Learn about Common Proposal Components

Funding applications often require you to include special components, either as an attachment or incorporated into the text of the proposal. Below are some examples of common proposal components and resources providing guidance for developing them.

Developing a Program

Program development, or program planning, is an essential component to grant writing. It requires the development of program goals, objectives, and outcomes, which are fundamental to writing the grant application. The crucial parts of the program plan should match exactly what is in the program’s logic model. Program planning will also include developing the program design, implementation, and an evaluation plan.

Program Resources

A Field Guide for Health Planning (PDF, 191 pages)
This toolkit from Healthy People 2020 provides guidance, technical tools, and resources for developing health-focused program plans.

Defining Terms of Program Planning (PDF, 4 pages)
This tip sheet from Healthy People 2020 gives an overview of program planning terms including vision, goals, objectives, strategy, baseline, and target.

Program Planning
This webpage from Healthy People 2020 provides important questions to ask during program planning, what a good program plan should include, and other resources.

Setting Targets for Objectives (PDF, 5 pages)
This Healthy People 2020 tip sheet provides tips on how to set achievable, realistic targets for program outcomes, performance, and process objectives.

UP Templates
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's UP Templates are a comprehensive set of standardized project management documents that project teams can use as a starting point for their project management documents, customizing them to meet the unique needs of each project. Each template includes content commonly used in such a document, boilerplate text, and instructions to the author to assist them in completing and adapting the template for use on their project. CDC UP templates are provided as guidance to be used in the absence of something more sophisticated already available to the project team.

Using Evidence

Increasingly more, grant applications are requiring applicants to address in their program proposal where evidence-based or evidence-informed tools, approaches, and research will be utilized. An appropriate use of evidence-based components can greatly add to the program’s significance and public health impact.

Evidence Resources

Evidence and Innovation
This section of youth.gov by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs provides a step-by-step guide to implementing an evidence-based program, a list of federal registries of evidence-based programs, a searchable directory of programs that are using evidence to prevent and/or reduce problem behaviors in youth, and briefs and infographics on investing in what works.

Evidence-Based Clinical and Public Health: Generating and Applying the Evidence (PDF, 32 pages)
This brief from Healthy People 2020 provides information on topics such as what is evidence-based public health practice, why it is important to use, how evidence is defined and evaluated, and addressing the complexity and interdisciplinary nature of public health interventions.

Evidence-Based Module Series
This series of interactive, self-paced learning modules from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention provides guidance on selecting, preparing for, and implementing evidence-based programs in school settings.

Program Planning Resource
This resource page from USA.gov and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' The Community Guide describes the steps for using evidence-based resources for program design, implementation, and evaluation, and provides various resources for each step.

Selecting Evidence-Based Programs (PDF, 32 pages)
This brief from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention provides a framework for identifying key pieces of information you should know to select evidence-based programs (EBPs). It includes information on identifying EBPs, determining readiness to implement, tracking outcomes, and monitoring fidelity. In the appendix, key questions are summarized in a discussion guide, along with worksheets and resources to help you select an EBP that meets your needs.

Using Evidence-Based Programs
This webpage from the Office of Adolescent Health provides information on finding, selecting, implementing, and adapting an evidence-based program and replicating with fidelity.

Planning for Implementation

Implementation planning involves developing a detailed plan that identifies critical milestones, necessary resources, roles and responsibilities, timelines, and activities. This proposal component can help to show a funder how your team will put your project or program into motion and do so successfully. The implementation plan serves as a project roadmap in the proposal.

Implementation Resources

Implementation Plan Template (Word, 19 pages)
This implementation plan sample from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be used as a template for developing an implementation plan.

Example Implementation Plan
This resource from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides a detailed sample implementation plan that focuses on improving patient flow and reducing emergency department crowding.

Planning for Evaluation

An evaluation plan is a crucial component to a grant proposal. It allows the funder to see how you plan to evaluate the implementation of your program (i.e., process evaluation), as well as how you will evaluate the potential effects of your program after it has been implemented (i.e., outcome evaluation).

Evaluation Resources

Program Evaluation Doesn’t Have to be Scary: Increase Buy-In with Message Framing Webinar
In March 2018, the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs hosted a webinar to discuss the ways that commonly-held beliefs derail the practice of program evaluation as part of a successful intervention. Experts from the American Institutes for Research shared evidence-based communications framing strategies to help organizations effectively gain buy-in from stakeholders for implementing program evaluation.

Developing an Effective Evaluation Plan (PDF, 115 pages)
This workbook from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on why evaluation planning is important, what an evaluation plan includes, how to write an evaluation plan, and the key steps in writing an evaluation plan.

Introduction to Program Evaluation for Public Health Programs: A Self-Study Guide
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on the importance of program evaluation and a framework for program evaluation in public health.

Planning an Evaluation
This webpage from AmeriCorps goes over important evaluation topics such as: laying the groundwork, logic models, developing research questions, designing an evaluation, writing an evaluation plan, budgeting, conducting a needs assessment, and provides additional resources.

Sample Evaluation Plan (PDF, 5 pages)
This sample evaluation plan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can be used as a template for developing your program’s evaluation plan.

Planning for Sustainability

Funders may ask, “How do you plan on sustaining the program when grant funding ends?” Sustainability is not always about finding continuing funding; it is also the ability to continue to meet the goals and achieve the desired outcomes, without additional grant funds. Sustainability is an ongoing process that should be addressed in your grant application.

Questions to consider when thinking about sustainability:

  1. Can the program be integrated into everyday operations?
  2. What partners are currently available or need to be brought to the table to assist with sustainability?
  3. Is there a proposed process for looking closely at the data to see what effect your proposed services/activities are having?
  4. Are there champions in the community that can help make connections or advocate for resources?

Sustainability Resources

A Sustainability Framework for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention (PDF, 22 pages)
This document outlines a process for infusing sustainability into public health programming, using the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention’s framework for sustainability as an example. This resource also provides advice to public and private funders on how they can contribute to building capacity in city efforts and considerations for sustainability at the federal level.

A Sustainability Planning Guide for Health Communities (PDF, 120 pages)
This toolkit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on how to develop, implement, and evaluate a successful sustainability plan. This resource is targeted at coalitions, public health professionals, and community stakeholders.

Creating Self-Sustaining, Replicable School Mental Health Programs: A User’s Guide
This webinar recording goes over key factors necessary for maximizing school mental health sustainability and replicability. This includes factors such as community collaboration, maximizing funding streams, role clarification, and identifying necessary ancillary services.

National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention Sustainability Self-Assessment Tool (PDF, 10 pages)
This self-assessment tool identifies and defines eight capacities that can help a program to become successful and sustainable. The tool was developed to help program leaders to self-assess strengths and challenges that a program has across these eight capacities and includes a user's guide (PDF, 4 pages).

Scope, Scale, and Sustainability: What it Takes to Create Lasting Community Change (PDF, 19 pages)
This brief from The Foundation Review discusses the six “success factors” necessary for achieving the scope and scale required to develop community-level outcomes and to sustain those positive impacts.

Strategic Communication Planning for Success and Sustainability
This workbook developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention provides a step-by-step process to plan, execute, monitor, and optimize effective marketing strategies to communicate program successes in schools and communities.

Sustainability — National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention
This webpage on sustainability from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention defines sustainability and how Safe Schools/Healthy Students has worked to achieve sustainability. This web page also provides various resources related to sustainability.

Developing a Logic Model

A program logic model is a guiding framework or illustration of how your program solves a problem. A logic model specifically demonstrates the relationship between the stated problem or situation, the underlying theory that drives the program outputs, the desired short- and long-term outcomes, and the tools for evaluating performance. The logic model serves in the grant proposal as a “snapshot” of what is written in the narrative.

Logic Model Resources

Logic Model Development Guide
This comprehensive guide from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation provides samples, templates, checklists, and exercises to assist with developing a program logic model. The guide also explains various theories of change that may drive the program activities.

The HUD Partnership Center’s Capacity Building Workshop Series: Evaluation Strategies and Logic Model Module (PDF, 22 pages)
This training module from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development assists organizations with each step to developing a complete program logic model. Case studies and exercises are provided to walk readers through developing a strong logic model for a federal grant.

Logic Model Builders
The Child Welfare Information Gateway from the Children's Bureau offers two interactive logic model builders for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention/Family Support Programs and Postadoption Services Programs. This resource aims to help child welfare professionals define goals, outcomes, and indicators of successes to help define and evaluate programs.

Enhancing Program Performance with Logic Models
This course from the University of Wisconsin Extension provides a holistic approach to planning and evaluating education and outreach programs. The course is available in both an interactive, online version and static, printable PDF version.

Addressing Disparities

A common component to grant proposals for public health programming is a discussion on how well the proposed program will address minority health disparities or health disparities in general. As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities are the, “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.”

Disparities Resources

American Indian and Alaska Native Issues Regarding Disparities Impact Statements: National Indian Child Welfare Association Briefing Paper (PDF, 9 pages)
This briefing paper from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention and the National Indian Child Welfare Association provides American Indian and Alaska Native federal grantee tribes and organizations with information that might be helpful for meeting grant award conditions on developing disparities impact statements.

Access to Health Care in America
Access to health care is a prominent factor in health disparities, especially in minority populations. This resource, developed by the Institute of Medicine, uses a model to explain the different barriers to accessing health care in the U.S.

Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (PDF, 38 pages)
This report from the Office of Minority Health, outlines the action plan’s goals and strategies, describes a sample of the specific actions being taken across U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies to reduce disparities, and highlights major accomplishments.

Cultural Competence
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Prevention Information Network provides an overview of cultural competence, describes how cultural competence applies to several health topics, and provides resources for being competent in cross-cultural functioning and effectively applying new patterns of behavior in the appropriate settings.

DIS 101: How to Address Disparities and Disproportionalities Through Disparity Impact Statements and Strategies
This webinar from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's (SAMHSA) National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention presented the history of the Disparity Impact Statement (DIS), the prevalence of disparities and disproportionalities (D&D), SAMHSA’s DIS approach, and successful examples of how communities have addressed disparities and disproportionalities through the disparity impact statements. Presenters discussed how SAMHSA grantee communities around the country are using disaggregated demographic data to actively reduce and eliminate disparities and disproportionalities in new and creative ways.

Disparity Impact and Strategy
This module from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention helps Safe Schools/Healthy Students and Project LAUNCH grantees develop and implement their Disparity Impact Statement and Strategy.

Health Disparities
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an overview of health disparities and provides resources related to adolescents and health disparities.

Developing a Technical Proposal

The technical proposal is a separate component from the program proposal. It often includes information on personnel, a statement of work, facilities and resources, a summary of related activities, technical proposal cost information, and other considerations relevant to your program.

Technical Proposal Resources

Technical Proposal Instructions
This set of instructions from the National Institutes of Health provides an overview of what a technical proposal should include and directions for how to complete each section.

Developing a Budget

Budgets are a grant component that help you to justify all the expenses necessary for your program to function and be able to achieve its objectives. Your budget will need to fit your project scope, percent effort, and duration of the proposed program.

In addition to a spreadsheet that details program costs, you will need a budget justification. This narrative helps you to further detail and justify your program’s expenses as essential to achieving your objectives.

Budget Resources

Create a Budget
This webpage from the National Institutes of Health provides information on why a budget is necessary and practical tips on how to develop a budget.

Develop Your Budget
This webpage from the National Institutes of Health provides information on cost considerations, getting started, different types of costs, and resources. Detailed example budgets are also provided.