Your proposal will be graded according to the criteria by which proposals are typically accepted or rejected (see the Proposals chapter in the textbook). A successful grant proposal will:
• Demonstrate an understanding of the NEA’s needs.
• Use support research, including at least five relevant outside sources.
• Use correct APA format for in-text citation and reference list.
• Be organized into six clear, well thought out sections (Introduction; Background/Problem/Purpose; Proposal/Plan/Schedule; Staffing; Budget; and Conclusion).
• Illustrate the soundness of the plan being offered.
• Illustrate the quality of the project’s organization and management.
• Demonstrate an ability to complete the job by the deadline.
• Demonstrate an ability to control costs.
• Illustrate the firm’s experience and record on similar projects.
• Demonstrate the qualifications of the staff to be assigned to the project.
• Use persuasive techniques (including a clear focus on audience needs and benefits, honest and supportable claims, appropriate detail, readability, convincing language, accessible and attractive page design, proper citations of any sources or contributors, etc.).
• Display correct grammar and mechanics.
• Demonstrate concision, clarity, and fluency.
TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR PROPOSAL:
o Focus on the funder’s needs, as described in the RFP. In this case, write your proposal to the NEA’s mission statement: http://web.archive.org/web/20081006195057/http://www.arts.gov///grants/apply/RadioTV/about.html
o You will be graded on how well you tailor your arguments to the NEA’s purpose; have you emphasized the benefits to the NEA if they fund your proposal? You must have a clear understanding of your audience’s needs.
o Address your proposal to Dana Gioia, Chairman of the NEA. (FYI—he’s a poet.)
o See p. 539-40 for the goals of the introduction. Hook the audience’s interest.
o Some questions you might consider: Why is the Academy uniquely qualified to do this plan? What successful initiatives have they implemented before? What is the serious problem with America’s exposure to poetry that needs to be addressed? If you don’t read poetry yourself, why not? Try to think of what would get you interested.
o Remember that National Poetry Month is in financial jeopardy.
o Demonstrate to the NEA how your project will help them further their own goals. Remember that all business writing should be audience-oriented, purposeful, and economical.
o You’ll be asking for money to support National Poetry Month; your organization’s goal is to “encourage Americans to make poetry a larger part of their lives.”
o Tell the NEA exactly what you plan to do for your radio and TV broadcast of the National Poetry Month reading. Be creative. You’re free to come up with any idea you can that would speak to the NEA’s goals and the goals of the Academy’s National Poetry Month. You may do research on which poets you’d like to have at the reading. You’ll be graded on how specific you are and how convincing your plan seems, not on whether it’s what the Academy actually does. See the NEA’s review criteria for ideas on what kinds of projects they like to fund. When doing research, make sure you cite your sources according to APA format and include a Works Cited page at the end of your proposal. See Appendix A in you textbook for APA citation format.
o Choose appropriate staff members to discuss. Use the Academy’s staff website for info— http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/33.
o Don’t list all the staff; pick and choose for rhetorical effect.
o Make up the numbers.
o You’ll have to decide how specific to be. Is this the kind of project that needs line-by-line budgetary information, or can you group tasks into categories and discuss how much each category will cost?
o Unlike some business proposals, grant proposals should not include a deadline date for a business offer. Rather, you should remind the reader of the key benefits of your plan and try to motivate action. In the case of a grant, motivating action means encouraging your audience to choose your plan over others that have been submitted.