on August 30, 2004
The complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals
Mary Hall, PhD. & Susan Howlett
Portland State University
174 pages including appendices
Tunnell & Associates
I found this book intriguing. As an experienced (25+ years) professional, I approached this assignment with an "I will see if they did it right" attitude. Not only do they do it right, but I enjoyed the content, arrangement of information, and style of presentation. I found myself mentally noting things I have tried to share with clients or peers - and wishing I could underline passages and stick the book under a few noses. Validation is wonderful, but I also learned new techniques and viewpoints and got an update on several topics.
The book is divided into parts:
Part One: Essential Planning Steps
Chapter 1 Getting Started
Chapter 2 Assessing Your Capability
Chapter 3 Developing the Idea
Chapter 4 Selecting the Funding Source
Considerable space is given to guiding an agency through the process of planning to prepare an application - how I wish this step was the norm instead of the exception! The first four chapters are devoted to this crucial step - and they are the chapters I want more agencies to use. So often the attitude is "we need money, write a grant", not knowing or caring that you can only write applications. The planning step is mostly unknown or ignored. Hopefully, these four chapters will encourage new applicants to start off on the right foot and actually think before they leap. This information will also be appreciated by experienced grant writers - they know this but can't get their administration to listen. Here is support for their unheeded cries.
The nine chapters on preparing the application are thorough, well presented, clear, and concrete.
Part Two: Writing and Submitting the Proposal
Chapter 5 Writing the Proposal
Chapter 6 Title Page, Abstract, and Accompanying Documents
Chapter 7 Writing the Purpose Statement
Chapter 8 Writing the Statement of Need
Chapter 9 Procedures
Chapter 10 Evaluation
Chapter 11 Qualifications and Personnel
Chapter 12 The Budget
Chapter 13 Review, Submission, Notification, and Renewal
Every possible section and subsection of an application is covered in easy to understand language. Samples of standard pages and suggested formats are included in the body of the text, where they are most relevant. Charts provide summary and detail of specific topics in an easy to understand format. Differences among government, private foundation, corporate, and research applications are explained and the components of each are listed, including required attachments.
One of my favorite sections is a working timeline. All too often someone in an agency notices that there is funding available, gets all excited about applying, and then casually mentions that the deadline is next week. The planning timetable shows the uninitiated exactly how long each process takes, and what the working order should be.
The information is current; time lines, PERT charts, and logic models are included and explained. An entire chapter is devoted to evaluation methodology, a relatively recent requirement many are still uncomfortable dealing with and preparing. The authors even include an overview of the review process, and a list of the Seven Deadly Sins of Proposal Writing.
Appendix A Proposal Development Checklist
Appendix B Resources for Teachers
Appendix A is a summary of each chapter, with a check list of salient points and tasks. It will serve as a handy review and reminder when you get down to the wire and the group starts to lose focus. I probably won't use the syllabus for a nine-week course in Appendix B, but I am most interested in the outline for a one-day seminar. For the truly serious, there is a section of assignments for each chapter, these are handy for a curriculum, but could also be used by an agency as an on-going group project to focus and integrate the grant writing team.
This is a resource for both beginning and experienced applicants. Every page has something new and/or interesting. As I went through the chapters, I kept wanting to add to this review, calling attention to this topic or that technique. I can't go on forever, so go get the book. I'm not sharing my copy.
on May 28, 2004
Grant writing is one of those activities for which there are many "how to" books. The real dilemma for novices-or even those of us with a few grants under our belt-is which book to adopt as our handy desk reference, its well-thumbed pages peppered with hi-liter and sticky notes. Getting Funded:The Complete Guide to Writing Grant Proposals by Mary Hall and Susan Howlett fits this role perfectly.
The latest update of a classic on the subject, this 2003 edition provides an excellent overview of all aspects of grantwriting, beginning with the most important steps of assessing the grant-applying organization's readiness and capacity for taking on the project and securing the necessary funding. Each of the 13 chapters are well-written and organized by sub-headings that assist the grantwriter to quickly locate and digest guidance at the applicable step in the long process of developing and writing a fundable grant application. Most of the chapters include a checklist that serves as a summary of the chapter as well as a handy reference tool for assuring all issues have been addressed
What I especially appreciated about this book was its continual reminder that the process of developing a project and writing a grant proposal is in itself a valuable learning experience. If it weren't so difficult to write a winning proposal, if funders didn't require such a high showing of competence and commitment, money would surely be easier to come by, but there is no guarantee that we would be spending it wisely. The process of grant development and writing, from budgets to case statements for our organizations, drives us in the non-profit world to ensure that our projects are the best and highest use of grantor funds to serve the needs of our communities. I highly recommend Getting Funded as the best resource available to help achieve this goal.
Cynthia Haruyama, Executive Director of Hoyt Arboretum Friends, Portland, Oregon
on May 4, 2004
Getting Funded is the classic for anyone responsible for obtaining financial support for their organization. This comprehensive book offers insights, techniques and checklists that assure you make the best possible case to encourage a grant maker to support your cause. The authors have drawn on their own rich experience in the field, as well as the research of others, to create a step-by-step guide that is clear, concise and targeted to the variety of available funding sources. The addition of web-based resources and a teacher's guide in the fourth edition just adds to the value of this remarkable book. I highly recommend it.
on May 18, 2004
I am pleased to give my opinion of the resources offered by Susan Howlett
and Mary Hall in their book "Getting Funded--The Complete Guide to Writing
Grant Proposals." For me, this book takes the mystery out of some of the
myths of applying for grants. It has resulted in a direct impact on our
organization's funding through this past tough economic season. I have achieved a 90-percent success rate with the grants I have written, thanks to
the information and tips in "Getting Funded."