How to not win an EMS grant proposal

Here are four of the most common mistakes in public safety grant writing and how to avoid making them


Grant proposal writing isn’t any more complex than running a cardiac arrest resuscitation or leading a team of firefighters at a residential structure fire. It’s a learned skill. Like any fire or EMS skill, it takes practice, practice and more practice. You don’t improve your intubation skills without practice. The more grant proposals you write, the better you will get.

Inexperienced grant writers tend to make similar mistakes. Here are four of those common mistakes.

1. Not following instructions

Almost all funders, whether a government agency or a foundation, will tell you exactly how to present the materials. The request for proposal and proposal guidelines will tell you what information they want and how they want you to format the proposal. They will tell you what font type and size to use, the page margins, line spacing and other seemingly unimportant stuff. If they don’t tell you, opt for simple: 11 or 12 point Times New Roman, single spaced, with one-inch margins all around. You may also encounter word limits or character limits, especially with online applications.

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