Writing Your Grant
As Columbia College Chicago faculty or staff, you are experts in your field. Project Directors are responsible for conceptualizing and writing your grant narrative, budget, timeline and evaluation plan. The Grants Office is available to assist you in editing, make suggestions and help you to make your grant more competitive. Please feel free to contact us at any time. It is important to allow at least 8-10 weeks to prepare, write and apply for a grant.
Each foundation has its own process for receiving proposal submissions. Some require a Letter of Inquiry, while others request a full proposal.
Letter of Inquiry (LOI or Letter of Intent)
A Letter of Inquiry is usually 1-2 pages in length and contains:
- The purpose of your request and amount requested (one paragraph)
- How your request fits the grantmaker's funding priorities (one sentence)
- The mission of your organization (one paragraph)
- The program/project description (2-3 paragraphs)
- The need or problem being addressed and how your project will address the identified need (one paragraph)
- The population or community served by your project (one paragraph)
- How your project or program will promote long-term change (one paragraph)
- Thank the foundation for their consideration and give them contact information (one sentence)
The foundation will review your Letter of Inquiry and inform you if they would like to receive a full proposal.
Full Proposal: Typical Requirements
1. Abstract: a one-page summary of the project
2. Grant Narrative: a detailed explanation of the need for the grant, how it aligns with the funder’s mission, and the activities included in your grant. This may include:
A well-written narrative is critical in a Foundation’s decision-making process.
3. Budget: Project Directors are responsible for developing the budget for the project. The Grants Office is here to offer assistance. Some important questions to think about before creating a budget are:
a. The budget is a line-by-line detail of project expenses and expected revenue.
- Expenses: costs that can be charged directly to the project such as salaries, wages, fringe benefits, consulting fees, equipment, stipends, supplies, travel, telephone, and postage.
- Revenue: all revenue sources (with expected amounts) for the project, which can include foundations, corporations, government, individuals, special events, entry fees/tickets, and in-kind (donated items or services)
- The Expenses and Revenue totals should balance. For an example, see the Sample Budget below.
4. Budget Narrative: text explaining and justifying the costs of the project and making a case for the use of the funds
5. Attachments: provided in addition to proposal narrative and budget. Some examples are:
To manage your grant once you receive it, go to Managing Your Award.