Seven Tips for Writing a Solid Grant Application | Forum for Theological Exploration

Seven Tips for Writing a Solid Grant Application

By: Heather B.P. Wallace
August 01, 2019

A successful proposal will always prioritize the development and discernment of young adults.

As FTE’s program manager for grant initiatives, I’m always excited to hear from folks who are interested in proposing grant projects to work with young adults as they discern who and where God is calling them to be in their lives and in their vocations. I often get asked, “Does FTE have a formula or set way of doing an internship or mentoring project?” The answer is NO.

Even though there isn’t a “formula” for writing the perfect grant proposal, here are seven helpful tips to keep in mind when applying for any of FTE’s grant opportunities.

  1. Before you begin your application, read the application guidelines for each grant to learn which opportunity you may be eligible for and is the best fit for your proposed work.
  2. If you are unsure about writing your proposal or any step of the application process, send me an email or give me a phone call so we can talk through your questions and proposal idea.
  3. Use both the evaluation criteria section (found at the end of the guidelines) as well as the application form’s documentation prompts to develop your proposal narrative.
  4. Download the Budget Template to assist you in developing your project budget. Make a list of all potential expenses related to the project including those that FTE will not fund so you have a clear understanding of the true cost of your project.
  5. Prior to submitting the documents employ a mantra of read, edit, walk away, re-read, edit, walk away, final read. Hire an editor or ask a colleague to proof your materials. Fresh eyes see what tired eyes overlook.
  6. Export your documents to PDF format before uploading. This format allows you to combine your materials into one complete and final document. It also ensures that your materials don’t lose its formatting.
  7. A successful proposal will always prioritize the development and discernment of young adults.

Sometimes I receive calls about our Pastoral Internship Grants pertaining to the same scenario. The organization representative applying for the grant will tell me about the job description that will constitute the work of the intern for their stipend. This is a great example of a potential addendum to your proposal but keep in mind that a job description does not replace the proposal narrative. In this case, the proposal narrative should be more about how the congregation will mentor the intern(s), provide time for reflection and spiritual direction during the discernment process. An internship is a great opportunity to try on ministry, but it is also important for your grant proposal to include a plan that helps your intern with discerning who they are being called to be and what aspects of ministry might not be of interest to them.

I hope these tips and examples help you with writing your grant proposal and application. Visit to apply for a grant today. Deadlines are quickly approaching for our next cycle. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or ideas you might have about FTE’s grant initiatives.

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