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How to Write the Executive Summary of Your Grant Proposal

Where You Hook the Reader


Designers in meeting
Reza Estakhrian/Stone/Getty Images

A well written summary invites the reader of your grant proposal to read further, and delivers, succinctly, the bones of what you are asking for. Here is where you convince the grant reviewer that your proposed program is important, and make sure that the reviewer understands the need for the program and the results that are expected from it.

The summary may be the hardest part of the proposal to write because it demands both completeness and brevity. As the authors of Winning Grants, Step by Step, say, "It [the summary] requires the writer to capture the most essential elements of each component of the proposal, in a condensed style--yet in a way that will capture the reader's attention and distinguish this proposal from the pack."

Here are some tips for writing your summary:

  • Identify the key points in each section of your proposal and include only those points in the summary.
  • Emphasize the key points that you know are important to the funder. Highlights those points that fit with the grantmaker's own priorities.
  • Be consistent. Don't introduce new information at this point. Only use information that has already appeared in some part of your proposal.
  • Use these questions to flesh out your summary:
    • What is your organization's identity and mission? Identify yourself clearly.
    • What are the proposed programs' title, purpose, and target population? Describe the specific need that will be addressed and the objectives to be achieved.
    • Why is the project important?
    • What will the project or proposal accomplish by the end of the time period specified?
    • Why should your organization do this program (as opposed to any other organization)?
    • How much will the total project cost? How much are you requesting from this funder?
  • Make sure the summary is brief...no more than one page.
  • Thank the proposed funder for considering your request.

Page 2 - Sample of an Executive Summary

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