Adobe Acrobat Sign

How to write successful grant proposals.

Grant funding can give nonprofits and community organizations money to make a difference. Learn to craft a winning grant funding proposal with these insights.

Explore Acrobat Sign

Two people sitting at a large table reviewing grant proposals and looking at a tablet device together

What is a grant proposal?

Grants are nonreimbursable funds that one organization or individual gifts to another. Grants are usually given to fund specific projects, and they often require an application process and detailed proposal. They cover everything from scientific research projects to community development plans to artistic endeavors.

At its core, a grant proposal is a persuasive and well-supported written argument. Proposals strive to persuade the grant maker or reviewer to support your mission and to fund your plan. Educational and nonprofit organizations often use grant proposals to secure funding from government agencies, corporations, or other funding agencies.

Grant proposals need to clearly highlight the value of your cause, and they should include a detailed plan for addressing the issue at hand or an outline of how this project will benefit your community.

When grant proposal writing is necessary.

Every good grant proposal starts when someone identifies an opportunity for change. If you want to create a nonprofit or build a community resource, you need to do research. Once you know what grants you might qualify for, you need to craft a compelling proposal to help your vision become reality.

Many grant programs require a detailed proposal from anyone asking to be considered for a grant. Certain organizations, like NASA, accept solicited and unsolicited proposals for research grants. Meanwhile, some funders may contact specific organizations or nonprofits with a request for proposal (RFP).

While you can always hire a professional grant writer, you can also use tools and templates to make the grant writing process easier for everyone.

A person writing grant proposals at their desk

What to include in a grant proposal.

Similar to marketing or business proposals, some grant applications require specific information, but most proposals include these components.


Start your grant proposal with a title page and cover letter to introduce your proposed project plan and speak to the grant funder. From there, include an executive summary or abstract about the goals for the project.

Background information

If the grant proposal is for a nonprofit or school, describe the mission and location of your institution. If your project is for a community venture, like building a playground or funding a school program, describe the demographics of the area and your relationship to the community. This context will help you establish credibility and trust.

Problem statement

Outline the issue you plan to address with this project.

Goals and objectives

Identify the desired outcomes from this project and what will mark it as a success.

Project description

Get into the specifics of your plan and how you’ll achieve the goals and objectives outlined above. This can include a step-by-step implementation plan or a time frame of the overall project.

Project funding and sustainability

Show how the grant budget will be applied and outline future fundraising plans for expenses not covered by the grant.


Include any additional information, including letters of support, staff members’ resumes, and proof of your nonprofit 501(c)(3) status.

A graphic of editing a grant proposal on a tablet device

Find success with Adobe Acrobat Pro.

With the right tools, it’s easier than ever to speed up the writing process and get the grant funding you need.

Grants for the greater good

The Global Fund was able to get money to community programs faster using Adobe Acrobat Sign integrated with Salesforce CRM and Oracle. With a faster grant workflow, they were able to get teams the resources they needed more quickly, while strengthening relationships with their communities.

How Acrobat Sign can help.

Instead of depending on cumbersome paper proposals or lengthy email threads, you can use Acrobat Sign for your grant proposal. Save time by gathering signatures online, and store all related documents in one place to boost efficiency. With faster approval times and easily edited documents, you’ll be on your way to a winning grant proposal.

Start your grant proposal