- Contacting a Program Officer: Funding agency staff assigned to supervise the grant process (grant proposal receipt, review and awards) are known as program officers. It’s always a good idea to contact a program officer early in the development of a grant proposal. Here are some tips on how to do that:
- Conduct some research: Locate the program officer’s contact information (note: foundation program officers are not always as accessible as those in government agencies).
- Send an email: Include a very short (no more than a paragraph) explanation of what you want to do. Is this something that fits within the program’s mission?
- Be proactive: Suggest dates/times for a follow-up phone call to discuss your idea in more depth
- Practice courtesy: Don’t waste time. Use your phone appointment to explain, in two minutes or less, what you want to do. Ask for insights and recommendations.
- Listen: Consider what you’re told an instruction, not a suggestion. Program officers will do their best to guide you, but can’t give you specific directions. However, a program officer’s advice is golden…follow it.
- Proposal Development Checklist
There are many online resources explaining how to write a successful proposal, including writing guides from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Foundation Center, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), and many others. Here are links to several writing guides, but you may want to seek others as well.
- Office of Sponsored Programs: Proposal Writing Guides for most disciplines
- Citing Sources & Citation Management Tools
- Proposal Writing Checklist