Writing a grant proposal is about selling an idea to the funding agency, but also laying the foundation for your research over the lifetime of the grant. Plan the proposal as carefully as you would plan the actual research project. To do this, you will need to establish a group of colleagues who are willing to help you focus your idea and explain it clearly. You will need to develop the project plan and prepare a timeline not only for the project deliverables, but also to show important deadlines in the application submission process.
You need to focus on understanding the various types of funding that are available and how to identify funding that matches your idea. Everyone has a good idea; but not all ideas are fundable, and not everyone has the commitment to succeed in grant-application writing. Take time to find a funding agency which is putting money towards your area of research, while ensuring that your idea fits the basic need of the funding agency and conforms to their mission statement.
Understanding the basic requirements and rules that surround your coming grant application submission is vitally important. There are requirements both at the organization and at the funding agency that will affect the timeline of the coming months until submission. You will need to understand the Request for Proposal or Funding Announcement once you have identified a specific grant solicitation, and identify the important aspects of the grant submission to keep in mind while you are writing.
Once you have identified several possible funding agencies where your idea immediately fits into their mission statement, who have recent award winners in your field, and with which you qualify to apply for research funding, you are ready to begin the next phase in the grant application process.