Grantwriting 101


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  • Not uncommon for family and corporate foundation to limit grants to organization located in regions, state, city or towns where they do business. What activities the funder will and will not fund – Fund tutoring, scholarships, construction, funding categories, populations
  • IRS Form 990 – How foundation distribute funds – Who, Size, duration Get copy of 990 by contacting IRS, directly form the public charity or Internet databases such as Guidestar (
  • Letter of Intent or Inquiry Often foundation and cooperation request a letter of intent to screen out projects that do not meet their funding guidelines and avoid length proposal writing. Funder may also want to preselect projects in which it has an interest and request full proposals Letters of Intent are brief and should be written on letterhead
  • Letter of Intent or Inquiry Often foundation and cooperation request a letter of intent to screen out projects that do not meet their funding guidelines and avoid length proposal writing. Funder may also want to preselect projects in which it has an interest and request full proposals Letters of Intent are brief and should be written on letterhead
  • Use statistics judiciously…Do not use dramatic figures that paint a negative picture of an area or target population just to demonstrate how bad things are. May backfire…. Tie statistics directly to the problem that you are trying to solve. Start a file that includes items such as statistical data, reports, newspaper articles, white papers and other pertinent info you come across throughout the year.
  • Solution: What are you going to do to fix “the Need” Review of literature- Why did you decide on this solution? What are the best practices? Goals/Objectives/Activities/Outcomes – how are you going to accomplish the project Program/Project personnel – Who is going to administer the project? What are there qualifications? Timeline/Schedule of Activities- When will the project take place? What are the mile stones?
  • Estimate project length six months or a year.
  • Budget detail should include what is covered under indirect costs. For example, if telephone is covered as a direct expense it should not be covered included in indirect costs. Indirect costs are usually calculated as a percentage of total direct costs. Indirect costs can range from as little as 5 percent for a charter school to as much as 60 percent for a major university. Your agency may already have an approved indirect cost rate from a state or federal agency. Contact your business manager or contact the US Office of Management and Budget or your state’s Fiscal Agency.
  • Cash Match: When your are trying to find available money for hard cash match, check with financial officer and
  • Brief one page review of what the reviewer will find in the application/proposal Written after grant narrative Key sentences from the main sections
  • Foundations and state and local government review quicker than federal government. Federal government six to 12 months Amount of points assigned to each session indicates importance
  • Grantwriting 101

    1. 1. Grant Writing 101
    2. 2. Agenda The Givens Locating Grants Assessing Eligibility Planning a Grant Writing the Grant Proposal Review and Follow-up Grant Management Hiring and Selecting Grant Writers
    3. 3. The Givens Grant Writing is part of your fundraising plan Grant Writing is a necessity Grant Writing should be ongoing Grant Writing should be performed by someone who knows how to write Grant Writing should yield results Grant Writing is NEVER last minute Funders will always tell you what they want Grant proposals in the pipeline should be 200% of actual need -- double
    4. 4. Categories of Support Operating – running program to meet community needs Special Project – new project or project with limited timeframe Capital/Equipment – specified amount for construction, renovation, expansion, purchase land or equipment Endowments - planned gifts, will or trust
    5. 5. Basic Grant Sources Government - Federal, Provincial, Local Foundations Corporation Family
    6. 6. Assessing Funding Eligibility Eligibility  Type of organization  Geographic restrictions  Population served Size of Award  Sufficient amount to complete program activities  Number of grants  Award size and duration Project Focus  Project complements funder’s goals and priorities
    7. 7. Assessing Funding Eligibility Cont. Type of Activity  Specified use of funds Restrictions  Matching funds  Expenditure limitations  Evaluation requirements
    8. 8. Searching For and Locating GrantsFinding the right grant opportunity is most of the timeconsuming work in grantsmanship. Plan to spend atleast half your time in:  finding the agency  investigating previous projects that the agency has funded  learning about the grant proposal requirements5. Become familiar with your chosen grant funders6. Search locally first
    9. 9. Grant Information Sources Annual Reports Funder Guidelines Donor Website Contact the Funding Agency by phone or email
    10. 10. Grant Information Sources Cont.Paid Subscription DatabasesAjah Fundtracker http://donate2charities.caBIG Online Search Canada Canada Can - Aggregates all of Canada Revenue Agency T3010 data and allows you to search, rank, and compare all of Canada’s 85,000 plus charities, including charitable foundations. Also includes Noza Database-Canada, which has 2.1 million Canadian donation records. See also Canadian Donor’s Guide.
    11. 11. Grant Information Sources Cont.Free DatabasesCanadian Environmental Grantmakers Network - Grants database: Green Source: A Quick Reference to Funding Sources for Environmental Projects by Non-Profit Organizations is available on the websites of Environment Canadas regional offices. For links to each of the regional offices, check the national website: Grantmaking Foundations is an American directory that provides information on environmental grantmakers, and includes U.S. foundations that grant in Canada, and some Canadian foundations: www.environmentalgrants.comFunding Sources for British Columbia Communities: Village - contains links to online databases and directories of funding agencies and foundations, plus online tools and resources:
    12. 12. Grant Information Sources Cont.Service Clubs: Revenue Agency – Charities Listings: Focus - run by Imagine Canada and funded by CRA, this site makes CRA charities listings more accessible: http://www.charityfocus.caOpen Charity takes information from the CRA website and puts it in a more accessible format:
    13. 13. Grant Information Sources Cont.Fundsnet (US)Canadian Funders: Funders:
    14. 14. 5 Top Ways to Get Fundedt Read the RFPt Read the RFPa READ THE RFPa READ THE RFP!a READ THE RFP!!!
    15. 15. Letters of Inquiry Alternative to a call or visit Do homework before the letter for previous funding history, types of projects, amounts Provide information about your organization Provide information about your proposed project
    16. 16. Letters of Inquiry 1-2 pages! Who are you? Mission, organization, you are seeking funds Why this agency? You understand their priorities What is the need? Clear and brief Whats the plan? Bullet goals/objectives Why fund you? Uniqueness, qualifications How much? Broad categories Closing – thank you, contact information, whether you will follow up with a phone call
    17. 17. Letters of Intent Introduction  Why you are writing  Mission and population served Needs  Demographic and statistical evidence Project Description  Link funder’s priorities and project goals Solution  How it addresses need  Best practices
    18. 18. Letters of Intent Project Plan  Activities, timetables, methodology Organizational Capacity  Ability and commitment  Previous work and staff qualifications Budget  Funding request, organizational support and other resources Sustainability  Project continuation
    19. 19. Planning the Grant Start with an innovative idea that addresses a specific challenge and/or need (purpose) Start documenting need. Social/economic costs, beneficiaries, nature of the problem, impending implications? Scan and identify grant opportunities
    20. 20. Planning the Grant Target a grant  Make sure your focus aligns to the grant criteria  Make contact with grantor agency!  Review successful and recent awards  Identify partners, define roles and build partnerships as well as community support
    21. 21. Proposal Components Organization/Partner Organization Descriptions Proposal Summary/Abstract Statement of Need – Problem and Background Project Description: Goals and Objectives Methodology (Design and Timeframe) Evaluation - Outside Evaluators, Quantitative and Qualitative Measures Aligned to Goals Budget and Sustainability Attachments – Commitment letters, Resumes of all Partners, Information Charts, References
    22. 22. Using Statistics Statistics Tell  How much?  How many?  How often?  How severe?  How costly? …but don’t overwhelm! Short!
    23. 23. Project Description What?  Goals and Objectives Why?  Best Practices/Effectiveness How?  Tasks/Activities Who?  Program Personnel When?  Time Line
    24. 24. Effective Goals/Objectives Goals - Broad statements reflecting ultimate results of accomplishment Objectives – Measurement of what the organization will do to accomplish goal Activities - Specific Tasks or Strategies Outcomes – Measure change as a result of project
    25. 25. Project Personnel Who will manage the project? Who will be involved in the project? What are their qualifications? What are their responsibilities? What is the management/organizational structure for the project? Are you using existing personnel or hiring someone after the award? If hiring, add a job description
    26. 26. Management Plan How organization is structured and the resources available  Key personnel  Organizational structure  Finance  HR  Unique features, i.e. volunteers, student workers, leveraging other workers
    27. 27. Evaluation Benefits Strengthens proposals in eye of reviewers  What works best Learn what is going well and what is not  Program improvement during the project Ensures project is operating effectively  Recipients of public trust Create a replicable model for others to use
    28. 28. Planning Evaluation What questions will evaluation answer? What are the specific evaluation plans and time frames? What data will be collected? Who will be evaluated/what will be measured? When will data be collected? What strategies/ tools/instruments will be used? Who will conduct the evaluation? Who will write and receive the report? How will the information be used to improve the project?
    29. 29. Assessment Measures  Quantitative  Number driven  Bottom line  Products  Qualitative  Quality  Perceptions and experiences of participants  Adjust programs and procedures
    30. 30. BudgetBudget justifies expenses andaligns with proposal narrative
    31. 31. Budgeting Steps Establish budget period Estimate expenses Decide whether and how to include overhead or indirect costs. Remember that overhead costs are real! Estimate donated goods and services based on real costs and valid sources Estimate project revenues
    32. 32. Direct Expenses Consider: Implementation, continuation, and phase-down costs  Salaries and increases  Utilities, insurance, rental space, and equipment  Food, transportation, and telephone  Evaluation systems, audits, accounting systems, and dissemination activities  Materials and supplies
    33. 33. Indirect or Overhead Costs Shared by all of the program and entity but difficult to assign specific amounts to any one program, i.e.:  Liability Insurance  Copier Lease  Financial Management Recovery of indirect costs  Funders guidelines  Organization guidelines
    34. 34. In-Kind Matching Funds Read funder’s definition carefully  Can the match be an in-kind contribution (i.e., goods, facilities or services)?  Personnel • Contractual  Fringe benefits • Construction  Travel • Miscellaneous  Equipment • Indirect Charges  Supplies
    35. 35. Cash Match Cash match (hard cash) Work with business manager to explore:  General operating funds  Specialized allocations  Other state or federal grants (allowable)  Private sector grants  Set up a fund internally for matching
    36. 36. Budget Principless 0 mistakes! (at least 3 proofers)o Consistent format – numbers, dollar signs, decimals, commasa Ask for enough, but just enoughe Clearly justify your figures with real estimates, real travel locations, real mileage, real salaries (no estimates)m Tell your story. If someone cannot understand your project from reading your budget, start over.r Include ALL project costs, ALL internal contributions, ALL partner contributions, and plans for sustaining the projectt When you do not have a person hired for a position, include a clear job description
    37. 37. Budget PresentationYou should present your budget in four different ways: Narrative format (a short summary that refers to percentages and precedes the standard format) Visual format, such as a pie chart that reflects the percentages mentioned in the narrative Standard numerical format Budget justification (details about each numerical item and follows the standard format)
    38. 38. Narrative The overall annual budget for the Center for Women and Children is projected tobe$465,000. Of this amount 53% is for salariesand benefits, 37% is for programs and services to women and children, and 10% is for administration and fundraising expenses.
    39. 39. Visual Format
    40. 40. Standard FormItem Annual ExpenseA. Personnel (Salaries, Wages)  Executive Director $ 65,000  Administrative Assistant, .5 FTE $22,000  Program Director $38,000  Program Assistant $32,000  Development Director $38,000  Membership Coordinator $32,000  Office Assistant $26,500 Total Personnel $183,500B. Benefits Medical/dental coverage $22,000C. Contractual  1. Web design and maintenance $11,500  2. Accounting (monthly) $ 500
    41. 41. Budget Justification Thoughtful narrative per each item Summary overview Discuss any significant increases or decreases compared with last years or next years budget Important figures (such as a high per unit cost).For example, if your $250,000 organization has$75,000 increase in rent, explain why
    42. 42. Sample Budget JustificationExecutive Director, Dr. Joan Smith The budget request is for .5 FTE director @ $95,000 annual salary plus fringe at 28%.Administrative Assistant, Ms. Mary Smith The budget request is for .5 FTE administrative assistant @ $37,500 annual salary plus fringe at 22%. She will be .5 FTE for the Oklahoma GEAR UP Program at the same time. Office space is being contributed to the project by the Oklahoma GEAR UP program.
    43. 43. Abstract or Summary Proposal initiative  Project name, funding competition Statement of need Goals Measurable objectives Key activities Impact on problem  What will improve and how many will project impact over project duration
    44. 44. Double Check Create checklist of required items and supplements  Proposal elements  Criteria  Technical requirements (proof font, tabs, margins, style)  Submittal requirements (hard copy, e-copy)  Budget Outside readers evaluate New pair of eyes to evaluate work. Get three persons to review: one close, one semi-close, and one cold. Try a teen- ager or a grandmother. Track submission with follow-up note, call, or electronic verification
    45. 45. Proposal Review Process  Guidelines vary by entity  Selection criteria and scoring  Published in solicitation and federal register  Available from Program Director  Peer review
    46. 46. Life After the Grant Grant is Accepted  YEAH!!!  Negotiated. This is VERY OK!!! Grant is Rejected  Have 8 hours of depression and regroup  Obtain reviewer comments  Make personal visit  All might not be lost... Write Thank You In either case, keep writing. BE PERSISTENT!
    47. 47. Remember…..REJECTION IS GOOD! plans development learning curve contact
    48. 48. Hiring and Selecting Grant Writers Using an outside grant writer may seem like a good idea but maybe not… Ask:  Does our organization have the skills required for this project? (no = hire)  Is this a short term project or require long term commitment? (long term = in house)  Does this project require outside objectivity? (yes = hire)
    49. 49. Hiring and Selecting Grant Writers PROs CONs  On time  External values  On budget  Have to gain knowledge  Honest  Lack of passion  Attention & time given  Lack of relationships to project  Expensive with no  Experience guarantee
    50. 50. Principles of Working With a Grant writer Prepare a one-page Scope of Work Get referrals Cost, Confidentiality Statement, Code of Ethics Pay a fee, not a % - same amount whether grant is funded or not Interview 3 Select based on chemistry, calendar, cost Turn loose! Let the professional work Final report - hours spent on meetings, research, writing - costs of materials, postage, copying
    51. 51. Thank You! Cindy 604-568-9420