Monday, August 13, 2007

Introduction to Grant Proposal Writing (Part I): Strategies and Writing Tips

Today's interview with Dr. Edward Sites is the first in a two-part series on the basics of grant proposal writing. In today's episode, I talk with Dr. Sites about strategies for developing and writing a grant proposal. In the second episode, Dr. Sites goes into more detail about the three sections most commonly found in grant applications - the narrative, the budget and the appendices.

Dr. Edward Sites has devoted his entire career of nearly 50 years to child welfare practice, education and research, the last 41 years of which have been as a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work where Dr. Sites was a full professor from 1978 until his retirement in 2006. He was the coordinator of the School’s Child, Youth and Family concentration and the coordinator of the Child Welfare Certificate Program.

Another area of specialization for Dr. Sites has been his expertise and teaching in the area of grant proposal writing. He is a consummate grant proposal writer and was the principal investigator on at least one federal, state or foundation funded grant project every year from 1971 until 2006. He taught grant proposal writing for over 30 years to graduate students from throughout the schools and departments of the University. At his retirement, he was the principal investigator of 9 projects and programs with total annual budgets of over $30 million and a state-wide staff of nearly 100 faculty and professional staff. These projects included research, degree and training programs in collaboration with 16 universities, and provided over 35,000 days of training annually to 4,000 public child welfare employees and 9,000 foster parents in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties as well as baccalaureate and master’s degree programs for hundreds of child welfare workers annually. Dr. Sites has not only written hundreds of proposals, but has been a proposal reviewer for the federal government, state agencies, foundations, universities and private agencies. Currently Dr. Sites serves on the board of a foundation and is engaged in institutional advancement work in higher education.

To read more about Dr. Sites, please visit his first podcast on the role of women in the development of social work in the United States.

Download MP3 [20:38]

Questions to ask before writing your proposal:

  1. Is this project one in which the author and his/her agency has sufficient interest to pursue to the finish?
  2. If funded, will the staff be able to handle this new project with their other work?
  3. Is the author sufficiently skilled to plan, organize, direct, coordinate, control and evaluate the project? (Keep in mind here that when I say author, I am assuming the author will become the project director, though sometimes proposals are written for hire by proposal writers not expected to be involved in the project if the proposal is funded.)
  4. Are the project goals and objectives sufficiently congruent with those of the parent organization?
  5. Will the parent organization back the project with administrative and other supports?
  6. Are adequate facilities, equipment release time, etc. available?
  7. What risks to the author and organization are there and are these reasonable?
Questions to ask about your finished proposal:
  1. Who are you and what qualifies you to present this proposal?
  2. What is the problem you seek to address?
  3. Have you identified the need?
  4. What do you propose to do about that problem?
  5. How exactly will you go about this and what exactly will you deliver?
  6. How much will it cost?
  7. How will you know if you have accomplished your goals and objectives?
  8. What objective evidence is there of the nature, purpose and capacity of you and your organization and what do other qualified parties think of your idea, your approach to addressing it and your organization?

APA (5th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Host). (2007, August 13). Introduction to grant proposal writing (part I): Strategies and writing tips [Episode 22]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved Month Day, Year, from


David said...

Great article. Thanks.
Writing help

Anonymous said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.
Writing a Research Paper

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
write term papers-Essay Writing Help

Unknown said...

Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! "This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here. Keep it up!"
Dissertation Help