Grant Writing 101


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Grant writing is part science, part art. While most people prefer dental surgery to grant writing, the process is fairly painless if you follow a few of the simple steps discussed in this seminar. While this seminar focuses on federal grant applications, the same process can apply to state, foundation, corporate or other types of response to a request for proposals.

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Grant Writing 101

  1. 1. Grant Writing 101 - Preparing a Successful Proposal John Izzo Special Thanks To Our Sponsors
  2. 2. Helping ordinary people raise extraordinary amounts for nonprofits is all we do, and we love it. A Proud Sponsor of
  3. 3. Today’s Speaker John Izzo Co-Founder, Community Grants Associates, Inc. Hosting: Assisting with chat questions:Sam Frank, Synthesis Partnership April Hunt, Nonprofit Webinars
  4. 4. GrantsGrants Are Grants are NOT• Competitive • Formula-Based• Time Sensitive • Continual• Project Based • For things or general support• Conditional • “Free Money”
  5. 5. Preparing to Write“When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers” - Oscar Wilde
  6. 6. Issues• Most Grants are lost • Power of Data before writing begins• Organizational • Collaboration Issues • Mission Driven $$• Branding
  7. 7. Power of Data• Rule: Funders increasingly demand measurement• Collection of data is meaningless without management of data.• Best Practices• Longitudinal Data
  8. 8. Branding• Rule: Run like a business• What is your community profile• Social Media
  9. 9. CollaborationWhat it Means? What it Does?• Want big $$- collaborate • Raises profile and shows community buy-in• Power of Synergy • Specialization & Cost Saving• Selection of Partners • Reputable • Add Value • Play Nice with Others
  10. 10. Mission Driven $$$Rule: Do not chase $$$- let your mission lead to funding
  11. 11. What Do Funders Look For• Social Research and Development• Innovation is not scary! – E.g. “Repeat”• Reputable and Dynamic• Need is OK – Results are Better
  12. 12. Finding Funders continued• Technology and Change• Glass Pockets Initiative • • Transparency in Funding and What it Means
  13. 13. “Have you even seen how complex these things are? IfEinstein had to fill one these things out, God only knows if we’d know what E equals” Josiah Bartlett (as played by Martin Sheen on T.V. Show “The West Wing”) REVIEWING THE RFP
  14. 14. Approach• Read critically – What is mission and purpose? – What about program design? • Measurement • Scoring Criteria • Layout• Read Conditional Language Unconditionally• Review Scoring Criteria – This will help set up the narrative
  15. 15. “Money often costs too much” Ralph Waldo Emerson“A fire drill does not require a fire” Bartholomew J. SimpsonFOLLOW THE MONEY?
  16. 16. Writing the Narrative The Rules
  17. 17. The basics• Follow the Directions (no matter how illogical)• Good Writing is Good Writing – Write to win, not to impress – Simple sentence structure is better• Data – Current and relevant data please
  18. 18. Let the RFP Do The Work• Contains all questions, sub- questions and scoring• Organizing Principle & Narrative Outline• Scoring = How Much of Narrative to Devote to each section/question
  19. 19. Hemingway is Dead• Answer the question……• ….directly• You are trying to convince people to give you money!
  20. 20. The power of G*O*A*M*sGrant Writing Pyramid • Goals G O • Objectives A • Activities M s • Measures of Success
  21. 21. Goals & ObjectivesGoals Objectives• Typically One of Two • Align under goals – E.g. Reduce Truancy in – Reduce truancy by at least Minority Youth in East 20% in target population Moncton• Big Think but Be Real • Flesh out the steps to get to goals• While not Quantifiable- • Quantifiable Believable
  22. 22. Activities• The specific steps undertaken – E.g. Identify 300 youth who meet project criteria over three year life of project – Provide after school programs/summer programs for 100 youth per year.• When, Where, Why, How• Each activity is quantifiable when ever possible
  23. 23. Measures for Success• Below Activities • Cumulative- i.e. if met for activities and objectives likely will reach goal• Quantifiable • Longitudinal – i.e. how you met Goal• Measure Against Baseline Data • MUST HAVE
  24. 24. Benefits of Approach• The Process Builds on Itself• Should Use in Project Design• Makes Writing Evaluation Easy
  25. 25. Why Limit GoalsGoal #1 Goal #2 G G O O A A M M s s
  26. 26. Program Narrative = Story Telling• The Funder Has Never Heard the Story Before – Grab Him or Her Quick Before Interest Lost• Supported with Specific Data – Your organization (annual report) – Prior Proposals• Walk me Though the Process – Especially for Comprehensive Programs
  27. 27. Saving Space & Consistency• Consistent Messaging – Typically 2 -3 key messages in narrative • Need for creativity – E.g. if only 50% of a population has a high school diploma, that means at least 50% have no college degree• Importance of Page Limits – Remember the limitations in the RFP• Space Saving Devices – Signals – Tables, Charts, Footnotes, etc.
  28. 28. Evaluation• A well- written proposal should generate data• Funders Demand It More Often• Qualitative vs. Quantitative Measurement
  29. 29. Evaluation – cont’d• Hiring and Outside Evaluator – Credentials = Data/Statistical Expertise – The evaluator should be involved in writing the proposal• Costs• Evaluator can cost up to 10-15% of project budget• Negotiate up front• Do Your Homework
  30. 30. Evaluation and G*O*A*M*S• Sets the basis of an evaluation• Typically use it to set up evaluation table • Power of Repetition• Remember confidentiality protocols – If applicable
  31. 31. Project Staff• Appropriate people doing appropriate things• Percentage of time dedicated to the project• Cultural Competency
  32. 32. Narrative• Must be consistent with the rest of the application• Be persuasive• Prepare Multiple Drafts & Have Someone Review .
  33. 33. Budgets• Very Important – Often Overlooked• Financial Road Map• Involve Budget Folks Early
  34. 34. Sustainability• What happens after the $$ is spent – It is OK to talk about fundraising strategy – Nobody likes to pay for everything• Program Design
  35. 35. Support• Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)• Letter of Commitment• Letter of Support
  36. 36. MOU• A Contract• Each Party Specifies What They Will Do• Usually Involves Legal Review• Takes the Longest
  37. 37. Letter of Commitment v. SupportLetter of Commitment Letter of Support• Written by Project • Provided by Partner Politician or Other Senior Official• Partner Agrees to • Encouragement Specific Tasks• Stronger • Usually Weaker
  38. 38. Budgeting PitfallsOverselling Gold Plating• Overly Competitive • Grant = Lottery Ticket• Grant as Loss Leader • Red Flags – Excessive Travel – Entertainment• Victory? – Lifestyle Audit• Consequences • Consequences
  39. 39. Matching• Cash Match • Usually Spend with Grant Funds • A Variety of Sources • Can Match Grants with Grants • Limitations • Sustainability• In-Kind • Fair Market Value • Time CAN Equal Money • Rule: No Such Thing as 110%
  40. 40. Winning and Losing• Winning • Thank You • Kick-Off Event/Recognition • Alert the Media • Manage Well• Losing • How do I Improve • Ask Why • Schedule Phone Call/Meeting if Possible
  41. 41. Find the listings for our current season of webinars and register at Chris Dumas 707-812-1234 Special Thanks To Our Sponsors