Clear and concise funding proposals are always your goal. However, clarity and conciseness in expression isn't everything. A proposal is only as good as the project it is trying to convey.
So let's make your project spectacular, beginning with the Tri-alignment rule.
Your project or program should:
1. Align with your agency's mandate. Now that seems obvious but it is quite simple to engage in mission creep when massaging a program to fit a funder's criteria. Resist the urge to expand or tweak your mission;
2. Align with the needs of your constituents. Now that seems obvious as well, but it is quite simple to articulate your programming needs in terms of what your organization needs. Funders are more concerned about the community served and not the organization; and
3. Align with the grantmakers' priorities. Now that too seems obvious, but don't restrict your alignment to common themes. Strive for a demonstration of a shared vision, values and detailed priorities.