Five Tips for Writing a Successful Grant or Research Proposal

Funding is always front and center among organizational priorities regardless of the size of the organization or program. Many organizations depend on external funding sources to sustain vital resources and programming, particularly in impoverished communities. For community-based organizations and public programs, competing for grant funding is critical. 

At Tanoma, we specialize in writing customized grant proposals that speak to the value and worth of your organization. What is the secret to our success in securing grant funding? We offer you five grant writing tips below.

  1. Get to Know the Organization – It is important for grant writers to get to know your organization, your needs, and your community. Your grant writer should demonstrate empathy and compassion for the lived environment and experiences of your community members from an asset-based perspective and lens. 
  2. Do Your Homework – Before working with an organization, writers should take time to do their homework and educate themselves as much as possible about the organization and the community. This means learning about the history of the community, reviewing the organizational website,  and even conducting literature search for statistics and relevant programming offered by the organization. Being prepared will be valuable in writing a successful evidence-based proposal. 
  3. Stay Current and Innovative – Funders value evidence-based approaches, but they also want to invest in new ways of doing and thinking. If they are looking to stay current and to learn about best and better practices that will improve on efficiency and outcomes while maximizing resources. Sound familiar? That is probably what your organization is trying to do as well. Submitting a competitive proposal means that you hit the mark by showing that you are knowledgeable about current trends, statistics, events, etc., and that you are thinking innovatively.  
  4. Client = Partner – Grant writers should work collaboratively with you as equal partners in the grant writing process. Not doing so puts you at an disadvantage of having a grant proposal that accurately represents your organization and speaks with a unified voice. The ideal grant writing consultant will communicate with you frequently, provide you updates on progress, and engage you in the process throughout various steps. 
  5. Lead with Integrity – Your grant writing consulting should exhibit professionalism and integrity at all times. They should have your best interest by thoroughly reviewing the grant requirements and guidelines. If the grant is not a good fit for you (.ie., ROI, alignment of organizational mission or priorities), the consultant should be honest and let you know. 

At Tanoma, this personalized approach helps us tailor the grant proposal to meet the specific needs of your organization and your community. We want to make sure that your organization stands out. Grant writing can consume a lot of your organizational resources. Let us ease the burden so that your staff can focus on providing the essential services your community needs. 


Dr. Lisa Aponte-Soto is the president/CEO of Tanoma Consulting. She has over 25 years of experience securing grant funding from federal, foundations, and other resources across the educational, workforce development, and health care sectors. For more information visit our FAQs page and services page.