This week I learned from Rick Nader (University of Mississippi) a great technique to use while drafting and reviewing a proposal for funds. It involves IRS, but don´t freak out!, none of this involves the government auditing you to see if you apply for a grant given your tax-paying history, he was referring to design an "IRS project" (innovative, realistic and sustainable).
I think this is a very simple way to make sure that your project is a solid candidate for funding. Once you are drafting your proposal make sure your project complies with the following:
Innovative: Is it a novel concept or is it situated in a novel context? Does it motivate students to go abroad! Address a gap between the institutions that is impeding mobility. Describe a unique an timely opportunity.
Realistic: Is it doable, feasible? Do you have at this particular moment the right people, expertise and partnerships to implement this project? Will it be of mutual benefit for the institutions involved? Why does your project must be implemented now and why by you(your institution)? Make sure you have a doable set of activities but not too much, do not be overly ambitious. Inspire confidence that it will be done, sustainable and growable.
Sustainable: Do you have a realistic plan for continuation 2-5 years beyond the start date of the project? Can you demonstrate success in sustaining a past grant project. Do you have evidence of institutional support promising future resources to guarantee sustainability of the project? Make sure you are not over-promising or committing too much resources (Agencies might think that if you are able to fully fund the project yourself you might not need the grant).
I hope this information is useful to you too. Good luck with your proposals!