Proposal Preparation

 9 Steps to Seeking External Funding (9 Steps in a Table Format )

1. Have a great, potentially fundable idea?
As soon as you have an idea contact Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP) to find out about possible funders, topics to consider, etc. They will explain the external funding process and help you get started.

2. Pick a funding opportunity that is a good fit.
Funding solicitations can be long and complicated. We’ll work as a team to understand all requirements for both the application and the award, and ensure the opportunity is a good fit.

3. Get others on board.
Programmatic, curricular, and complex research projects need to be approved by the Provost’s Office and other departments as appropriate. One month before your submission deadline, fill out an External Funding Project Idea Form. RSP will facilitate the approval process. If you are not sure whether you need to complete a Project Idea Form, ask us.

4. Make a plan. Be sure to review the Submission Policy and External Funding Approval Form.
No later than 12 full business days and up to 3 months prior to the planned submission date, work with RSP to plan the upcoming submission. (If submitting as a sub-award, the submission date is the date Gustavus materials are due to the lead applicant.)

5. Prepare your proposal.
We are here to help. We encourage you to seek comments on proposal narratives and draft budgets as early as possible. For complex budgets, several drafts may be required prior to finalizing the budget.

6. Finalize the budget.
Submit materials listed below by 9:00 AM 7 full working days before your submission date. RSP will review the budget materials to ensure compliance with College and funding agency guidelines, avoid unnecessary under- or over-budgeting, and to lay the groundwork for effective award management.

  • Detailed budget spreadsheet in Excel
  • Budget justification or detailed scope of work
  • Subaward budget(s) and support documents, if applicable
  • Cost share/match budget, if applicable
  • Draft of the proposal narrative, when possible

 7. Get internal approvals.
Once your budget has been reviewed and approved route the External Funding Approval Form and required attachments.

8.It is time for the final internal review.
By 9:00 AM 3 full working days prior to your submission date get all final application components to RSP and allow “submit” access within the electronic system. Let us know you are ready to submit. Confirm that your External Funding Approval Form has been received by RSP. Be available by phone or email in case questions arise or revisions are necessary.

9. Submission!
Once the final review is complete, RSP authorizes the proposal submission. In most cases we will submit the proposal, however in some instances, you will be authorized to submit the proposal after obtaining approval. 

We have found that the following links provide a good representation of basic agency-specific guidelines and tips for writing proposals:

For other proposal-writing resources, please visit - Proposal Writing: Internet Resources - Grants Information Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Last Updated 4.1.20 (page under construction)