HEAD-ON Grant Proposal

Context: This project was an assignment in Writing for Business and Government (RHET 4306), a course I completed while on the Professional and Technical Writing major at the University of Arkansas at Little RockDepartment of Rhetoric and Writing. The artifacts in this project evidence formatting and organization skills.

Full Title: Operation HEAD-ON1 (Helmet Education and Distribution Outreach Network) Grant Proposal

Project Artifacts:

  1. Grant proposal (deliverable) <View pdf>
  2. Email to Rene Johnson <View pdf>
  3. Guidelines for Writing a Strong Proposal <View pdf>
  4. Email from Rene Johnson2 <View pdf>

Purpose: To gain experience analyzing documents, identifying audiences, using writing for problem-solving, and generating polished materials in both digital and print form.

Audience: Course professor and the fictitious employer, King County Public Safety Department.

Development: In a previous assignment, I conducted research on effective grant writing and created guidelines to post on a website to help others with submitting proposals. For this assignment, I conducted further research and also considered the assigned reading, Seeing Proposals Through Reviewers’ Eyes.3

In this scenario, manager Rene Johnson took me up on an offer to help her put together a grant proposal to submit to my former employer, the Heathcot-Anne Foundation. Funds were needed for a project to supply safety helmets to children under the age of 16 who could not afford them. I received an email from Rene Johnson containing information she’d collected and put together to help me draft the proposal.

I drafted the proposal and emailed it to Rene as an attachment. In the email, I explain the rational behind my design process; in particular, how I incorporated both my research and Rene’s research into the proposal.

Reflection: Working my way though this project made it apparent that grant writing is a complex, lengthy process. I had to conduct a great deal of research to understand the subject. The research reminded me that certain genres of writing have specific requirements as regards formatting, organization, and writing style. Moreover, it reinforced the notion that understanding the conventions of a genre can remove any apprehension one might feel when working on complex documents.

  • Organizational Skills: Identifying the conventions of the grant writing genre gave me a starting point for organizing the information in this proposal. I also needed to ensure that the information presented transitioned smoothly and logically at the section, paragraph, and sentence levels.
  • Professional Formatting: This document was challenging in that the assigment instructions limited me to one page. For this reason, I had to choose my words carefully. I used document design elements in such a way that readers could recognize the logical flow of information on the page; for example, I bolded the main section headings. I also felt I couldn’t make use of graphics, as they would take up too much real estate on the page. Bolding headings and making use of bullets and numbering allowed me to add visual rhetoric in lieu of graphics. I also placed budget information in a table as another form of visual rhetoric. I ultimately had to reduce the font size to 11 points to make everything fit. I knew the document would be read online, so I selected a sans serif font – Calibri – for the body text: I felt this font choice would improve both the document’s readibility and legibility in digital form.
grayscale photography of children riding bicycles
Photo by Darcy Lawrey on Pexels.com


  • Created: November 8, 2018
  • Last update: February 21, 2019
  • Tools Used: Microsoft Word 2010, Google Docs
  • Keywords: Grant Writing, Proposal, Print Media

1. I’m particularly proud of coming up with the acronym for the project: HEAD-ON (Helmet Education and Distribution Outreach Network). My first choice was actually HEAD-ACHE; however, not only could I not find a suitable combination of words, I worried that HEAD-ACHE might come across as insensitive or too light-hearted; especially since children who crash without a helmet can suffer from serious head injuries.
2. Adapted from “Proposals” in Roger Mungers, Document-Based Cases for Technical Communication, 2nd ed., (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013), 45.
3. Roger Munger, Document-Based Cases for Technical Communication, 2nd ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013), 37-46.