How to Analyze Your Grant RFP (Request for Proposal)

The Federal government gives away hundreds of Billions of dollars in grant funding every single year through a process usually called Requests for Proposal (RFP), sometimes called Requests for Application (RFA).RFP’s and RFA’s are invitations for you to apply for free money.

Knowing how to analyze RFP’s quickly and thoroughly up front can not only get you grants but save you time and reduce your chances of being rejected.Why?The two most common reasons why your proposal might get rejected are:

  1. Your proposal was not received by deadline
  2. You did not follow instructions in the RFP

RFP’s provide both deadlines and specific instructions for you to follow.As a bonus, they also provide clues to help you put together a winning proposal, IF you know what to look for. Here are 7 steps to save you time and a checklist to make your job easier:

7 Steps To Save Time In Grant Writing

STEP 1 – Read RFP.Highlight items from checklist below.

STEP 2 – Create a timeline for creating your proposal.Start with today’s date.End with the deadline for submission.

STEP 3 – Study RFP for any special requirements, such as assurances of nondiscrimination and protection of client information.

STEP 4 – Organize your proposal’s table of contents using section key words.

STEP 5 – Collect support documents.

STEP 6 – Schedule a pre-proposal contact with agency contact person.

STEP 7 – Gather your support team.

15 Top Items To Look For First

When you first look at an RFP, scan for these 15 items:

  • Deadline
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Amount of funding
  • Contact information
  • Evaluators and selection criteria
  • Expected measurable outcomes
  • Geographic area (i.e., city, county, state, etc.)
  • Permitted span of time
  • Population served (i.e., children and youth, seniors, disadvantaged, etc.)
  • Required forms
  • Support documents
  • Technical assistance
  • Timeline for receiving and spending funding
  • Type of recipient (i.e., county, school, faith-based agency, nonprofit, etc.)
  • Type of support to ask for (i.e., program development, seed money, travel, scholarships, etc.) (see list below)

7 Support Documents To Look For

  • Resumes
  • Annual budget
  • IRS letter of determination
  • Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) number
  • Mission statement
  • Letters of endorsement
  • Benefits formula
  • Indirect cost calculation

And now I would like to invite you to claim”Top 10 (Grant Writing) Mistakes To Avoid” when you subscribe to the FREE weekly”Grant Writing Newsletter” for Grant Professionals by visiting

From Phil Johncock,  The Grant Professor

Comments are closed.