How to Write a Grant Proposal for Salary

by Elaine Stephens

Grant proposals that request grant funds to pay salaries must be specifically written to support the request. With exception of grants for public schools, there are few agencies that specifically grant funds to pay a salary. However, many funding organizations do allow the funding requests if the position is necessary to fulfill project goals. A successful grant proposal that requests salary funding must demonstrate project logic, projected outcome, impact of requested funds, and community support.

Include key points to show importance and need of the salaried position in the summary section of the grant proposal. Important information to include, would be the amount of salary the employee is being paid, the percentage of the salary that needs funding, what job duties the position entails, and the importance of the position. A proposal summary should be no longer then one page, and in some cases the proposal will only be a short paragraph. If funding the salary is not the main goal of the grant proposal, find a way to tie in the position being funding with the overall summary of the project.

Demonstrate a strong background when writing the description of the organization. A complete description of the company is needed so avoid merely writing about the salaried position that needs funding. Present the organization with a strong description that proves its history and qualifications in the field. Document any credentials, rewards, and accomplishments of the applying organization in this section of the grant proposal.

Create a need-statement that highlights the need for the salaried position. Use a combination of statistics, research, and community-based stories. Avoid focusing on the need of the organization; instead focus on what or who will be served by the grant funding. To create a successful need- statement, you must show the impact the position will make. Quote creditable research that supports the amount of salary for each position.

Show detailed information indicating where other funding sources for the salary are coming from. Many grant funding agencies will only fund a portion of the salary and want to know how secure the other funding will be. Make sure to mention other funding sources terms and conditions as they apply to funding a salary. Earned and unearned income should be included.

Include the cost of the salary as well as employee benefits. Unless grant guidelines give other directions, do not group all salaried positions into one pile. Identify other incoming funds that help support the direct project. If the grant funding agency allows, administrative costs to hire and attain the position may also be included in the grant proposals budget.

Attach information to the grant proposals appendices that supports the need-statement and documents organizational credentials. Include information on salary statistics for the local area.


  • Read the grant guidelines that should be provided by the granting organization or foundation. Pay special attention to what the grant is meant to fund and what it is not. Do not try to write a grant proposal to pay a salary when the grant specificies they do not pay for salaries. While many grants do not specifically say they pay for salaries they may pay for things the salaried person may do, in which case the funds could ultimately go toward the salary.


  • Avoid inputting personal information and the resume of the employee filling the position in the grant application, unless absolutely necessary. In many cases, if the position named the employee, the grant has to be re-granted if the employee changes for the position.
  • Some funding agencies will not cover administrative expenses, such as salaries.

About the Author

Based in mid-Missouri, Elaine Stephens has been a grant writer since 1999 and a small business owner since 2006. Stephens has been writing business-related articles for over five years and has been published in magazines such as "Solar Today," "Entrepreneur" and "Women in Business." She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Non Profit Business.

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