Last updated June 2018
If you've never written a proposal before--and even if you have--it can be valuable to look at sample proposals, particularly examples of funded proposals.
Unfortunately, examples of successfully funded proposals are not easy to find. Proposals submitted to private foundations are more difficult to access than proposals submitted to government agencies, but even among U.S. government agencies, the number of released proposals varies greatly. Two agencies that have consistently released proposals over the years include the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education.
If you are interested in viewing a grant application that has been funded by a U.S. government agency, but which has not been publicly released, you can submit a request to receive a copy under the Freedom of Information Act (http://www.foia.gov). There are no special forms to complete under the FOIA. To start the process, contact the FOIA office of the agency that awarded the grant. You can use the agency directory on the FOIA website to look for the relevant contact information. If you are unable to find the contact information for the agency in question, you can reach out to the program officer of the awarded grant for guidance on how to make the request. Note that not all requests will be approved, and you will not gain access to confidential or proprietary information such as budgets.
The resource list below consists of links to proposals primarily funded by U.S. government agencies. There are a few foundation sources, including a book released by the Foundation Center that includes more than 30 sample proposals. Listed below you'll also find links to proposal outlines and grant writing guidance.
Resources for Sample Proposals **
Association of Zoos and Aquariums funds conservation projects through its grants program. The AZA has posted several successfully funded proposals for prospective grant applicants to review.
CIVICUS World Alliance for Civic Participation: CIVICUS provides guidance on proposal writing plus a sample proposal requesting support for an AIDS orphan project beginning on p. 28 of the linked document.
Community Tool Box: The website has posted two sample proposals for community-level projects.
Cornell University, Engineering: Cornell has posted links to proposals submitted to government agencies and to the Sloan Foundation.
Foundation Center's Guide to Winning Proposals: Released in 2008, this book includes 38 sample proposals, all successfully funded.
Grant Gopher: Grant Gopher is an online database of grant opportunities. If you register for an account with Grant Gopher (a free account or paid annual subscription), you can download up to five sample proposals in each category.
GrantSpace: On GrantSpace, you'll find sample cover letters, letters of inquiry, budgets, and proposals.
Grantsmanship Center: The site offers (for purchase) examples of successful proposals from a range of disciplines.
Jabberwocky Ecology: Jabberwocky Ecology has posted links to proposals in the biological sciences, most of which were submitted to government agencies.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: NIAID has posted more than 25 sample applications on its site.
Nonprofit Guides: Nonprofit Guides has posted sample proposals for community projects (one to a foundation, the others to government agencies).
Scholastic.com: Scholastic.com has provided a sample proposal to the State of California for an ESL program.
U.C. Berkeley, Institute of International Studies: U.C. Berkeley has provided two sample proposals. One proposal is to the National Science Foundation and the second is an example of a Fulbright application.
U. S. Department of Education: The U.S. Department of Education has provided links to more than 20 successful proposals.
Wiley: Jossey-Bass: A supplement to Thomas Blackburn's book Getting Science Grants: Effective Strategies for Funding Success (Jossey-Bass, 2003), the website includes links to funded proposals to federal and private agencies.
Adventures of Cyberbee: The site provides a sample outline and a suggested approach for education-related proposals.
CIVICUS World Alliance for Civic Participation: CIVICUS has a proposal toolkit that provides instruction on planning and writing a proposal and includes a sample proposal.
Community Tool Box: The Community Tool Box offers a comprehensive proposal outline that includes proposal guidance, links to tools for proposal development, and two sample proposals.
Udemy course Federal Grant Writing 101 with Dr. Beverly Browning: Dr. Browning's course includes excerpts from two of her funded proposals (one to a foundation, one to a U.S. government agency). The course has a list price of $49.
National Marine Fishery Service: The National Marine Fishery Service has provided an annotated proposal outline covering proposal development and writing phases.
World Bank Blog: On the World Bank blog, a reviewer of World Bank proposals for impact evaluation work provides tips for stronger proposals.
**Note: We update this list as we learn about new resources. When this post originally came out in 2015, the proposal resource list included 14 resources. We've since added a few more resources to both the sample proposal list and the "additional resources" section. If you know of other sources for funded proposals please let us know!