8 Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

8 Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

Are you looking to secure funding for your transportation project, but don’t know how to approach the grant writing process? The Build America Center (BAC) has developed an “8 Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal” video outlining everything you need to know to perfect your grant proposal and secure the funding you need. Not only will this video provide invaluable insights and strategies to help your project become a reality, but it will also help unlock the resources available through the IIJA aka Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

The introduction of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in November 2021 opened doors for transportation and infrastructure innovation across the country with $190 billion in discretionary grants allocated over five years. But getting a share of this funding requires more than just a good idea – it requires a winning grant proposal.

That’s where the Build America Center comes in. The BAC is a knowledge center that empowers public and private organizations to deliver crucial transportation infrastructure projects using innovative financing and alternative delivery methods. One of the technical assistance activities of the BAC is providing grant-writing support for local governments to fund their cutting-edge transportation initiatives. Since late 2022, the BAC provided assistance for more than 10 grant applications that were awarded a total of $75 million in BIL funding, plus 8 more applications still under review. This ‘8 Tips’ video was designed to help other public agencies craft a successful grant proposal and secure the funding they need. Watch the video to learn how to align your project with funding opportunities and how to make your proposal stand out to reviewers. Your innovative transportation project could be the next success story!

View the 8 Tips for Writing a Successful Grant Proposal video.

Here is a brief look into some of the tips outlined in our video:

  1. Match your local needs with funding opportunities: Begin by identifying your community’s infrastructure needs and align these with available grant opportunities. It is important to highlight how your project will not only be innovative but how it will have a real and positive impact on those living in the community.
  1. Follow the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): The NOFO includes a description of the project and is a roadmap to understanding the grant program’s objectives, eligibility criteria, and application process. These are all essential aspects in securing funding and straying from these guidelines/objectives can result in your application being passed over. 
  1. Learn from successful applications: Successful applications are a valuable resource in learning what has worked in the past for other projects. By building off of their example, you can create a stronger and more well-rounded grant proposal. Dedicating time to reading over similar successful projects can provide key insights in how to make your proposal become a reality.
  2. Leverage all technical assistance resources: BAC offers a comprehensive range of technical assistance to aid in the grant application process. These include personalized guidance, expert consultations, and capacity-building opportunities to help produce the best possible version of your grant proposal. 
  1. Align with USDOT priorities: USDOT has laid out key infrastructure goals to be prioritized such as rehabilitating bridges, reducing carbon emissions, and promoting transportation equity for all communities. By familiarizing yourself with these priorities and aligning your project with these goals, funding is more likely to be considered for your application. 
  1. Plan ahead and submit your application on time: Carefully review the NOFO and the application window provided for grant proposals. Produce an effective and realistic timeline to avoid a last-minute rush to meet deadlines. 
  1. Do your self-evaluation: By understanding the evaluation criteria outlined in the NOFO, you can perform a self-evaluation checklist to evaluate your project against each criterion. Honesty in assessing your strengths and weaknesses is paramount to your success. 
  1. Understand your strengths and be innovative: Each project possesses certain strengths that make them stand out from the competition. It is crucial to identify and leverage these strengths to convince reviewers your project is unique and worthy of funding. 

For a more detailed and comprehensive dive into each of these tips, check out our “8 Tips” video below:

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