How to Write the Methods Section of Your Grant Proposal

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Once the goals and objectives of your grant proposal are in place, you need to walk your grant proposal reader through the methods you will use to achieve those goals and objectives.

Carlson and O'Neal-McElrath, authors of Winning Grants: Step by Step suggest following these guidelines for describing your project's methods.

  • Firmly tie your methods to the proposed program's objectives and needs statement.
  • Link them to the resources you are requesting in the proposal budget.
  • Explain why you chose these methods by including research, expert opinion, and your experience.
  • List the facilities and capital equipment that you will use in the project.
  • Carefully structure activities so that the program moves toward the desired results. Include a timeline.
  • Include information about whom the program will serve and how they will be chosen
  • Write this section as though the reader knows nothing about your nonprofit or the program you're proposing. Don't think of this as "dumbing" it down, but rather as making it crystal clear.

Once the methods section has been written, look at it again and ask these questions:

  • Do the methods flow logically from the need statement and your goals and objectives?
  • Have you accurately presented the program activities you will develop?
  • Did you explain why you chose these particular methods or activities?
  • Is there a timeline that makes sense?
  • Have you made it clear who will perform particular activities?
  • Given the resources you expect to have, are these activities feasible?

Once you have provided a comprehensive, transparent, and useful methods component for your grant proposal, you should move on to the evaluation component.

Sample of Methods Component

There are several ways a methods section can be written but a bulleted list after each objective works well.  Here is an example:

To achieve the objectives for our Senior Latino Community Outreach Pilot Project, Some City Senior Center will employ the methods outlined below. We have confidence in these methods, as they have been tested and proven successful by two of our fellow nonprofit organizations whose client populations are Latino: Health Access Latinos in Some City and the XYZ Community Clinic in Valley Vista.

Representatives of both organizations served as advisers to us as we developed this pilot project. We have also prepared a detailed timeline, included in the appendixes to this proposal.

Objective One

Ensure that a minimum of 75 Spanish-speaking seniors with Type II diabetes who complete our disease management classes maintain stabilized blood sugar levels for three consecutive months.


  • Some City Senior Center will hire a program assistant and a full-time bilingual nurse who specializes in chronic disease management. Establish an outreach committee co-chaired by two of our Latino and/or Spanish-speaking board members that include diverse community representation (geography, race, ethnicity, gender, and occupation).
  • The bilingual nurse and program assistant will adapt the center's current diabetes self-management classes, including classroom tools and materials, to make them linguistically and culturally appropriate for Spanish-speaking seniors.
  • The bilingual nurse and program assistant will develop the protocols for testing and tracking program participants for three consecutive months after completing the classes.
  • Staff will develop a formal referral system and feedback mechanism between our center and all appropriate community agencies to provide referrals to our Spanish-speaking diabetes management classes.
  • Staff will hold weekly Spanish-language diabetes self-management classes.
  • Staff will track participants' progress on a weekly basis for three months following completion of the classes.
  • The program assistant will formally chart the progress of each participant.

    *Modified and reprinted with permission from Winning Grants, Step by Step, Third Edition, Mim Carlson and Tori O'Neal-McElrath, Jossey-Bass, 2009.


    Storytelling for Grantseekers, Second Edition, Cheryl A. Clarke, Jossey-Bass, 2009 Buy from Amazon

    Winning Grants, Step by Step, Third Edition, Mim Carlson and Tori O'Neal-McElrath, Jossey-Bass, 2013 Buy from Amazon

    Grant Writing for Dummies, 4th Edition, Beverly A. Browning, Wiley, 2014. Buy from Amazon

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