When responding to a Request For Proposal (RFP), it is important to follow the formatting guidelines.  These usually include margins, font size, line spacing, page limitations and page numbering. Keep in mind these are actually guidelines and NOT suggestions.  Most departments do not allow reviewers to take off points for not following the guidelines but reviewers really want to, especially if you are writing in an eight point font!  There are reviewers who tend to score more severely because you are straining their already overburdened eyes or because they just cannot read that small font.  If you are going to cheat on the font, it is wise to not go beyond what is clearly obvious to the naked eye.  Most reviewers do not bring a magnifying glass to the review so you might be safe with an 11 point font as opposed to 12.   And while it may not be a guideline, please do not use a cutesy, squirrelly font that distracts from your proposal.  Keep it clean and professional.

During the peer reviewer orientation for every review, someone always asks if they can count off points for the formatting.  The answer is always no.  However, there are those diligent departments who like to keep things fair and they have either removed all pages beyond the page limit or tell the reviewer not to read beyond the page limitation (and then there are those peer reviewers who just take it on themselves not to read past the allotted number of pages). As a grant writer, you are taking a big chance by going past the page limit as chances are very good that significant information will not be read (such as the entire evaluation section worth 10 points).

Keep in mind that you must get a good score from the reviewer before you will be considered by the funding agency.  Give the reviewer everything they need to award you maximum scores.  Make your proposal easy to read and easy to follow.  Be sure you follow the guidelines and the scoring criteria (in the exact order that it is presented in the RFP).  The reviewers do not award the money but they get you to the place that does–make them happy and everybody is happy.