Many foundations and corporate giving programs focus their philanthropic endeavors on addressing a specific mission or set of issues. A successful grant proposal will be one that is directly focused on the problem(s) the sponsor seeks to address, provides a clear and specific framework for conducting the proposed work, and makes a strong case for being the best possible investment of foundation or corporate resources towards reaching a shared goal.
The FCR team is available to guide you through the application process, provide assistance with proposal development, and help develop and strengthen positive relationships with grant makers.
Periodically, foundation and corporate grant makers will release Requests for Proposals (RFPs), which serve as open invitations to grant seekers who meet the sponsor's eligibility requirements. New RFPs are posted to the "Funding Opportunities" section of the website on a regular basis as they become available.
Before You Begin
Develop Your Idea
Before you begin researching potential sponsors for your project, you should have a very clear plan for the proposed work including specific goals, a needs statement, a timetable for activities, a staffing plan, an itemized budget, an evaluation plan, and a strong case for the potential impact of the work on the problem being addressed.
A short written outline will help you think through your project plan and provide answers to many of the questions that will be of greatest importance to potential grant makers. The Grant Seekers Project Description Worksheet may help in organizing your ideas and developing the basis for a successful grant proposal narrative.
Likewise, the Grant Seekers Budget Development Worksheet may assist in developing a clear financial picture of the proposed project and the resources necessary to complete the work in question.
Understand the Funder's Guidelines
Foundation and corporate grant makers have specific missions, as well as guidelines as to what they will and will not support. Before investing time and effort in applying, visit the sponsor's website and review the following:
- Mission and purpose
- Application guidelines
- Eligibility requirements
- Grant amounts and restrictions
- Timeline and process for grant decisions
- Recent funding history
If your project does not closely align with the mission of the prospective funder, do not continue. Seek another grant-maker whose goals more closely mirror your own.
Notify Foundation and Corporate Relations
Inform FCR of your intent to apply. As managers of the Institution's relations with Foundation and Corporate donors, the FCR team will be able to provide you with guidance and assistance, background information and research on prospective funders, and insight into the foundation and corporate grant-making process.
In certain instances, funders will only accept one proposal per Institution in a given year or in response to a particular RFP. In these cases, Mount Sinai's Committee on Special Awards (COSA) reviews submissions from interested applicants and endorses the strongest proposal for submission to the funder. The FCR team can notify you of such restricted submissions and work with you to strengthen your proposal.
Developing a Proposal
- In developing a grant proposal, be sure to address all of the grant maker's questions sequentially, and adhere to the required format.
- If no format is provided, include the standard elements of a strong proposal:
- Executive Summary
- Institution and Project Background
- Statement of Need (Why is this work important? How does it advance the prospective funder's mission?)
- Project Activities (What are the specific activities and steps that will be undertaken?)
- Staffing Plan (Who will conduct the proposed work?)
- Project Timeline (Timing and logistics for project implementation?)
- Evaluation Plan (How will the project's success be evaluated? How will the work continue after the grant has been expended?)
- Budget (A line item breakdown of project expenses, including personnel and fringe, supplies and equipment, capital, indirect costs/overhead, etc.)
- Consider your audience. Will your proposal be reviewed by a lay committee, a scientific review panel, or a mix of the two? Develop your draft accordingly
- Be cognizant of external, as well as internal submission deadlines as noted on RFPs and sponsor websites. If particular aspects of a submission will require extra time (i.e., departmental and/or institutional approvals, letters of support, etc.), be sure to start these well in advance.
- If you have questions, contact the Foundation and Corporate Relations Office for help.
Completing Your Submission
- Before submitting a proposal, be sure you have notified both FCR, as well as the Grants and Contracts Office (GCO) of your intent to apply.
- The GCO must review your budget and will provide official Institutional sign-off on the submission. The GCO requires the complete proposal and budget 5 days in advance of the funder's deadline to approve the submission.
- Be sure you have followed all instructions provided by the grant-maker and have included all requested attachments. Most standard proposal attachments can be provided by the FCR team.
FCR can submit the required materials to the funder on your behalf if requested. If you opt to submit directly, please be certain to forward a copy of all submitted materials either via e-mail (DevelopmentGrants@mountsinai.org) or interoffice mail (attn: Foundation and Corporate Relations, Box 1049).
Foundation and Corporate Relations