You will have many expectation from your proposal and it is easy to lose sight of your real chances and what you need to focus on the most when you are this involved and when you spent so much time trying to do everything right.
In order to get a sense of what you need to do always remember that the reviewers are people too and that they will need to review many grants in a short amount of time. They will probably not be experts in your field, may not do this with great pleasure and could easily miss a point if it is buried in the text. Make it easy for them to understand everything.
Don`t be too official. You can use some clean humor, human interest and even historical perspectives to make everything more easy to grasp. Use formatting tricks and start each section with a summary of the core message.
Don`t create the proposal at the last minute, just before the deadline. Leave yourself some time to review the work and to get feedback from other people. It is also good to take some time and do some research. You could, for example, try to know your grant administrator at the institution that is funding your grant. Talk to them on the phone, go to meetings and make sure that they understand what your project is about. They do have some discretionary power over what project their institution will fund. If you can try to get the experience of being a reviewer of grants before you apply for one, you will understand the process better and this will help you later.
Finally, understand that you might get rejected and that it happens even to the best project out there so respond to it correctly. Respond with facts to criticism and when you re-submit the work make sure that you understood what was wrong the first time. If you can show the reviewers exactly how you fixed the problems. Arguing with anybody will never do you any good so try not to do it.
You will be emotionally involved with the project, but try to keep your mind clear and take the rational decisions at all times. Good luck!
It`s hard to succeed and it is easy to mess up. The institutions that give out grants get thousands of applications and oftentimes they get them at the last minute. They have to go through them in record time and decide who gets a bunch of money. This is not at all easy so they developed a system that works.
The first part of that system is to check every application to see if it complies with the guidelines. If it doesn`t they just dismiss it and go on. And this is one of the fatal mistakes you can do, not follow the guidelines for submission to the letter. Getting rid of applications that are not up to par just saves the institution times and money and they want to work with people who are thorough anyhow. Get everything right, including the bibliographies and the budget justification documents. Make sure that you follow the length and format directions, especially as this is the first thing that is noticed.
What most people do wrong is that they try to write too much in their proposal and end up writing a long, incomplete and complicated proposal that nobody will enjoy to read. There will be an allotted page count, but you do not need to hit that count. You just need to say what you need to say as briefly as possible. Specify what your goal is and make sure that all the relevant information is included and that you don`t rely on supplements or send the reader to other websites for info. Don`t propose to do too much. You might be overly ambitious and want to do just a tad more than you could actually accomplish. More experience people will realize that and your proposal will be poorly rated and your chances of getting the grant will diminish severely.
When you are finished writing the proposal read it again is if you would read it from the shoes of someone who knows nothing about the project. Do you understand what the proposal is about? Does it seem realistic? Does the applicant seem to be passionate about the project? Never forget to re-read and correct your proposal.