Common Elements of a Proposal

Although there is no such thing as a generic proposal, common components are:

Cover Page
The cover page summarizes important identifying information: the proposal title; the name, address and telephone number of the project director; the agency and program name; the project's beginning and ending dates; and the budget request.

A well-written abstract encapsulates the entire proposal, conveying the - who, what, where, when, why, and how much of the proposed project.

The introduction draws the reviewer into the proposal, outlining the project and its intent.

Problem Statement
This section describes the need for your project, your goals and objectives, and your hypothesis or research questions. Your statement of goals presents your vision of the worth and overall contribution of your project. The statement of objectives should be presented in measurable, quantifiable terms.

Describe the methods you will use to achieve your desired outcomes. It is helpful, and often a requirement, to create a timeline for the activities which constitute your method or approach to persuade reviewers that you are organized and able to manage the complex demands of a project.

Begin to consider budgeting needs as you plan your project. Budgets should reflect all the costs related to fundable activities in your project and can be divided into personnel and non-personnel costs.

Budget Narrative
The budget narrative provides an explanation of how the figures cited in the budget were calculated.

Your method of evaluation should measure the project's stated objectives to determine its progress and success. Interim or formative evaluations will help you to fine-tune your project as it moves along. The summative evaluation will assess the outcomes.

Your brief conclusion will reiterate the significance and the purpose of your project and will invite the funder to join with you in ensuring its accomplishment.

Each funder will have their own preferences and limitations. Typical attachments may include a curriculum vitae, letters of support, statistical tables, cost documentation for equipment, audited financial statements, a current list of the University's Board of Trustees, the statement of 501(c)3 status, the University's letter of incorporation, and current operating statements.

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