Book Review: How to Write a Grant Proposal

This review is for a crucial book to help obtain 501 (c) 3 nonprofit grants. The book is “How to Write a Grant Proposal”, published by John Wiley and Sons 2003, 360 pages. The authors, Sheryl Carter New and James Aaron Quick, have extensive experience in the field and have written many books on grant writing together. It’s a good solid reference for writing proposals, whether you’re new to grant writing or a veteran professional.

Check your city library for a copy or find it on Amazon. If you buy it as new, it should come with a CD-ROM.

“How to Write a Grant Proposal” covers your topic comprehensively. Not all topics will be required for every proposal you write. The differences will depend on things like the type of agency you are proposing to. Very often, you will receive precise instructions from the funding agency on the best ways to frame your offer. This book creates a roadmap, explaining the how and why, for when that support is lacking.

The book is well structured. Reflects the design and titles of a grant proposal. One of the key features of the book is that it has an in-depth study on goal and objective setting. It shows you how to develop your program goals and objectives by developing them into tables that you will refer to again when writing your proposal. This has the added benefit of shedding light on the structure of your program and probably improving it, if development is still needed at the time.

The structure of the chapter follows the design of a proposal. Each chapter has four different examples that are woven throughout the book. The section on goal development demonstrates that the examples are built from their respective goal and objective tables. Each chapter has the examples section associated with that particular section title.

The four examples around which it was created show that they can be varied proposals. They provide continuity throughout the book. All are based on programs for social problems, but they are unique enough to show different designs of proposals.

There are many good things about the book. It’s built with great depth and detail and makes good use of the proposal format along with the examples to give you a nice solid structure that fits well. Most of it is the finely detailed analysis of the best ways to set goals and objectives and how they are implemented in the four example proposals. The book is a useful tool for novice grant writers as well as seasoned professionals.

On the downside, the book talks about federal grant applications without reference to the complications that accompany them. There are many topics beyond the scope of the book that are critical to federal grant applications, and this topic needs a comprehensive book in its own right. Also, some topics like mission statements could have been developed a bit better. Finally, I know that it is not really a comment, but there should have been a CD-ROM, which was not available for me to review. These points are very minor compared to the vast amount of information in the book.

Finally, my review is that it is a well-structured book with lots of details on grant writing, how to set goals in grant writing, and some great sample proposals. Overall, I give it five stars. It’s a great book to have as part of any grant writing library.

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