Applying for a Grant Step-by-Step

1. Develop your idea

The starting point for any grant proposal is figuring out what you want to do and developing the details of the project.

2. Identify potential sources of funding

See Find/Explore for links to funding agencies. The Director of Faculty Grants can also do funding searches on your behalf.

3. Consider talking with a program officer.

In many cases, if you have questions that are not answered in the grant guidelines, it is very appropriate to contact a program officer. Program officers can be very helpful in shaping the proposal and in advising you on issues of project scope and budget. Some agencies will even review drafts.

4. Work on the budget.

Work with the Director of Faculty Grants to develop the budget. The Director of Faculty Grants must approve budgets for grants projects for which the College will serve as fiscal agent.

5. Follow the guidelines carefully.

Not following the guidelines is the biggest reason why proposals are not funded. Some agencies will not even review proposals that deviate from the guidelines. The Director of Faculty Grants will review your proposal to make sure that it adheres to proposal guidelines.

6. Get feedback on your draft.

Find colleagues (in or out of your discipline; at Kalamazoo College or elsewhere) to review a draft of your proposal. The Director of Faculty Grants will also read your proposal for clarity and adherence to the guidelines as well as proofread for typos.

7. Allow enough time for submission.

Most proposals are now submitted electronically. Some of these mechanisms work better than others. If you will be submitting through, plan on submitting 2-3 days before the deadline. In most cases, agencies require an organizational representative (such as the Director of Faculty Grants) to submit the proposal. Fellowship applications are often an exception to this rule.