New York State Library Division of Library Development

Discretionary Grant Application Workbook


Writing a grant proposal is not the most difficult thing you will ever do. It does not require a degree in "grantsmanship." You do not need to hire a consultant to write it for you, you do not need to lose sleep over it. What you do need to do is spend enough time in preparation to make sure you meet all the requirements and provide all the information requested by the granting agency.

This workbook is intended to help you prepare an application for the New York State Conservation/Preservation Discretionary Grant Program. It should be used in conjunction with the current Discretionary Grant Guidelines, especially the "Application Instructions" section. The application and guidelines are issued annually, usually in mid-summer. Completed applications are due in early December for projects to be funded for the next grant year, which runs from July 1 to the following June 30. Although you may use the workbook to assist you with any year's application, you should make sure you have the current guidelines and know the exact due date for the year in which you intend to apply. The due date and all other pertinent information about eligibility, fundable activities, review and award procedures, etc., are contained in the annual guidelines.

The workbook contains some hints on grant writing, a completed sample cover sheet and other application forms, good and not-so-good examples of the narratives for each section of the Project Description, and a sample Project Budget. Comments which point out exactly what is missing in each not-so-good example are also provided. Since the six sections of the Project Description make up the heart of any application, the good and not-so-good examples and the comments comprise the main portion of the workbook. Each group of examples is preceded by a brief checklist of the information to be included in that section of the Project Description. This checklist is abstracted from the "Application Instructions," which contain much more detailed information. The "Instructions" also contain explanations of the information requested on the budget forms.

There are, of course, no absolutely right or wrong responses. As you will see from the good examples, adequate responses will vary as widely as the types of projects and types of institutions applying. The success of your application is determined by how successfully you present your plans and needs to the reviewers. This workbook should help you to understand some of the pitfalls commonly encountered in presenting a proposal, and give you the information you need to avoid them.

If you have questions about the Discretionary Grant Program or about the information required in the application, you may write or call the Conservation/Preservation Program Office at:

The New York State Library
Division of Library Development
10-C-47 Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230

(518) 474-6971

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Last modified on January 21, 2000/djr
For questions or comments contact Barbara Lilley