Skip over global navigation links
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tips for Preparing Grant Proposals

Working on a grant proposal? You may find these tips helpful.

Include a DUNS Number. A DUNS Number must be included in order for an application to be reviewed. DUNS numbers can be obtained by accessing the System for Acquisition Management (SAM).  Include the DUNS number next to the OMB Approval Number, which is located in the upper right corner of the application face page.

Keep the audience in mind. Reviewers will use only the information contained in the application to assess the application. Therefore, the applicant should be sure the application and responses to the program requirements and expectations are complete and clearly written. Do not assume reviewers are familiar with the applicant organization. Keep all review criteria in mind when writing the application.

Start preparing the application early. If applying electronically through Grants.gov, ensure that adequate is allotted to register and download applicable software and forms. Grants.gov provides information for applicants, including an introductory video.

Follow the instructions and application guidance carefully. The instructions call for a particular organization of the materials, and reviewers are accustomed to finding information in specific places. Present information according to the prescribed format.

Be brief, concise, and clear. Make each point understandable. Provide accurate and honest information, including candid accounts of problems and realistic plans to address them. If any required information or data is omitted, explain why. Make sure the information provided in each table, chart, attachment, etc., is consistent with the proposal narrative and information in other tables.

Be organized and logical. Many applications fail because reviewers cannot follow the thought processes of the applicant or because parts of the application are inconsistent or difficult to follow.

Be careful in the use of appendices. Do not use the appendices for information that is required in the body of the application. Be sure to cross-reference all tables and attachments located in the appendices to the appropriate text in the application.

Carefully proofread the application. Misspellings and grammatical errors will impede reviewers in understanding the application. Be sure pages are numbered (including appendices) and that page limits are followed. Limit the use of abbreviations and acronyms.  Define each abbreviation and acronym upon initial use and periodically throughout application.

  • This page last reviewed: November 20, 2017