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  • I wanted to start us off by going over the ten most common mistakes proposal writers make. You may ask, well, why are we starting off by talking about mistakes. Well, many years ago, I took a creative writing class and in the “text” for the class it said “you can’t really teach someone how to write creatively, you can only show them what they are doing wrong and thus, save them some time” I’m not sure if that’s true about proposal writing, but I think it’s important to discuss what errors people commonly make.
  • Have someone unrelated to the project read your proposal. If they are bored, chances are the reviewer will be as well.
  • Course Presentation

    1. 1. Grants and Proposal Writing Sheila Snow-Croft, MA, MLIS Outreach Education Coordinator NN/LM SE/A 2009
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Common mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>The Lingo </li></ul><ul><li>Funding Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Basic elements of the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>The Budget </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
    3. 3. Common Mistakes
    4. 4. Common Mistakes <ul><li>Poor writing </li></ul><ul><li>Inaccurate costs </li></ul><ul><li>Typos </li></ul><ul><li>Budget ≠ Narrative </li></ul><ul><li>Vague objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Last minute writing </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming reviewers are experts in field </li></ul><ul><li>Buzzwords </li></ul><ul><li>Ignoring instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Idea ≠ Grant purpose </li></ul>
    5. 5. The “Lingo” <ul><li>RFP: request for proposals </li></ul><ul><li>RFA: request for applications </li></ul><ul><li>PA: program announcement </li></ul><ul><li>Application </li></ul><ul><li>Letter of intent </li></ul><ul><li>Letter of application </li></ul>
    6. 6. Funding Opportunities
    7. 7. Funding Opportunities <ul><li>NN/LM Funding: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Government Grants: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NLM: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NIH: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>HHS: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute of Museum and Library Services </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Funding Opportunities (continued) <ul><li>Private Organizations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Library Association: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foundation Center: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MLA Grants and Scholarships </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Grant Publications <ul><li>Big Book of Library Grant Money </li></ul><ul><li>Grants for Libraries and Information Services </li></ul><ul><li>National Guide to Funding for Libraries & Information Services </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising for Libraries: 25 Proven Ways to Get More Money for Your Library </li></ul>
    10. 10. NN/LM Funding <ul><li>Application Form only for all awards except </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outreach Project Awards </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Outreach Project requires an initial application </li></ul><ul><li>SE/A funding opportunities: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>SE/A current funding opportunities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Network membership required (FREE) </li></ul>
    11. 11. The Proposal
    12. 12. Getting Started <ul><li>Start early </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear about your reasons </li></ul><ul><li>Have a plan: don’t “chase the money” </li></ul><ul><li>Form a working group </li></ul><ul><li>Review the RFP written guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Submit a Letter of Intent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Letter is not binding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide: Name, Institution, Date </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to any deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Contact funder if you need any assistance </li></ul>
    13. 13. Before the Proposal <ul><li>Gather background information on the need to be addressed </li></ul><ul><li>Identify project needs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staffing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supplies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sketch a rough draft of the budget </li></ul><ul><li>Determine who will write the proposal </li></ul>
    14. 14. Tips on Writing <ul><li>Make a cohesive argument </li></ul><ul><li>Always remember your plan </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid excessive jargon </li></ul><ul><li>Think of the reviewer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No unnecessary information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Revise </li></ul><ul><li>Have someone else read the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Edit </li></ul>
    15. 15. Sections of the Proposal Plan Need Evaluate Method Summary Budget
    16. 16. Summary Statement <ul><li>Starts with a summary of the proposal. </li></ul><ul><li>Answer: who, what, how, how much </li></ul><ul><li>Why is there a need? </li></ul><ul><li>Include specifics – examples, statistics </li></ul><ul><li>What are you going to do to solve this need? </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as an executive summary </li></ul>
    17. 17. Population/Geographic Area <ul><li>Identify target group </li></ul><ul><li>Identify geographic area </li></ul><ul><li>Use background data (examples, statistics) </li></ul><ul><li>Be as specific as possible: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Socioeconomic data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Census information- Populations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Statement of need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We are so needy/poor that… </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Identification of Need <ul><li>How do you know there is a need? </li></ul><ul><li>Research your/other organizations’ efforts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is being done currently? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Did it work? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What has been done in the past? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How will your project be different? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>How will the project address that need? </li></ul>
    19. 19. Goal and Objectives <ul><li>What do you want to accomplish? </li></ul><ul><li>List goal and objectives to reach goal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal: Increase rural professionals’ use of PubMed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Objectives: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conduct training sessions at the Red River & Clausen county health departments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Develop liaison between Reference Librarian and Regional Health Directors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Publicize library’s Reference-by-Phone program </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Use action words: increase, reduce, expand </li></ul><ul><li>List each goal individually </li></ul>
    20. 20. Establish Baseline Data <ul><li>How will you determine “starting point”? </li></ul><ul><li>Baseline data allows you to determine success or failure of the project </li></ul><ul><li>Does not need to be completed prior to submission of proposal </li></ul><ul><li>A generic baseline questionnaire is available from NN/LM S/EA </li></ul>
    21. 21. Facilities/Institutional Support <ul><li>Describe the organization/institution </li></ul><ul><li>What makes your organization unique? </li></ul><ul><li>List services or facilities that will be used in the project </li></ul><ul><li>Detail any support provided by partner organizations, library, university etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Any other source of funding </li></ul><ul><li>Letters of support </li></ul>
    22. 22. Methodology and Approach <ul><li>How will you address the need? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you meet each objective? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Details, details, details </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Timeline from start to finish </li></ul><ul><li>Project Staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are their qualifications? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resume or CV </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Evaluation <ul><li>Must be measurable and quantifiable </li></ul><ul><li>Use baseline data </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate each goal and objective </li></ul><ul><li>Outreach and Evaluation Research Center (OERC) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Measuring the Difference: Guide to Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach by Catherine M. Burroughs MLS. Available online at </li></ul></ul>
    24. 24. Continuation of Activities <ul><li>Will the project be continued after period of funding ends? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Indicates recipient’s belief in the project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What will be done with the information gathered during the project? </li></ul><ul><li>Important to foundations, non-profit organizations, private funders </li></ul>
    25. 25. Putting it Together <ul><li>Title: Make it descriptive, not clever </li></ul><ul><li>Include a table of contents </li></ul><ul><li>Do not bind the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Appendices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Charts, graphs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CV from every staff member </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any letters of support </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. Private Grants <ul><li>Proposals should be only 5-7 pages in length </li></ul><ul><li>Proposal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover letter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Executive Summary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statement of Need </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Letter of application may be required </li></ul>
    27. 27. The Budget
    28. 28. The Budget Step 1 <ul><li>Contact Grants or Accounting office in your institution for Indirect Cost Rate (IDC) </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect Cost : Costs not readily identifiable with a particular cost objective, but necessary to the operation of the institution to conduct the activities it performs </li></ul><ul><li>Not all awards will permit Indirect Costs </li></ul>
    29. 29. The Budget (cont.) <ul><li>Highlight each item in the narrative that will appear in the budget </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tip: Conversely, every item that appears in the budget must be described in the narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Break down each item into parts; be intuitive </li></ul>Step 2   Equipment $1000 Equipment <ul><ul><li>Dell computer Model # </li></ul></ul>$900 <ul><ul><li>Remote Mouse </li></ul></ul>$100
    30. 30. The Budget (cont.) Step 3 <ul><li>Ensure that the RFP allows for funding of the items included in your narrative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tip: If you include items not listed in the budget section of the RFP, contact the funding institution to discuss! They want to hear from you! </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. The Budget (cont.) <ul><li>In–kind contributions or waived fees must be stated or discussed in the proposal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tip: Be as explicit as possible in all descriptions in the narrative. Reviewers are not as familiar with your concepts or environment as you are. Avoid acronyms. </li></ul></ul>Step 4
    32. 32. The Budget (cont.) <ul><li>Specifications </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes </li></ul><ul><li>Hourly Rates </li></ul><ul><li>Salary breakdowns </li></ul><ul><li>Travel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Miles per gallon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Per diem </li></ul></ul>Step 5
    33. 33. The Budget (cont.) <ul><li>Is your budget realistic? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tip: Consider the period of performance of the project, in relation to the amount of recurring expenditures, e.g. reproduction, supplies, communication, travel </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t cut yourself short </li></ul>Step 6
    34. 34. The Budget (cont.) <ul><li>Make sure your figures add up correctly </li></ul><ul><li>Your proposed budget should not surpass the total funding amount </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect Costs + Direct Costs = Total </li></ul>Step 7
    35. 35. Exercise: Program Planning
    36. 36. Need Statement The Winston Memorial Library proposes to increase access to easy-to-read patient educational materials on the Internet at three clinics in Winston County Texas. The Easy-to-Read Healthy-for-You (ERHY) project will provide training for clinic staff on Internet resources. It will also place up to three wireless computers in each clinic location. The Winston Memorial Library respectfully requests $19,973 for support of this contract
    37. 37. Identification of Target Population Winston County Texas, located 50 miles south of Houston, Texas has a population of 2200 people, mainly rural and low income. According to the latest census data, an estimated 26.7% of the population lives under the poverty level. The majority of Winston County’s residents read at a fifth grade level or below. Unfortunately, most patient education materials are produced at an 8 th grade level resulting in a population poorly equipped to make informed health decisions.
    38. 38. Project Goals and Objectives <ul><li>Goal: To increase access to easy-to-read patient educational materials on the Internet for three clinics </li></ul><ul><li>Objective 1: Provide training to clinic staff on patient educational materials on the Internet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rationale </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Objective 2: Place up to three wireless computers in each clinic in Winston County </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rationale </li></ul></ul>
    39. 39. <ul><li>Winston County Memorial Library will provide the following Internet training classes to clinic staff: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the Internet? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Class description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to Search the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Class description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health Resources on the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Class description </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patient Education Materials on the Web </li></ul></ul>Methodology
    40. 40. Final Thoughts <ul><li>Plan, Plan, Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Apply Early </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Applications make take 9 months to go through the process </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Follow directions!! </li></ul><ul><li>Learn from rejection </li></ul><ul><li>Resubmit </li></ul>
    41. 41. Remember: It all Starts with an Idea
    42. 42. QUESTIONS? 800-338-7657 410-706-2855 Sheila Snow-Croft [email_address]