Tips and Resources

for Writing Successful Proposals

This web page has been developed as a means to share resources with other persons in east central Illinois who are interested in developing grant proposals. The handouts were originally developed for proposal writing workshops for secondary school teachers, and I have added some additional materials for the benefit of community-based health and social service organizations.

Some information about me.

If you have questions about materials here or would like to make suggestions for corrections or additions to this site, please email me at

Molly Daniel
Grants Specialist
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center

Site Contents





Using electronic forms allows you to continue making improvements and corrections in your proposal as you modify each draft, and they can be a life-saver at the last moment if you discover the need to change a figure in the budget. Always check with the funding agency to be sure that the re-created forms are accurate reproductions and acceptable to use in your proposal submission.

Adobe Reader forms (files with "pdf" in the file name) are not usually interactive forms, that is, they can only be printed and filled in with a typewriter, unless you purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat and learn to use its features. Accurate reproductions of many grant proposal forms can be recreated in other programs, such as this cover sheet and budget forms for two Illinois state funding agencies, created with MS Word and Excel.


State Agencies
Illinois Department of Public Health Budget pages (idphbud.xls) Excel
Illinois Department of Human Services Budget pages (idhsbud.xls) Excel
Illinois Department of Human Services Cover Sheet (cover.doc) Microsoft Word

Federal Agencies

Many federal agencies have transitioned to using a process for electronic submission of grant proposals. Applications and forms specific for each application are avaliable at (

Other standard forms can be found on the website for the federal Office of Management and Budget ( or, for grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, go to You may find other websites where you can download application forms. If you do not retrieve the form from the website of the funding agency, be sure that you check to see that you are using an acceptable form by reading the agency's application instructions.


Please note: PDF files can only be printed (not edited), unless you have purchased the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Forms can be viewed and printed with Adobe Reader, a program which is available free on the internet. Forms must must then be completed by hand or with a typewriter.


Website link
Microsoft File
Adobe Reader
Slide Presentation Handouts   Powerpoint PDF
Ten "Grant-Writing" Tips   PDF
Questions to Ask a Program Officer   Word PDF
Sample Federal Register announcement     PDF
Sample Application Kit     PDF
Sample Proposal #1     PDF
Sample Proposal #2     PDF
Sample Needs Statement
for an East Central Illinois Project
Sample Budgets   Excel (1)
Excel (2)
Budget #1
Budget #2
More on Evaluation   Powerpoint PDF
Sample Reviewers' Comments   Word PDF
Sample Reviewers' Comments
  Word PDF
Coping with Writer's Block     Part 1
Part 2
Internet Resources for Illinois
Educators Seeking Grants
  Word PDF

Selected Foundations of Special Interest to Educators

Annenberg Foundation

Annenberg/CPB Project

Hasbro Children's Foundation

Nickelodeon Let's Just Play Grants

Nike's Bowerman Track Program


"Get a grant! Get a grant!" You've seen those web pages which boast that there are "millions of federal dollars" which go untapped each year because no one ever applied for the money, and they promise that if you buy their book, it will lead you to all those wonderful programs which will support your favorite project or provide start-up funds for your business. What's the truth? How can you sort out all the information on the web about the many different kinds of grant opportunities?

Finding the right grant program is NOT as easy as buying a directory and mailing off proposals. Successful applicants spend significant time researching opportunities, reading program guidelines, and developing detailed proposals. A good proposal demonstrates a strong match between the project and the funding organization's mission. A grant proposal is a promise to deliver a service or a result which in some way supports the funding organization's goals. If you don't see the connection between your idea and the funding organization, then the reader won't see it either.

Grants for Women Business Owners

A couple of friends have asked me how to find a grant to support their new business. Others have told them, they say, that there are "lots of government grants out there, especially for woman-owned businesses." Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Click on the link below for answers to some frequently asked questions about grants and businesses start-ups:

Last modified: 02/23/2006