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Before You Submit

Tips for Writing a CAFES Proposal

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Have an idea, but you’re not sure where to start? The CAFES Proposal Consultant is a resource at any point in your writing process, and can help develop ideas, offer advice, and answer any questions you may have. It can also be helpful to reach out to your peers, faculty, and staff to get feedback on your ideas — and you might even find someone who’s interested in working on the project with you! If you have an idea and don't know where to start, reach out to our Proposal Consultant and set up a time to chat!

2. Do your research

When reviewing funding requests, the CAFES Committee looks for proposals that are detailed, well-thought-out, feasible and well justified in their motivations and goals. To ensure that your project fits these criteria, be sure to do plenty of background research on your project and communicate your ideas with your stakeholders. It is also important to do research on prices/costs in order to make sure you are finding the most cost-efficient options for your project. Finally, think about how your plan will contribute to the broader Willamette community. Successful proposals address a present need and relate to a broader context, so spend some time thinking about who your project will benefit and how.

3. Aim for feasibility

One of the most important project components that the Committee evaluates is feasibility.  This means having a reasonable budget, doable project, and most importantly a realistic timeframe. Having a realistic timeframe for your project — an allowance of 2-4 weeks for the creation of the project’s account and enough time budgeted for the submission of your project write-up after its completion — will show that your project is attainable and raise your chances of being approved for funding. Example forms included below.

Listed below are some resources to help you write your grant:

  • Professors/Stakeholders
  • The Writing Center
  • CAFES Committee Proposal Consultant


Willamette University

Community Action Fund for Equity and Sustainability Committee