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Helpful Hints


It’s all in the story!  If you are a reviewer or program officer and you have been reviewing proposals all day, what is going to grab your attention?

General Tips:

  • Know Your Audience
    • Focus Areas and Mission Alignment
    • Organizational Interests
    • Funding Capacity & Frequency (1 year vs. multiple years) 
    • Review Process
  • Relevance
    • Define how your project aligns with sponsor's goals
    • Convey what sets your project apart – how is it different/innovative
    • Relay how the grant will make a difference
  • Follow the Guidelines! 
    • It is simple, yet 50-70% of proposals are rejected because the sponsor's guidelines were not followed
    • Be sure to address all questions and respond exactly to what the sponsor is asking
  • Don’t over promise
    • Make sure you have, or are requesting, the funds and resources to fulfill all deliverables


Writing Tips:

  • Use clear, concise language - eliminate technical jargon and industry terminology and/or buzz words. Keep it simple.
  • Avoid metaphorical language – it is not music to the reviewer’s ears.
  • Omit needless (meaningful elements of writing used to form sentences) words.
  • Use the Active Voice. Instead of: The student was given more work, Consider: The Teacher gave the student more work.
  • Don’t use exclamation points or unnecessary BOLDED text!!!
  • Match the subject to the verb (single v. plural).
  • Limit the use of adverbs that convey “very” little meaning.






University Development


Eric Solberg
Senior Development Officer
University Development
Phone: (630) 829-6497

Krissy Dulek 
Director of Corporate, Foundation & Government Grants
Phone: (630) 829-6522