​Best Practices for Grant-Seekers

​Interactions and proposals should be customized to the particular foundation and grant program based upon knowledge and feedback. Other practices that can contribute to a successful outcome:

  • Be aware of Washington University’s history and current relationship with the foundation.
  • Review the foundation’s history and website to understand its culture. Review the guidelines.
  • Go beyond the guidelines to learn the foundation’s current or more precise interests. Contact the Office of Foundation Relations to discuss a project or to vet a concept paper.
  • Before contacting the foundation, consider ways to be flexible. Within the same project or through different ones, if appropriate have portions of a project or variations in mind based on the response.
  • Establish with the foundation the stature of the university, the school/department in the relevant field and yourself.
    Show that your project is innovative. Understand the foundation’s tolerance for risk.
  • Convey the potential impact — new knowledge, advancement of the field, applied outcomes, models, replication or systemic change.
  • Large grants are often the result of previous, successful smaller and the building of a relationship. Know what a large grant is to that foundation. Be prudent in your request.
  • Submit a well-written proposal. Know your audience and the proper technical level of writing.
  • Be patient. A proposal can be invited and funded on the first try. Due to budgets, competition, negotiations, relationship building, etc., success can take more than a year. 




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