Information to Include

Grant sources vary considerably in how the grant narrative (Request for Proposal) must be presented or formatted. This includes the order in which material is presented as well as the amount of information required in a specific category. Always follow the guidelines a grant source provides. If the grant source does not provide guidelines, write the narrative in the order the project will develop. The following are basic items to include in the grant narrative.

Application Title Page

This is provided in the standard grant narrative format.

Table of Contents

A list of the content of the proposal by page number. Try using major headings that are taken word-for-word from the "Request for Proposal" (RFP) as well as duplicating its organizational format.


A summary of the entire grant presented in one page or less. Regardless of whether or not the grant requires an abstract, the reader should see a well-written and concise overview of the project up front.

Need/Problem Statement

This may include an outline of the extent of the problem, related research on the issue, similar models, surveys, and/or related results. A good practice is to use available surveys in your area. Most non-profit organizations and governmental units have surveys that you can use.

Project Goals & Objectives

A specific definition of the project's purpose. Explain this through general goals that are further described in terms of specific, measurable objectives, as well as the plan of action. Make sure this section is clear and well-organized — many grants go unfunded because their plan's goals and objectives are unclear.

Management Plan

A description of how the organization will carry out the project. This includes mention of who is responsible, management timelines, and organizational capability. Try to emphasize the qualifications of the project director, as well as the organization's record in managing similar projects. These are keys to establishing credibility.


A description of how the project will be reviewed and by who. As with the Need/Problem Statement, the depth of information required varies widely. Discuss this with your grants officer, , if you are unsure how to organize an evaluation.


A description of produced products and how grant results will be communicated to other audiences. Even if the grant does not specifically ask for this information, include it anyway. Readers like to see how projects will be shared with the rest of the world.


A listing of specific project costs by various categories and an explanation of how these costs were determined. This is a Budget Narrative. Make sure the budget items accurately reflect the goals/objectives in the grant. If you need help with a budget, emailJoe Foy. He may also be contacted at her office address:

432 N. Lake Street
Madison, WI, 53706-1498
and by phone at 608-263-7217

For more information examine the budget-writing guide.