Components of Fellowship and Grant Applications

Although there is no formula for writing a fellowship or grant proposal, the following provides brief descriptions of sections that may be required in a proposal. For another guide that contains links to a sample proposal, click here. After reviewing these materials, link to our handout on sources of grant funding. 

Abstract/Executive Summary/Summary: The funder may use the abstract to make preliminary decisions about the proposal. An effective summary states the problem addressed by the applicant, identifies the solution, and specifies the objectives and methods of the project. The executive summary also outlines funding requirements and describes the applicant’s expertise. 

Statement of Problem/Assessment of Needs: Clearly states problems of reasonable dimensions to be addressed by the project. The statement describes the significance of the problem(s), referring to appropriate studies or statistics. 

Project Objectives: Outlines the goals of the project, with at least one objective for each need or problem identified in the problem statement. 

Methods: Describes the methodology used in the project or the activities that the applicant will conduct to achieve the project goals. This section may also include a timeline for implementation of the activities and explain why particular methods or activities were selected. 

Evaluation: Explains how the applicant will determine the degree to which goals are accomplished and methods followed. The plan presents the criteria for evaluation, explains how data will be gathered and analyzed, describes evaluation reports the applicant will produce, and specifies the personnel who will complete the evaluation. 

Comparison to Other Projects: Demonstrates how the project meets objectives or benefits clients not addressed by similar projects. 

Project Sustainability: Outlines a plan for continuation of the project past the grant period. 

Budget: Delineates the costs to be met by the funding source, including personnel, non-personnel, administrative, and overhead expenses. The budget also specifies items paid for by other funding sources. The budget must match the proposal in all aspects, and it should not contain unexplained requests for contingency or miscellaneous funds. 

Budget Justification: Explains each item contained in the budget. 

Overview of Organization: Describes the mission, programs, and clients of the applicant organization. The overview also contains information about the background and expertise of those involved with the project. 

Conclusion: Briefly summarizes the applicant’s request, specifying why funding is crucial. 

Attachments: May include letters of support, an outside evaluation of the project’s feasibility, or CVs of project personnel. 




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