The Gold Medal Proposal Package
WHITE SPACE BETWEEN SHORT PARAGRAPHS IS A
The Gold Medal Proposal Package is the top-of-the-line proposal. It's the most complete and
thorough, and it's the one most likely to gain the most support. Here's my own special way of
breaking down the different proposal packages. I've designed it to help you remember it for years
20 to 40 pages
$100,000 to $1,000,000
10 to 20 pages
$10,000 to $99,999
6 to 12 pages
$5,000 to $9,999
6 to 8 pages
Most organizations work hard on creating and submitting Gold Medal Proposals, right? Wrong!
When I receive a new contract to write multiple grants for an organization, I ask to see their
existing proposal package so I can get a sense of the work that needs to be done. Invariably, they
bring out a Brass Medal Proposal Package. It usually has a two-page letter of request, a list of the
board of directors, their 501(c)(3) nonprofit papers, a letter of support from a city council member,
and a flier from a past event.
Sadly, these organizations don't understand why they never get larger grants. What do you think
their problem might be? If you guessed
, you'd be correct. They may not have a
well-written organization history statement or a finalized income-and-expense budget at hand.
And often, much of the information they need is inside many different people's heads.
For example, at the Still-Hoping-for-a-Grant Organization, Julie has the story of the organization's
history. Joseph has the budget and books for the past four years. And Ruth, a board member,
knows the organization's major achievements by heart. However, the information is either not
written down or not stored in one centralized and accessible place.
Enter Bob, the humble grant writer, who is attempting to finish writing a $50,000 proposal
package the night before it's due. Around 2:00 a.m., he starts talking to himself:
"Ah, I'm almost done . . . except for the history part. Who has that?"
(He starts going down the phone list.)
"Of course, Julie does! I'll just give her a ca-----"
(Hope suddenly drains from his face.)
"Oh yeah, she went to Hawaii last week. I wonder if she'd mind if I called her there? . . . "