Tips for Success

Application composition and project design tips are provided to help applicants finalize their application package and improve their chances of receiving an AZA Conservation Grants Fund (CGF) grant. 

Follow the Instructions

Be sure to follow the application instructions carefully. Proposals that do not conform to the application instructions will not be included in the two-tiered review process.

Check Your Grammar

Check for spelling, grammatical, and formatting errors; the application form does not identify typos. Reviewers have said that grammatical errors reflect poorly on the potential quality of the project and project team.

Project Design

To encourage applicants to utilize results-based planning, management, and monitoring in their projects, the CGF application uses adaptive management terminology taken from the Conservation Measures Partnership’s Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. For detailed descriptions of terms used in the application, review the Open Standards.

  • Clearly state the rationale for the project and document the rationale with citations and data.
  • Make sure that the project design and methods are clearly outlined in the proposal and that they fit the project goals. Specifically, be sure that sample sizes are not too small, methods described will produce the desired statistics, and the design of the overall project will produce useful results.
  • If the goals and the design of a project require hypothesis testing, specific hypotheses must be stated in the proposal.
  • The scope of the project should not be too broad, but should focus on a specific goal or outcome that can be accomplished in the stated time frame and that will produce measurable results.
  • The proposal should not propose to develop a technique or method and apply that technique or method within the same proposal. Applicants should first submit a proposal to develop a technique or method and then return to CGF to request funding for the application phase if the development phase is successful.


  • Budgets should be clear, complete, and not inflated or exaggerated.
  • The proposal should demonstrate the potential to yield a high return on investment in terms of conservation impact. Proposals that are very costly relative to the anticipated benefits tend to be reviewed less favorably by reviewers.


  • When feasible and appropriate, incorporate local community participation in field projects.
  • If the project contains an educational component, it is strongly advised that an educator is involved in both the design and evaluation of the education section.
    • Educational components are defined as programming and interpretation for targeted audiences such as school groups, teachers and families, and other community stakeholders. Other types of communication (graphics, exhibits, posters, brochures, etc.) may represent an educational component but only if they identify a target audience. Proposals should clearly explain their educational component and the means that will be used to evaluate its efficacy.
    • Educators should be trained or have experience in formal or informal educational programming and be involved in the development of any educational component. If you have questions or concerns about the educational component of your proposal, please contact the members of the Conservation Education Committee.

Submission References and Citations

Applicants are encouraged to provide references for statements made within the proposal. References should be submitted as an appendix, in Word, attached to the CGF application email. 

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