Grant Writing: Tips for Success

Use these tips to learn about the grant writing process and prepare grant proposals.

  • Contact the program officer or contact person indicated for the funding agency. Explain your project and seek guidance regarding whether it's a good match with the funder. This puts your name in front of the funder and helps clarify your project. Also, if you are considering several funding opportunities, a quick visit with the program officer can help you pick the best option for your project.
  • Follow the guidelines. If the guidelines list specific categories, use them in your proposal. If there are page limits, follow them. The guidelines can provide a blueprint to help you get an initial outline of your project.
  • Create a timeline toward submittal. Use the deadline and count backward. Keep in mind that you must submit your proposal to the Grants and Research Office 5 business day days prior to the due date for administrative review and signatures. Contact UW-Superior's Grants Coordinator, Kaelene Arvidson-Hicks, early in the process for help and to make her aware of your proposal and its timelines.
  • Have a clear work plan. Make sure you define who will do what, when, where, and how.  
  • Consider your project scope - Is it reasonable to accomplish your planned activities in the time available?
  • Make a clear and compelling case that your project can be successful. Funders want to select projects that have the best chance of succeeding.  
  • Justify your budget requests and double-check figures. Help funders understand how you reached the amounts you're requesting. A well-justified budget will also help you when funded. Consider that funds may not be received until many months after you submit a proposal; a detailed budget will help you remember how you reached amounts and ensure the budget is drawn correctly.
  • Communicate with all stakeholders at the University. This includes the Grants and Research Office, your supervisor or department chair, and any co-investigators.  
  • Share early proposal drafts with colleagues. They can give you excellent feedback on the content/science of your proposal.