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Grantseekers Guide

When you’re ready to begin writing your request for funding, it is critical to develop a compelling case for support. The most competitive applications specifically address the funder’s priorities. We encourage applicants to read the grant guidelines carefully and respond precisely to the information requested, in the order in which it is requested.

What Funders Want

Corporate and foundation funders vary greatly in the way they like to see proposals organized and presented. Some ask for proposals to be submitted in a specific format that is available on their website. Others ask for a brief letter of inquiry (LOI) first and invite a full proposal if they’re interested in the project. Despite these differences, the basic information funders want is fairly standard. They want to know:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Who will benefit?
  • What are the specific activities involved? Who will do them? How?
  • What are the expected outcomes/impact?
  • Why is your organization the best one to do this work?
  • How will you know if you’re successful?
  • How much will the whole project cost? How much do you want from us?

In addition, some funders will ask how the work will be sustained after their grant is spent and for the names and grant amounts of other funders that are participating.

Grantwriting Resources

Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) staff is available to assist with proposal preparation on a case-by-case basis as time permits. Contact us if you would like help with:

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Institutional supporting materials
  • Submission
  • Cover letters

If you want to learn more about the basics of proposal writing, there are excellent resources available, some free of charge. See the select list below:

Budget Preparation Resources

Budgets can be as simple as stating the total cost of a project or highly detailed, depending on the project and the funder’s requirements. Some funders provide budget templates outlining the information and format they want to see. This is particularly true of research proposals, which often include itemized budgets and a justification (explanatory narrative) for how the funds will be used. Other corporate and foundation funders leave formatting to the discretion of the grant writer.

For instructions on how to prepare budgets for a research project at UT Austin, see Section 6 of the Sponsored Research Handbook. The College of Liberal Arts also provides a Budget Preparation Reference Guide (see Toolkits).

Other resources on preparing budgets for projects and programs, including research, are listed below:

For more information or assistance with proposal preparation, contact CFR.