Include an Abstract

Importance of Abstract during Review Process

Following are further words of advice from funders, reinforcing the guidelines we provide in our section about your Cover Letter:

“The abstract is a critical part of your proposal. After the deadline, the National Science Teachers of America (NSTA) mails out copies of every abstract from every eligible proposal we have received to each judge of the applicable committee. This gives members of each committee the opportunity to read each proposal and get a general idea of how competitive it is. The judges read each proposal at the committee meeting, but first impressions are important. Make your one-page abstract as tight and descriptive as possible. In the abstract, highlight what makes your project stand out. This is where you really have to sell your proposal to the judges. The abstract should be easy to read, interesting and comprehensive. It needs to grab the judges’ attention and make him/her want to read your proposal. Make clear in the abstract why your project is unique, its impact, and what your goals for the project are. Avoid jargon, generalities and clichés in the abstract and in your proposal.”

– suggestions from the TAPESTRY grant program, sponsored by the Toyota Corporation and National Science Teachers of America

“One of the most common misconceptions among grantseekers is that the proposals they have submitted are read in full by the committee or board that makes the ultimate decision on grant requests. In the vast majority of foundation, this is untrue – what the committee or board receives and reads is a funding document, written usually by the lead program officer for the grant request. The funding document is typically a summary of the proposal received from the applicant, written in a standardized format, that gives the committee or board essential information about the request and makes the case for appropriating funds for that request.”

– Joel J. Orosz. Senior Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Insiders Guide to Grantmaking: How Foundations Find, Fund, and Manage Effective Programs, 2000

Advice from Funders