How to Develop a Strong Proposal

Before submitting a proposal, please:

Orient Yourself to Our Funding Approach
1.  Read our funding guide.  Make sure your project is eligible, that you are applying to the appropriate cycle (fast track or large scale), and that you understand what the Committee looks for in each of the six project categories funded. 
2.  Attend an STF grant writing workshop.  Fall 2019 grant writing workshop dates will be announced in late August 2019.

Get Feedback on Your Idea
3.  Explore who else might be doing similar work on campus.   Ask them questions about what successes and challenges they've had, whether they would be willing to collaborate, share resources, etc.  Often, partnering with others doing similar work and expanding is a better use of resources than starting something new.
4.  Talk to the STF Analyst or Program Associates to determine if you would benefit from connecting with others doing similar work on campus, if STF has reviewed proposals like yours in the past, and what would help you put together the strongest proposal possible.    

Email techfund@berkeley.edu to make an appointment in person or virtually.  View our office hours here.

Think through Critical Logistics
5.  Consider whether, if your project is successful, you will receive funding in time to meet your needs.  STF does not fund projects retroactively.  Successful fall cycle proposals receive funds in January and spring cycle proposals receive funds in September.
6.  Determine where your funds would be housed, and how you would access them, if your proposal is successful. 
     a) Student groups using CalLink to manage their finances should talk to their LEAD Center advisor and have approval from their organization's signatories and agent(s).  Note that you will need to know your organization's CalLink number to submit an application.  A new account listing your organization's CalLink finances page will be created for each funded STF proposal.  Commingling funds is not allowed.  Student groups may, alternatively, seek financial sponsorship from a University department.  If following this option, see the next paragraph.
     b) University faculty and staff, or students getting departmental sponsorship for their project, should have approval for their proposal from whomever holds fiduciary responsibility for the unit.  They should also be aware of, and in contact with, the financial support staff person.  Note that you will need to know the unit's chartstring to submit an application and, if funded, the financial support person will have to create a unique CF1 for your project.  Commingling funds is not allowed.
7. Gather support from all project stakeholders.
Ensure that you have written support from the person(s) authorized to make such commitments for their organization or department.  Support can involve agreeing to take on responsibility for a project's completion as a unit or organization, even if the original applicant becomes uninvolved.  Support can also be financial, or in-kind, such as hosting events or services, securely housing hardware, sharing data, etc.
For applicants in the Division of Student Affairs: Committed funding alone does not guarantee a project can move forward.  Please contact the Student Affairs Projects Office to determine whether your project requires approval through their request process.

Write a Compelling Proposal
8.  Ensure that your proposal articulates:
     -A solution to a documented problem that directly impacts students
     -Quantitative and qualitative data demonstrating students' interest in the proposed solution 
     -Clearly defined, measurable outcomes and a plan for collecting impact data 
      -Marketing plans to ensure that the proposed resource / service is well known to students and known to be Student Tech Fund-sponsored
     -What student community(ies) the applicant seeks as beneficiaries.  If "all students" are sought to be beneficiaries, different strategies to effectively engage and meet the needs of the disperat student communities paying into the Student Tech Fee, including, at minimum, graduate/professional vs. undergraduate, must be included.  We advise that proposals seeking to benefit "all students" include co-creators from diverse backgrounds. 
     -A succession plan so that, if an individual grantee is no longer leading the project, others involved continue the work and communication with the Student Tech Fund
9.  Consider strengthening your proposal by adding:  
     -Documentation of financial and/or in-kind support from multiple sources beyond the Student Tech Fund
     -Letters of support from relevant student governments, student organizations, University departments, etc.
     -Examples of successful similar programs/services at other UC campuses and/or other similar/peer institutions
     -Connection to the priorities outlined in the UC Berkeley Strategic Plan.  
10.  Understand that preference is given to proposals that:
    -Have demonstrable and diverse student involvement as a central component in crafting the proposed solution  
    -Will impact all students paying into the Student Tech Fund (graduate, professional, and undergraduate) 
    -Come from student groups and University departments with a focus on social equity 
    -Demonstrate a meaningful and data-driven impact for underserved, underrepresented and/or marginalized students
    -Offer a solution highly visible to students 
    -Avoid duplicating and/or creating an offshoot of an existing, highly similar service/program (in such cases, we recommend exploring partnerships with said service/program)