(5) Reviewing grants has illustrated the important role that literature reviews can play when addressing the need for a project.
When I review a proposal and I can see that the applicant has done a literature review of studies that point out what works and does not work (i.e., best practices), I believe the applicant is more credible when discussing the need for its project—and why the applicant chose the solution(s) it did to address the need. This same lesson applies to statistics that are included to support the need for a project. When I read statistics, especially those collected on a local and/or state level that cite the depth and breadth of a problem, I understand why the applicant has chosen to address it in the proposal.
(6) Reviewing grants has shown me the importance of the review criteria.
This section is often found at the very end of the RFP or on a separate web page. I would be willing to bet that most grant writers do not spend much time looking at this section—but that would be a huge mistake! When you serve as a reviewer, this is the most important section of the RFP. Many times, you are not looking at the entire RFP; you are only presented with a scoring matrix or checklist and asked to score a section of each proposal. Typically, this matrix is based on the RFP review criteria, so clearly it makes sense to read through the review criteria before you submit a proposal to make sure you have not missed anything.