Preparing Fundable Grant Proposals: A Roadmap for Professionals

February 1, 2013

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The purpose of this publication is to enhance the knowledge and skills of professionals and graduate students who compete for federal grants. The material is designed for individuals with no experience or only limited prior experience in seeking competitively-awarded, public funds from federal agencies.

This multimedia module is self-instructional and allows a student or professional to work through the material at their own pace. The content of the module is divided into two parts: part 1 is focused on generic grant writing principles and strategies and part 2 is devoted to making a compelling case or argument for your proposal idea.

The information presented is most relevant, in both form and content, to the fields of education, developmental disabilities, mental health, community psychology, and human and social services.


Preparing Fundable Grant Proposals consists of a multimedia package having three components: 1) a narrative section that presents textual information on key features and aspects of the proposal development process along with Appendices A-E, 2) a DVD that has a file containing handouts, fact sheets, exercises, agenda items, resource lists, and numerous examples illustrating important features of the grant writing process such as the use of schemas or graphic organizers and conceptual frameworks, and 3) two video sessions (1.5 hours each) in which the author presented a concentrated workshop on grant writing divided into part 1 and part 2 and addressing the key topics listed below:

Part 1: Generic Principles, Strategies and Issues in Successful Grant Writing

  1. Learning the grant writing process
  2. Background and experience
  3. Developing fundable ideas
  4. Basic process used to develop grant proposals
  5. Principles of being an effective grants person
  6. Use of graphics to summarize and integrate large bodies of information
  7. Use of schemas to illustrate basic approaches to a grant
  8. Importance of words, rules, language fluency, and images in grant writing
  9. Understanding how peer review panels work
  10. Analyzing Target Funding Agencies and Responding to Their Requests for Proposals
  11. Collaborating with others
  12. Sources of grant support
  13. Guidelines for Addressing Budget and Cost Effectiveness

Part 2: Making a Compelling Case or Argument for Your Proposal

  1. Overview of the case argument process
  2. Parallels in journalism (syndicated columnists) and the legal profession (trial lawyers)
  3. Approaches to making an effective case
  4. Key concepts, terms and vocabulary for use in effective grant writing and building the case argument
  5. The role of major and minor premises and their arrangement in support of a claim
  6. Writing the case argument from an ordered set of premises
  7. Practice in developing and arranging premises using sample case argument topics
  8. Critiquing existing case arguments from funded grant applications
  9. Anticipating, refuting, and pre-correcting the reviewer's criticisms, questions and potential biases through counter arguments

About the Author

Hill M. Walker, PhD, has been involved in competing for federal grants since 1970 in some of the above specialty areas. During this period, he and his colleagues have accounted for over 40 million dollars in competitively-awarded federal grants to support a continuing series of demonstration, model development, personnel preparation, program development, and research applications. He has participated in all phases of the grant development and grant review processes associated with the development, procurement and review of federal grants. He originated and taught the tool subject course in grant writing and project management over a 13-year period at the University of Oregon and continues to serve as a mentor to both younger faculty and graduate students in the grant writing process. The purpose of this module is to share this acquired knowledge with individuals who are preparing for or are in the early stages of their professional careers.

Ordering Information

Copies of Preparing Fundable Grant Proposals can be obtained through the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) at a cost of $45 for AUCD nework members and $55 for non-members. Use the form at right to order your copy.