Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants
<ul><li>What are you doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How are you doing it? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you want to accomplish/what ...
<ul><li>Why are you doing this project? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have your patrons/users/visitors asked for it? </li></ul></u...
<ul><li>What, specifically, are you going to do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Step-by-step (if appropriate for your project). </l...
<ul><li>MHS Executive Council/Committee has to approve Small Grants too. Take this into consideration for your project sta...
<ul><li>Who is going to work on the project? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regular staff? Full-time or part-time?—be sure to state...
<ul><li>Measuring Success </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring Outputs </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring Outcomes </li></ul>
<ul><li>How will we know if your project was successful? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you complete your project? Did you reac...
<ul><li>Outputs should be tied to your project goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs are usually easy to measure – it’s countin...
<ul><li>An outcome is a change in knowledge, behavior, or status </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A simple example: How many people t...
<ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What did people lear...
<ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does inventoryin...
<ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does putting a n...
<ul><li>Enduring Value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What “legacy” does this project provide for future generations?  </li></ul><...
<ul><li>Project Budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Line items in the budget should be individual things you need to buy or pay f...
<ul><li>Optional Matching Funds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to include your time, other staff time, and volunteer t...
<ul><li>Not all questions that you need to answer are on the application form; each category may have additional questions...
<ul><li>And how is it different than a regular Small Grant? </li></ul><ul><li>Cover common needs of historical organizatio...
<ul><li>501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS for all non-profits. </li></ul><ul><li>Financials for non-government e...
<ul><li>Download the application to your computer, close your web browser, then open the application file that you saved t...
<ul><li>Round to the nearest whole dollar amount  (like doing your taxes!). </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect costs are  NOT  all...
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Writing A Better Grant Application

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"Writing a Better Grant Application" is a workshop being offered by the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants staff. Learn to write strong project descriptions, establish compelling need and rationale, craft meaningful measurable outcomes, and articulate enduring value and sustainability in order to increase your project’s competitiveness.

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Writing A Better Grant Application

  1. 1. Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants
  2. 2. <ul><li>What are you doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How are you doing it? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you want to accomplish/what are your goals? </li></ul><ul><li>Be as specific as the space allows. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Why are you doing this project? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have your patrons/users/visitors asked for it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does your strategic plan call for it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you have a CAP or a MAP that calls for it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you have a preservation plan that calls for it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you have statistics that show it is needed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there standards you need to meet (e.g. storage conditions) that provide rationale for the project? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there some other reason you need to or want to do this project? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>What, specifically, are you going to do? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Step-by-step (if appropriate for your project). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When are you going to do each step? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there enough time allotted for each task? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do the math! For example, if you are doing a cataloging project, how many objects can you realistically get cataloged in an hour or a day? Try doing a test. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Did you allow time to evaluate your project? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do a survey, for example, to measure your outcomes. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>MHS Executive Council/Committee has to approve Small Grants too. Take this into consideration for your project start date. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>February 25, March 11, June 24, July 22, August 26, September 16, October 21 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then add another month! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Letters informing you that you received a grant go out a day or two after they meet. It will still be at least a month after that before you get your money. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And it could be even longer if you are slow getting your paperwork back in. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Who is going to work on the project? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regular staff? Full-time or part-time?—be sure to state that. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultant(s) or other hired worker(s)? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are their qualifications for the tasks that each person will be performing? </li></ul><ul><li>If you are hiring a consultant or worker(s), how do you plan to recruit them? Or, if you already have someone in mind, how did you decide on them? </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Measuring Success </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring Outputs </li></ul><ul><li>Measuring Outcomes </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>How will we know if your project was successful? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you complete your project? Did you reach your stated goals? Did you accomplish what you wanted to? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SMART success: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>S pecific – to your project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>M easureable – accurate and complete. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A ctionable – helps correct or validate decisions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>R elevant – can’t measure everything. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>T imely – have data when you need it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outputs let you quantify your success. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes let you qualify your success. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Outputs should be tied to your project goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Outputs are usually easy to measure – it’s counting widgets! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How many objects did you catalog? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What percentage of your collection did you inventory? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many oral history interviews did you conduct? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many people came to your program? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does it or doesn’t it meet Secretary of the Interior Standards? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>An outcome is a change in knowledge, behavior, or status </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A simple example: How many people took your genealogy class is an out put ; how many people actually learned to trace their family tree is an out come . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You can’t just assert something, you have to substantiate it. </li></ul><ul><li>Some projects are easier to come up with outcomes than others, and some outcomes are easier to measure than others. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What did people learn from coming to your program? Or visiting your website? Or reading your publication? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t just count how many, but who and why, and what did they find useful. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have them fill-out an evaluation form; do visitor interviews; conduct online surveys; use Google Analytics. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does inventorying, cataloging, digitizing, preserving, etc., your collections help your public and staff/volunteers? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measuring something that will occur in the future is difficult. Count the widgets (how many objects did you catalog), but also talk about why it is important to do these things: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Better access to the collections for the public & staff. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Knowing what you’ve got allows better planning and more intentional use of limited resources. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can you think of others? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Let’s brainstorm some possible outcomes and how you would measure them: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How does putting a new roof on an historic building benefit the public? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does having a disaster plan change your historical society’s “status”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How does having a walking tour of your historic downtown change the public’s knowledge and/or behavior? </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Enduring Value: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What “legacy” does this project provide for future generations? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What outcomes or results will continue after the project is completed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sustainability: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there ongoing costs to sustain the project after the end of the grant period and can you pay for them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there continuing staffing needs and can you maintain them? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there yearly fees or maintenance contracts and can you pay for those? </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Project Budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Line items in the budget should be individual things you need to buy or pay for, not just a line per funding source. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Split rather than lump expenditures. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t use vague descriptions such as “supplies.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Let the form do the calculations so you don’t have math errors. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to fill out the bottom section describing how you came up with those figures. Did you comparison shop? Is there a state of local contract you need to follow? </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Optional Matching Funds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to include your time, other staff time, and volunteer time working on the project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remember to carry these figures forward to the actual budget page, AND carry the total forward to the cover page. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Not all questions that you need to answer are on the application form; each category may have additional questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oral History Projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Why is oral history the proper method for documenting this aspect of history? Will this oral history project allow you to reach out to new audiences? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historic Preservation Planning Projects </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss who will use the product and how it fits into your current and future planning activities. Add sufficient references to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards to demonstrate that your project will conform. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>And how is it different than a regular Small Grant? </li></ul><ul><li>Cover common needs of historical organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>Simplified application: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only a cover page and budget page. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Same monthly deadline as the regular Small Grants. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS for all non-profits. </li></ul><ul><li>Financials for non-government entities and projects over $25,000. </li></ul><ul><li>Category-specific requirements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be sure to READ THE GUIDELINES ! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Historic Properties require a Scope of Work form and photographs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Digitization requires metadata samples. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not including required material can jeopardize your application. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Download the application to your computer, close your web browser, then open the application file that you saved to your hard-drive. Type only in the copy you saved to your computer. </li></ul><ul><li>You need to have a project , you can’t just buy stuff! </li></ul><ul><li>One or two sentence answers are not sufficient.  Explain your project in enough detail that we know what you’re talking about. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Round to the nearest whole dollar amount (like doing your taxes!). </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect costs are NOT allowed. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not file online and mail in a paper copy too. Don’t mail in a paper signature if you used a digital signature. </li></ul><ul><li>Using the Drop-Box: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having problems uploading?  Check your firewall. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Confirmation e-mail comes from YouSendIt. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not hire a consultant, enter into a contract, or make purchases before receiving your “ok to proceed” letter. </li></ul>

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