Book Review: How to Write a Grant Proposal

This review is for a crucial book to help get grants to nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations. 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 authored many books on grant applications together. It’s a good solid reference for writing proposals, whether you’re new to grant writing or a seasoned pro.

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

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

The book is well structured. Mirrors 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 setting goals and objectives. It shows you how to develop your program goals and objectives by developing them into tables that you will refer to 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 that point.

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 developing goals 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 has been created demonstrate that the varied proposals can be. They provide continuity throughout the book. They are all based on shows for social issues, but are unique enough to showcase different proposal designs.

There are many good things in the book. It is built with great depth and detail and makes good use of the format of a proposal along with the examples to give it a nice solid structure that fits together well. Most of it is the finely detailed analysis of the best ways to set goals and objectives and how you implement them 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 discusses 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 full book in its own right. Also, some topics like mission statements could have been fleshed out a bit better. Finally, I know it’s 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 detail 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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