Staffing Plan Vision


RASCI CHART: A form of responsibility matrix that clarifies roles and responsibilities for tasks and deliverables within a project team. In a RASCI chart, R = Responsible, A = Accountable, S = Supportive, C = Consulted, and I = Informed. It is a useful tool for a Staffing Plan.


RED TEAM REVIEW: An applicant’s self-imposed internal review process where a team rates and comments upon pre-submittal grant proposals in terms of the attributes of coherence, completeness, consistency, compliance, and correctness. It is a useful tool for ensuring the completeness of a proposal and its responsiveness to review criteria.


RELIABILITY: The extent to which a scale yields consistent or stable results if the same measurement is repeated a number of times. Among types of statistical reliability are: internal, external, test-retest, inter-rater, parallel forms, and split-half. Reliability coefficients are used to determine degree of similarity of results (i.e., the range of variance) using the same scale. The range of correlation for reliability coefficients is 0 to 1. The higher the correlation, the more reliable is the scale; desirable levels start at 0.85+ for high-stakes measures, and 0.70+ for low-stakes measures. The Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks are a useful source of technical reviews for 3,000 scales. Also see: Validity.


REPLICABILITY: A project’s ability or promise of being able to be transplanted to other settings and to yield similar or comparable impacts or outcomes or results in them.


RESEARCH: An organized effort to add to the existing knowledge base of an established or emerging discipline in the area of theory or application or both. Alternatively, the search for epistemologically valid and reliable evidence that implementing one or more of an applicant’s proposed activities or strategies is likely to yield the desired outcomes and impacts.


RESULT: A measurable consequence of implementing a project or initiative, but not necessarily the intended and anticipated focus of an objective or a goal. Examples: Improved school climate in an arts enrichment project; reduced arrests for certain property crimes in a graffiti abatement project.


STAFF: The person or persons who carry out a project using grant funds, and those who support it using other funds; also may be called Personnel. Also see: Personnel and Staffing Plan.


STAFFING PLAN: The scheme, method, or approach for deploying persons having appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities (or required qualifications and experience) to do the work of a project or initiative. Also see: Key Personnel, Personnel, and Staff.


STATE EDUCATIONAL AGENCY (SEA): A state-level unit of government, such as a board of education or other agency, or a state officer, responsible primarily for the supervision of public elementary schools and secondary schools in a state. It is a type of eligible applicant for grants.


SUMMATIVE EVALUATION: The measurement of the extent or degree of success of a project or initiative; it offers conclusions about what worked (and what did not) and it makes recommendations about what to keep, what to change, and what to discontinue; it occurs at the end of each project year and after the grant-funded project ends. Also called Outcome Evaluation or Product Evaluation. Also see: Formative Evaluation.


SWOT ANALYSIS: An analysis that looks at internal and external factors that form the present context or milieu of a proposed project or initiative. In a SWOT analysis, Strength = S, Weakness = W, Opportunity = O, and Threat = T. It is a useful tool for a Needs Assessment and an Evaluation Plan.


TARGET POPULATION: The persons, groups, subgroups, or entities intended to participate in a project or initiative and/or to benefit from it. Applicants should exercise discretion and sensitivity in adopting the phrase in certain contexts (e.g., violence prevention). Also see: Beneficiary and Participant.


TEAM: A group of persons who work as a unit towards a common or shared purpose related to a project or initiative. A team may include persons paid with non-grant funds and persons affiliated with organizations other than the applicant or grant recipient. Also see: Partner.


TIMELINE: The detailed overall sequence, schedule, or timetable anticipated for implementing a project or initiative. It may present both discrete events and continuous processes. It also may include an illustrative chart or a table. Also see: Gantt Chart and Milestone.


VALIDITY: The extent to which a scale measures what it claims to measure. Among types of statistical validity are: predictive, postdictive, population, ecological, concurrent, face, criterion validity, internal, external, construct, content, and factorial. The range of correlation for the validity coefficient is 0 to 1. The higher the correlation, the more valid is the scale; commonly, validity coefficients range only from 0 to 0.50. The Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks are a useful source of technical reviews for 3,000 scales. Also see: Reliability.


VISION: A clear and concise statement of an applicant’s purpose, values, and aspirations for its mid-term or long-term future, presented as its inspiration or motivation for what it does in the present. In a proposal, an applicant commonly links its organizational vision to its Work Plan and to the grant maker’s purposes for making grants. Also see: Mission.


This post concludes a five-part series on Proposal Development. It is a companion to a seven-part series on Budget Development.





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