Grant-Writing Toolbox

The following commonly-used and highly effective tools can assist you as you plan your funding project, seek funders, prepare proposals, submit applications and evaluate your work.

UMaine Extension Grant Writing Process

UMaine Extension has a clearly established application process. Please make sure to review the Grant Writing Checklist first to ensure that you understand the timelines and requirements for processing proposals through the UMaine Extension and University of Maine administrative systems!

Research Tools for Seeking Funding Sources

  • PivotPIVOT is an integrated resource combining a database of funding opportunities with researcher profiles. It can be used to facilitate research endeavors, collaborative activities, travel, curriculum development, conferences, fellowships, post-doctoral positions, equipment acquisition, and operating or capital expenses, among others. Sources of information include federal and regional governments, foundations, professional societies, associations, and corporations. Scientist and scholar profiles in COS Pivot include contact information, links, positions held, publications, patents, funding received, and a first-person narrative describing current research activities and expertise.  RefWorks offers free training webinars on using Pivot which are very helpful.
  • The Foundation Center: The Foundation Center is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Philanthropy, both for those seeking funding and those giving out funding.
  • is a source to find and apply for federal grants.  This site provides a searchable database, and an email alert system to notify you of new funding opportunities.
  • Maine Philanthropy Center: The Maine Philanthropy Center is Maine’s premier location for grants and fundraising information. Located physically at the University of Southern Maine Library in Portland, Maine, the nonprofit also has an active and useful online presence with links to information about funders that give in Maine, training opportunities, consultants and tutorials.
  • University of Maine Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Limited Competitions Registry: The Limited Competitions Registry, which replaces the Funding Opportunities Calendar, is a database of active RFP’s for limited competitions (RFP’s for which the University may submit only a certain number of proposals).  Investigators wishing to be considered for a limited competition must sign up through PARS via the Registry.
  • Research USA Funding Online Search Tool: Research USA is a search tool that allows you to search both online and receive regular funding updates based on your personal entries of requirements.
  • GrantsNet Search Tool for Academic Sciences: GrantsNet is a more targeted search tool that provides information on funders interested in academic research in the sciences.
  • The Grantsmanship Centera source for finding Corporate giving and foundation funding sources.
  • Funder Prospect Assessment Worksheet: Use this worksheet to determine if you are a good match with a potential funder. The sheet helps you look at issues of eligibility, funding types, geographic and programmatic focus, etc.

Planning Your Proposal

  • Grant Writing Team Responsibilities Planning Worksheet: Plan out who is going to be responsible for what as you work on your proposal. Team grant writing can be a much more effective way to write grants, but it requires clear planning and commitment to deadlines. This sheet assists teams in planning and documenting team member responsibilities.
  • Concept Paper Worksheet: Writing a concept paper should be the first step in any project planning process. Utilize this worksheet to develop your ideas. The concept paper is useful to share ideas with other staff, your supervisor, potential partners, in conversations with funders before submitting a formal proposal, and as a base document from which you can adapt text to fit multiple proposals to different funders who have a variety of proposal requirements.

Writing Your Proposal

Recommended grant writing guides to assist you as you undertake your grant writing activities:

  • Program Planning and Proposal Writing Guide, The Grantsmanship Center, Copyright 1980. The most utilized and best resource on grant writing acknowledged in philanthropy circles nationwide is the following short (47 pages) and easy-to-read publication. Program Planning and Proposal Writing, Expanded Version by Norton J. Kiritz can be ordered online from The Grantsmanship Center.
  • Proposal Preparation Guide: This guide from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs provides text and links to guide you through the proposal preparation process.

Important links from UMaine’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs:

  • Guide to Budget Preparation (pdf): This guide walks you through the steps that you will need to take to complete an accurate budget that meets both funder and University of Maine requirements.
  • Project Budget Spreadsheets (.xls): Tutorial and forms for you to complete your proposal budget.
  • Useful Applicant Info: This page includes many of the details you will need to complete your proposal, including UMaine’s: official applicant name and address, EIN, DUNS number, tax exempt letter, and a link to the current fringe and F&A (indirect) rates.

Submitting Your Proposal

  • UMaine Extension Grant Writing Checklist: Information about the steps you need to undertake before you can submit an application from the University of Maine/UMaine Extension. This resource will save you time and effort by helping you plan ahead.

Managing Your Grant