4) THE ABSTRACT SHOULD BE THE LAST PART OF THE PROPOSAL YOU WRITE
The abstract should be one of the very last parts of the proposal that you write. Why? Because it’s a summary of the main points you have already written — not what you intend to write about.
One technique I use to ensure that all the main points are covered is that when we finish the final draft of the entire narrative portion of the proposal we will pull down “SAVE AS” and make a copy that is labeled “ABSTRACT.” Then I go through and delete everything but the main point/s of each section. I’ll also save other pertinent elements such as outcomes, needs research results, catchy phrases, and brief descriptions of certain elements such as a curriculum or a partner agency or an existing program that we intend to fold into our new program.
Now I have an Abstract document that includes all the key points made in the proposal. I also have a document that is formatted the same as the rest of the proposal.
From that, I begin organizing those saved elements, deleting those that are redundant or that I know will have to be removed because of length constraints. By the end of the process, I have whittled down 20-25 pages to one page. This one page is comprised of the same phrases used throughout the entire proposal. This is good because a key factor in persuasive writing is echoing and continually stressing key phrases, or selling points.
Think this is too much trouble? Takes too much time? Saying to yourself, “why bother with all that?”
Remember: By the time the typical grant reader is finished reading your abstract — they are 85% certain whether they are going to recommend your grant or deny it for funding.