Not a gift Not free money Not easy to find (most of the time) Not easy to get
Grants can make the difference between having an idea and making that idea a reality! Countless startup companies and organizations have used grants to create an enterprise, make an existing business better, and to improve the lives of the people they serve. It could be just what you need!!
Don’t limit yourself to one or two sources Look for a match between your project and the goals of the funder Make direct contact with the funder Request proposal guidelines Look at previously funded projects by that funding source Check out the funding floor and ceiling Pinpoint specific funding priorities
Community Foundations State Government Federal Government Corporations and LLC’s Non-profits Special Interest Groups
Acquire the proposal guidelines Know the submission deadline Determine personnel/partnership needs Acquire permission to include others in the proposal Gather an informal review panel Contact the funder if possible
Be direct and concise. More is not always better. Be thoughtful and critical about each sentence. Put your feelings out there. Be human!! Don’t get sidetracked. Keep bringing the reader back to your “core mission”. Be honest about the amount of money you need to accomplish your goal. Don’t be excessive or extravagant with your budget.
Cover Letter Problem Statement or Needs Statement Purpose of the grant Methodology and Strategies (Timeline) Evaluation & Critique Sustainability Organizational Info/ Credentials Budget Budget Narrative Letters of Support
This is your “front porch” Don’t build the porch before you build the house. Write this last!!Your Cover Letter Should Contain Your HOOK.Sometimes this is all a reviewer will read to make a decision. Make them want to turn the page!
Who you (your organization) are What you do (be brief) What your idea is How will it make things better and for whom? Align with the Funder’s purpose Limited to one page Should mention the amount you are asking for
This is where you need to move the reader Be honest and direct The problem should be easily identified to the reader in one or two sentences Give some background and historical perspective Has a solution been attempted before
Need to be addressed: Explain the extent to which the project meets the specific purpose of the source of funds. How the needs were determined: Describe how you determined the needs you propose to address.In other words: How do you know this is what’s needed???
The “meat and potatoes” How will the money be used to address the need Express that without the funding, the project will not be possible The positive impacts of the project (don’t forget to align with the funder’s purpose and goals)
If you get stuck try this: write one long, rambling sentence that starts with“The purpose of this grant is to __________Write down everything you can think of that this money will accomplish. Then work on forming this into paragraphs with supporting statements. Here is where you need to give details!!
Who’s going to do what? Step-by-step and can even be bulleted Be realistic about how much time things will take This is your “road map” to your goal Clearly know your goals and objectives Needs to make sense when compared to your budget A timeline can be included in an Appenix
Do the methods derive logically from the need statement and your goals and objectives? Have you accurately presented the activities you will be undertaking? Did you explain why you chose these methods or activities? Is there a timeline that makes sense? Have you made it clear who will perform specific activities? Given the resources you expect to have, are these activities feasible?
How will you assess your project’s success or failure? Board of Directors Consumer/ Participant Surveys Refer to your timeline Re-evaluate your budget Revisit your goals Run your project like a “business”—be honest with yourself!
Some funders may expect or request a Results Report Be honest and direct What went right and wrong Where will you go from here Be able to provide an accounting of funds Keep accurate records!!
Be prepared to discuss briefly what happens when the money runs out. Can your project sustain itself or will it need continued support How can you make it sustainable? This can be added as a paragraph in your methodology section
Who/ what is your organization? How long have you been established? What successes have you had so far? What is your core mission? Who are the key players? What are their qualifications? ◦ Include resumes or curriculum vitae where appropriate
Blueprint for spending project funds Will become your financial plan if the project is funded Should be COMPLETE and REASONABLE Remember reviewers are often familiar with many types of project costs such as computers, travel, postage, phones, etc. In most cases you don’t need to attach price quotes
Two Kinds of Budgets ◦ Cost Reimbursement- actual expenditures are reimbursed. Only approved expenditures will be funded. No expenditures permitted that were not included in the budget. ◦ Fixed Price-A fixed sum of money is given to support the project. If expenditures exceed the allocated funds, there is no obligation by the funder to add additional money
Direct Costs- directly allocated to the individual project such as personnel, supplies, travel, equipment, telephones, postage Indirect Costs- cannot be allocated to a specific project. These include any shared costs such as building depreciation, shared custodial services. Most usually you can figure 10% of your total for indirect costs.
Paragraph form explanation of your projected expenses. Don’t feel the need to explain every item, just give rationale for main expenditures or anything that may seem “cloudy”. Elaborate on travel, personnel, general supplies, advertising, etc. Keep it to one page if possible
Only include letters from people who will be directly involved in the project Give them a framework or template Make sure they know their role Make sure they include their contact information Give a deadline to get the letters to YOU Proofread the letters carefully and give yourself time for corrections
Project falls outside the funder’s mission Amount requested is out of proportion to the need No other funding sources listed No evidence of sustainability Did not follow the format Poorly written/ difficult to understand Credibility issue Not sure of the impact Out of the funder’s geographic area
Be prepared for multiple submissions Don’t get discouraged Have an outside person proof read and give you feedback “The first draft of anything is crap.” ◦ ~ Ernest Hemingway