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  1. 1. Grant Writing for Technology Presented by: Michael Fatica Director ENTECH - Empowering Nonprofits in Technology [email_address]
  2. 2. About ENTECH <ul><li>Began in 1999, started at the Nonprofit Management Fund </li></ul><ul><li>Created in response to patterns observed in technology grants </li></ul><ul><li>Provides independent technology consulting services to area nonprofits </li></ul><ul><li>Individual & sector-wide services </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  3. 3. My Grantwriting Experience <ul><li>Worked at the Nonprofit Management Fund for three years evaluating scores of technology proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Have written a few dozen for ENTECH </li></ul><ul><li>Have consulted on hundreds of grant proposals & project plans from local nonprofit organizations </li></ul>
  4. 4. Technology Grant Proposals <ul><li>Management Related </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware for servers, networks, phones, copiers and desktop computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Software for management of events, fundraising campaigns, accounting systems, mailing lists etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of custom database </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultation for technology planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web site development, graphic design </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Program Related </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware for computer labs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational, teaching software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web sites, Program material </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Strong mission connection </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no technology grant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Represents a high priority in the technology plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this the right project for the organization to undertake now? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is current, but not too current </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The technology selected must be field tested. Avoid bleeding edge implementations. Must be “good technology” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is the result of planning; not a funding opportunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this decision being made in the context of an overall technology plan? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has informed, independent advice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who is providing the guidance? Do they have anything to gain from their recommendations? Are they qualified? </li></ul></ul>A Winning Grant Proposal
  6. 6. <ul><li>Acknowledges both up-front and ongoing costs. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support costs, Internet access and hardware replacement should be covered in the budget or long-term plan. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Provides for real technical support and training </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unsupported/undocumented/untrained-for IT projects fail. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Uses available discount opportunities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofits can get it cheaper, most of the time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has been bid upon by multiple vendors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A formal RFP process results in increased innovation and decreased cost. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Has board, management and staff buy-in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The projects main proponent should be at the management level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Avoids duplication of efforts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By working with other NPO’s costs can be reduced. “Competing” proposals are often better off as collaborative proposals. </li></ul></ul>A Winning Grant Proposal cont..
  7. 7. Technology Project Lifecycle <ul><li>Technology Inventory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What technology do we have and how does each element help the organization succeed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Needs Assessment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where are the gaps and problems in our management and service delivery. Where can technology help? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strategic Planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create a vision for how technology can address problems identified </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Project Planning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritize and select projects for implementation. How will you know when the project is a success? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>RFP & Proposal Review </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For each autonomous project, create a detailed RFP/RFQ and solicit bids. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fundraising is a full time job, but this is where the actual dollar figures can be obtained. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Implementation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implement the project. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate the project outcomes against measures decided upon in the planning phase. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Technology Assessment & Planning <ul><li>Process & Product </li></ul><ul><li>Useful tools </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment Worksheet (1 page) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment Instrument (15 pages) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventory software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technology plan development </li></ul><ul><li>Selecting a project or projects </li></ul>
  9. 9. Project Planning, RFP’s & Consultants <ul><li>Example RFP Handout </li></ul><ul><li>You prepare: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scope of Work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>General project timeline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clear deliverables and measurable outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Definition of success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As much as you can </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Consultant Provides </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Workplan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hourly rates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What they are asked for </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reviewing Consultant Responses <ul><li>Select The “Best of Breed” </li></ul><ul><li>Weed out those who don’t: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meet basic qualifications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Present thoughtful, custom materials. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have strong, detailed workplans </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid “buzzwords” and jargon in their documentation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Call to ask more about it </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Request Presentations <ul><li>Meet with a staff group before the presentations to create basic questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they understand the problem? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the explain it in plain English? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much will it cost? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you watching a sales pitch for a specific product? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do they mention training? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are ongoing and upfront costs? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will you be bound to them by service contracts, support and upgrades? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Review & Selection <ul><li>The Pros and Cons Matrix </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(E.g. Who are the pros and who are the cons!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost – Is the bottom line realistic? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarity – Can the consultant avoid geekspeak? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comprehension – Do they understand your organization and what it is trying to accomplish? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Checklist for Selecting Consultants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nonprofit experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrable experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum of 3 references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>That you check! </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Writing the Grant <ul><li>Follow the instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Follow the instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Answer all of the questions </li></ul><ul><li>Answer all of the questions </li></ul><ul><li>Connect the project with the mission </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on how it will improve the organization’s service delivery and/or management effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Communicate awareness of sustainability factors </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear and concise. Use “55” instead of “many” </li></ul><ul><li>Longer is not better </li></ul><ul><li>Go through the materials checklist (again) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Reviewing Proposals <ul><li>Its a lot of work </li></ul><ul><li>Checklists are minimally useful </li></ul><ul><li>Does the consultant’s description of the work match the organization’s? </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for a phone call to restate the project objectives & answer specific ?’s </li></ul><ul><li>Fund Advisors ask themselves “Is this a wise investment?” </li></ul><ul><li>Does the budget reflect the costs? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Common Mistakes <ul><li>Didn’t respond to all questions on the application </li></ul><ul><li>Provided a response without answering the question </li></ul><ul><li>Management did not have a clear understanding of the project’s purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Not connected to the mission </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability factors (ongoing costs & support) </li></ul><ul><li>Training wasn’t a component </li></ul>
  16. 16. Example Project 1 - <ul><li>An employment Web site for the nonprofit sector </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit Management Fund grant application </li></ul><ul><li>ENTECH prepared a work plan </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit Center of Milwaukee developed the proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Project was funded for $9800 </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting dollars vs. organizational support </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared to hear “no” </li></ul>
  17. 17. Example Project 2 – ENTECH CMS <ul><li>A Web-based Web-site maker </li></ul><ul><li>Project was not funded </li></ul><ul><li>Very detailed proposal (Too long to Xerox, see Gant Chart ) </li></ul><ul><li>$25,000 proposal </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on technology was the weak point </li></ul>
  18. 18. Technology Funding & Related Information <ul><li>Nonprofit Management Fund </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SBC/Ameritech </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technology Grant News </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marquette Funding Library </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Nonprofit Portal </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Greater Milwaukee Foundation </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Thank you!