Proposal Preparation as a service: Five key things we do

  • March 16, 2023

Proposal Preparation is a service that we at E.B. Howard Consulting offer to lend our subject matter expertise to clients in the area of crafting a competitive grant proposal.

We bring decades of industry expertise in preparing federal grants. We provide services for startups and those that support the startup innovators and economic development community (e.g., MBDA, SBIR, etc.)

#1 We Help Prepare Documents

We help our clients prepare all documents required for their grant proposals. This includes Project Narratives, Project Descriptions, Abstracts, Biosketches, References Cited, Budgets, Budget Justifications, Letters of Support, Letters of Collaboration, Current and Pending Support, Commercialization Plans, and any other specific documentation required. Out insider knowledge helps clients prepare these documents according to the requirements indicated by the funder. Without an advisor to help navigate this process, preparing these documents can be confusing, time-consuming, and frustrating. Preparing these documents incorrectly can be grounds for proposal denial before you even get to the merit review. Based on client feedback, It is typically budget restrictions and narrative completion that prove the most difficult without an advisor who knows the process.

#2 Portal Assistance

Each agency that accepts proposals, whether federal, foundation or private, has a proprietary portal system applicants must use to submit proposals (and progress reports if awarded). These portals tend to be archaic, have incredibly precise instructions to follow, and are difficult to navigate for users without direct experience working with them. Fortunately, our experience navigating these portals for previous clients over the years has led to a wealth of knowledge regarding how various existing grantor platforms work, as well as skills and insight for deciphering the correct way to enter information in platforms we have never seen before.

#3 General Guidance

We also have an open-door policy in which contracted clients can contact us at any time for guidance or answer questions. Client feedback has informed us that this feature provides invaluable peace of mind. Knowing an expert is on your side to answer any question that may concern you is a significant stress reducer. We also help navigate any tricky situations that can come up in the proposal process that clients may not have been prepared for (e.g., the subawardee does not have active SAM registration, contractors fall through, online grant portal accounts are set up incorrectly, etc.).

#4 Critical Review

The critical review is, per our client’s feedback, one of the most crucial services our team provides. Using the criteria for each funder, our team performs a mock merit review of the proposal, just as the reviewers will once the proposal reaches them. This helps eliminate any gaps, and logic leaps ensure the proposal is clear and concise, ensures milestones and objectives are realistic and sufficiently detailed, and generally allows the client to submit the more competitive review that would be possible without this step of the process.

#5 Collaboration with clients to ensure their proposal is watertight

Proprietary information is what gives the proposal the “meat” that makes it appear feasible and worthwhile to the reviewers. Proposal preparation is a collaborative process between client and consultant, and our job is to be the subject matter expert on proposal preparation, not on the client’s specific industry of expertise. Through working in this role, our team has amassed an impressive pool of knowledge about all industries encountered. However, this does not mean we should design your research and development (R&D) plan without your input. Without it, there can be only educated guesses and insubstantial fluff. Many people (incorrectly) assume that a proposal preparation specialist can work in a vacuum and does not need significant input/information from the client to help create a strong proposal. The most successful clients we have seen are those that collaborate, communicate, and participate in the intimidating yet rewarding process that is proposal preparation.

Ready To Take the Next Step?

We assist our clients in locating, applying for, and evaluating the outcomes of non-dilutive grant funding. We believe non-dilutive funding is a crucial tool for mitigating investment risks, and we are dedicated to guiding our clients through the entire process—from identifying the most suitable opportunities to submitting and managing grant applications.