Grant Writing Guidelines
The following guidelines and checklist are intended as an aid in writing and reviewing project statements for Wildlife Restoration and Sport Fish Restoration grant proposals. We hope to make this process as easy and simple as possible.
Our goal is to support States in preparing project statements that meet State needs, that meet Fish and Wildlife Service needs, and that unquestionably meet legal requirements.
The guidelines and checklist are not intended to be a substitute for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs Handbook. Applicable chapters of the handbook should be carefully read and studied prior to writing a project statement.
Please do not hesitate to contact Abbey Kucera of the Region 3 Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs should you have any questions or comments regarding the guidelines and checklist. Feedback is welcomed! Without feedback we cannot determine what is working well or what is causing problems and frustrations. Feedback is the key to improvements.
E Mail: Abbey_Kucera@fws.gov
Why is the project being undertaken? Provide a clear word picture of the need to be met, the problem to be solved, or the opportunity to be exploited. A sound and rational justification for undertaking the project is needed. This section is of foremost importance because it provides the basis for the remainder of the project description.
Does this section clearly describe the needs, problems, or opportunities that would be partially or totally met, solved, or exploited by implementation of the proposed project?
Does this section contain necessary background information, historical perspectives, and other supporting information so the reader can understand the importance and current status of the needs, problems, or opportunities?
Does this section use specific information to show the specific needs, problems or opportunities that will be addressed rather than rely on broad all inclusive generic statements? Is the section customized to describe the unique situation in your State?
Does this section present a sound and rational justification for funding implementation of the proposed project? Would the need for funding and implementation be evident to the reader?
When possible, does this section cite appropriate references such as DNR code, Strategic Plans, Operational Plans, or publications such as the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation?
When possible, does this section contain evidence of public support from user groups, public officials, industry representatives, community leaders, business leaders, conservation and service organizations?
What is to be accomplished? Specify fully what is to be accomplished within the time, money and staffing allocated; specify a recognizable end point; ensure it is as quantifiable or verifiable as possible. A crystal clear objective that can be easily understood and not-misunderstood is needed because considerable money, time, and energy would be spent to reach the objective. Objectives are worthy of considerable thought, discussion, and reflection. This section is critical because it defines the destination for the entire project.
Does this section clearly and logically follow from the definition of need? Is a clear link evident between the need section and the objectives section?
Are the objectives in accord with overall State agency goals, policies, and philosophies for fisheries and wildlife management? Are they in accord with the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs?
Are the objectives like a good photograph - clear, sharp, and in focus?
If accomplished, would the objectives partially or totally satisfy the need, solve the problem, or exploit the opportunity?
Are the objectives as specific and measurable as possible?
Do the objectives provide a target date for completion?
Are the objectives focused on outputs and results to be achieved? How would the annual performance report measure progress toward accomplishment of the objectives?
Are the objectives realistic and attainable using the time and resources available?
Were the objectives written by or are they agreeable to those directly responsible for their attainment?
Expected Results or Benefits
What will be the results or benefits of accomplishing the project? Provide a complete description of all expected benefits. Blow your own horn! Assume that no one would understand or appreciate the benefits of this project unless you tell them. This section is your opportunity to sell the benefits of this project to the reader in a clear, concise, and convincing manner. Selling project benefits in this section is a key step in receiving project funding.
Does this section clearly and logically follow from the definition of need and objectives? Is a clear link to the need section and the objectives section evident?
Does this section describe benefits to the resource and the various publics that use those resources?
Does this section describe economic and social benefits?
Does this section describe all expected results and benefits?
Does this section describe the magnitude of project benefits in terms of the (1) quantity and quality of the resource managed, protected, restored, or improved (2) size of public to benefit and (3) size of geographical area to benefit?
Does this section describe the duration of project benefits?
When possible, does this section utilize photos, graphics, quantification, comparisons, and other measures to illustrate the significance or importance of the expected results and benefits?
How will the objectives be accomplished? Describe the actions, activities, methods and procedures that would be used. Provide budgets and schedules. Identify key project personnel and cooperators. Identify project location. A complete, clear, and concise description is needed to ensure efficient and effective project implementation. This section provides the road map that will be used to reach the objectives (destination) for the project.
Does this section clearly and logically link to the previous sections? Is the proposed work all necessary for accomplishment of the objectives? Is the proposed work complete or is something missing?
Do the actions, activities, methods and procedures describe a logical sequence of events that will lead to attainment of project objectives?
Does this Section provide costs, by year, for the project? Are costs realistic?
Does this Section address program income or in-kind costs if applicable?
Does this Section provide schedules that are realistic?
Does this Section identify all the key project personnel and cooperators?
Does this Section identify all the project locations?
Does this Section describe how project evaluation and monitoring will be accomplished? Are there evaluation criteria and methods that would be used to measure progress toward and attainment of the objectives.
Does this Section describe how planning, supervision, and reporting would be accomplished? Does it describe how performance reports would measure progress toward accomplishment of the objectives?
Does this Section reference existing manuals, publications, reports or other written material in order to save time and paperwork.
Are the types of information and level of detail commensurate with the nature and complexity of the project?
What are the ancillary federal compliance requirements? Describe how this grant will achieve legal compliance with applicable federal laws, executive orders, and other legally binding requirements that are "strings" attached to the receipt of federal dollars. This section is of utmost importance because legal compliance with these ancillary requirements is a primary pre-requisite for funding approval.
Does this section adequately address NEPA via a categorical exclusion, an environmental assessment or an EIS? If a categorical exclusion is requested, does the section address the basis for that determination?
If applicable, does this section adequately address protection of federally listed threatened and endangered species and compliance with the Endangered Species Act? Does it clearly describe how compliance will be achieved?
If applicable, does this section address protection of archeological, historical, and architectural resources (cultural resources) and compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and other applicable Acts? Does it clearly describe how compliance will be achieved?
If applicable, does this section address protection of floodplains and wetlands and compliance with Executive Orders 11988 and 11990?
If applicable, does this section address providing program and site access for people with disabilities and compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act?
If applicable, does this section address how pesticides, herbicides and other "cides" will be utilized in a legal and safe manner in compliance with federal requirements?
If applicable, does this section address land acquisition procedures for compliance with the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act?
Are all applicable compliance requirements addressed?