Grant must be well- written to compete

Follow instructions, ask experts to critique

When writing a grant, it is important that you follow the instructions to the letter, says Cathy D. Meade, RN, PhD, education program director and associate professor at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute at the University of South Florida in Tampa. If the organization requests a six-page proposal, don’t submit seven pages, she says.

Organizations often will provide details on what they require. For example, they might ask that the statement on the significance of the project run one page, projects aims run a half page, and the literature review run no more than two pages. "Abide by what they say," advises Meade.

If the request for applications asks that you present information on how you will evaluate the outcomes but you haven’t determined that yet, figure it out. Most grant sources today want to know how you plan to measure the effectiveness of the project, says Susan M. Bryant, MEd, vice president of development for the Egleston Scottish Rite Foundation in Atlanta.

"Before you even start to write your grant, you should have your project in line and your team gathered," says Jane Chelf, MDiv, RN, patient educator at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, MN. When creating the team, be sure to include the disciplines that will boost your chances of obtaining the grant. For example, if the project focuses on public health, enlist a person in the public health arena.

People on the team often can write the sections of the grant that pertain to their expertise. When writing a grant for a health literacy project, Chelf had a statistician on the team who wrote the statistics portion.

Also, look for people within your institution who have written grants, or have been a member of a grant review panel. Have them read your grant to see if the material is clear and if it will compete, says Chelf.

If you have people within your institution who have received grant funding, ask to see their proposal. Reading a well-written grant proposal can be helpful, says Meade. These same people can be used to form a mock review panel. "You have to have thick skin, but the idea is to be open to critique and suggestions and always be willing to revise," she says.