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How to Write the Executive Summary of Your Grant Proposal

what is a budget proposal

By Joanne Fritz. Nonprofit Charitable Orgs Expert

Joanne Fritz has worked in the nonprofit world for most of her 30-year career beginning with teaching at the secondary, college, and university levels. She has also held senior management positions at two national nonprofits and two universities. Fritz has served on numerous nonprofit boards and was chosen to participate in leadership programs in two cities. Read more

A well-written summary invites the reader of your grant proposal to read further, and delivers, succinctly, the bones of what you are asking for. Here is where you convince the grant reviewer that your proposed program is necessary, and make sure that the reviewer understands the need for the program and the results you expect from it.

The summary may be the hardest part of the proposal to write because it demands both completeness and brevity.

As the authors of Winning Grants, Step by Step. say, "It [the summary] requires the writer to capture the most essential

elements of each component of the proposal, in a condensed style--yet in a way that will attract the reader's attention and distinguish this proposal from the pack."

Here are some tips for writing your summary:

  • Be consistent. Don't introduce new information at this point. Only use information that has already appeared in some part of your proposal.
  • Use these questions to flesh out your summary:
    • What are your organization's identity and mission. Identify yourself clearly.
    • What are the proposed program's title, purpose, and target population? Describe the specific need that will be addressed and the objectives you want to achieve.
    • Why is the project important?
    • What will the project or proposal accomplish by the end of the period specified?
    • Why should your organization do this program (as opposed to any other group)?
    • How much will the total project cost? How much are you requesting from this funder?

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