Apply the “Peanut Butter and Jelly” Approach to your Government Grant Proposal

What is the “peanut butter and jelly” approach to government grant proposal development?

Robert S. Frey, an expert on proposal development and the author of a fine book on the subject –Successful Proposal Strategies for Small Businesses:  Using Knowledge Management to Win Government, Private Sector, and International Contracts (2002) – recommends what he calls a “peanut butter and jelly” model.  This involves asking fundamental questions and then applying them to the Request for Proposals (RFP).  This approach can be fruitfully applied to government grant guidelines and grants proposals by nonprofit organizations too.

The key to understanding is to comprehend the customer’s mission; the customer’s hopes, fears, and critical issues’ and current state of the program or task; and the future state of the program.  As Frey says, it is all about the customer, not you.

In response, the key to your approach should be how you will fully meet your customer’s requirements and service-level expectations.  This means addressing people assets; process assets; knowledge assets; and technology assets and tools.  As Frey says, it is all about how you will support the customer.

This applies to government grant guidelines too.

In the “peanut butter and jelly model,” you structure your approach by focusing on the following:

  • People:  program and tasks leadership and subject matter experts.
  • Processes:  standard methodologies.
  • Knowledge:  specific skill sets and certifications.
  • Technology:  automated tools that your nonprofit will apply, such as project management applications.

To make a tasty sandwich, you need to answer these crucial questions in your approach:

  • Who on the team will manage the levels of performance?
  • What structured processes will the project team apply to this task?
  • Where will the project team be located to serve the government agency?
  • When will process improvements result in efficiencies to the customer or clients?
  • Why is our solution superior in terms of performance and results?
  • How will the project team use IT to improve the operational environment?
  • How many staff and what skill mix are required to successfully perform the contract?

As Frey reminds us, most federal competitive opportunities require understanding and approach sections.  The same holds for government grant proposals.  Descriptive writing is not sufficient to convey genuine understanding, and your approach must be concrete and demonstrate that you will perform the grant contract in an exemplary fashion.

1 Comment

  1. Gerardo
    February 1, 2011

    Thanks a bunch for taking the time to describe the terminlogy towards the starters!


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