Tips on Preparing a Successful Grant Application

What you SHOULD do…

Read the guidelines carefully.

The guidelines are designed to help you through the process. Applicants sometimes omit or misread instructions that are clearly written in the guidelines. It helps to read the guidelines thoroughly before filling out the grant application.

Attend any grant orientations or workshops that are offered.

You will learn a lot from hearing other applicants’ questions and learn to avoid common mistakes that often make a difference in funding.

If possible, contact the grants staff to get advice when you have questions.

It is to your advantage to seek advice early to allow the staff time to give you technical assistance and to allow yourself the time to assemble the necessary items for your application. Call the grants staff only after you are familiar with the guidelines.

Use the online application.

The grants staff is available to help you navigate the system, but it’s a good idea to explore the online system well ahead of the deadline. Handwritten applications are not accepted.

Write clear and concise answers.

Your application should be written simply and in a straightforward manner. You should make it clear why it is important for you to undertake the proposed activity and answer all questions as “to-the-point” as possible. Broad generalizations and exaggerations do not make an application more competitive.

If supplementary materials are requested, include materials that will best support your application and make sure that all required materials are included.

Choose materials and résumé information that will best support your proposed activity and that you feel best represents your work or your organization’s work. Recent work that is easily seen or heard will be more competitive.

Take care to properly arrange your submission.

Make sure that supplementary materials are labeled and submitted in the requested process. Format digital media to the requested file type and size as listed in the designated grant guidelines and/or GrantsOnline website. Please contact RACC grants staff with questions or concerns regarding the upload of digital media.


What you SHOULD NOT do…

Do not assume that the review panelists or board members know you or your organization.

Provide whatever information or artistic resumes are requested.

Do not exceed space limitations.

The limitations exist to present concise answers for those who evaluate the applications. Exceeding the limit or reducing font size does not present your submission well to panelists who must read hundreds of pages. Exceeding the page limit will also ensure that your application will be deemed ineligible.

Do not submit an inflated budget or one with mathematical errors.

It is important to submit a realistic budget that will support your proposal. Most panelists will have the expertise enough to recognize inflated figures. Make sure to check your arithmetic and to include totals. Once your application is submitted, RACC staff will not be contacting you to point out any budget errors – it will go to the panel as submitted.

Do not submit messy applications with typographical errors, strikeovers, etc.

Take care to present your application well and make your materials as easy to read as possible. Proofread your work. Last minute rushing is always obvious.