Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 This is the introduction to the program. The goal you are trying to achieve is to relax the participants and make them feel they are part of the process. It is good to use some type of ice breaker where everyone talks about themselves. Since time is limited, you can have people give their name, job, agency and why they are here. Then using easel pads – list what everyone says even if a duplication. Post the sheets on the wall where everyone can see them and go through the items. Note what you are going to do and what you aren’t going to cover. This will keep participant expectations. If you aren’t going to cover something and know where they can go to get the information tell them. GO TO NEXT SLIDE AND SPECIFICALLY LIST THE GOALS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 Program Planning – We will be discussing how to plan for a grant. You should start to plan for an activity long before you consider applying for a grant. Create a notebook and put all the information you collect and write in the notebook. Then when you go to actually write the grant you can get information out as appropriate for the grant. Problem Statement & Objectives – These two items are probably the most critical in the application and usually the poorest written. We will be spending quite a lot of time on these two items so you can understand how to put them together. From a reviewers perspective, it you can’t get these right, then you don’t deserve the grant. You probably don’t know what you want to accomplish. Organizational Credibility – How your organization is perceived is critical your ability to actually obtain funding. We will be discussing what your organization can do to improve the perception of grantors. Prepare Proposals – As we talk today, I will be giving you suggestions on what needs to be in a grant application and how reviewers respond to grants. This will be practical advise on how to put the proposal together. Funding Sources – Here’s probably what you all came to hear [this is usually the case but change based on what expectations were] but we will be leaving this to the last thing. This is one way to keep you hear! Seriously, this is last because all of the other parts of the process need to be completed before you start looking for funding.
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 Talk briefly about schedule for the day, If possible have posted on wall ahead of time. This Morning we are going to be covering the following: Welcome – we have already done this but lets cover a few of the comfort basics: We will be taking frequent breaks – however, if you need to leave for something please feel free to get up The bathrooms are _______________ We will be breaking at _______ for lunch, we will resume promptly at _______ please be here because we are starting on time Feel free to interrupt me if you have questions. I want to be able to provide answers to as many of your questions as possible I ask that you turn all cell phones off or set them on vibrate, thank you Take a few minutes and go through the folder. Explain what is in each section and when we are going to use it. The rest of the morning we will be talking about Proposal Basics which is what goes into a grant and starting a discussion of the Planning Process Depending on how far we get we will complete the Planning Process this afternoon and then talk about how to do Budgets. We will end the day discussing how to go about finding Funding for your program. Also, if you were wondering, on the table in front of you are pipe cleaners. There is no special purpose, they are just there for you to play with if you get bored or need something to do. NOW LETS TURN TO THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROPOSALS
Grant Authorities are looking for specific items. To address these: Read the instructions in the RFP – they are very specific and provide information on the what the grantee is looking for. If you have questions call the federal agency. This gives you a contact within the agency and will allow you to clarify any confusion you have Key factors they look for in a grant are: Partnerships – more than one organization will be working on the project. Most problems are not the result of a single cause. It will take several groups to make changes to solve the problem Sustainability – Have you made provisions for the continuation of the project once the funding is gone. They want to make system changes which means the project needs to go on after it is proven Cost Savings – Will there be a long range cost savings as a result of the program. For example: for a community corrections program there might be cost savings from lower cost treatment than jails, income from taxes on income, and less welfare with child support being paid. Special Requirements – Did the applicant provide information on the special requirements from the request for proposals.
Foundation funding is a large untapped source – there are over 66,000 foundations nationwide Foundations are looking for specific types of things: Did you do your homework? Want to know that you took the time to research the foundation to see what the fund Look at the RFP and call someone to talk about the funding Some foundations have funding cycles some will take unsolicited requests. Information on this might be in the foundation directory but is available if you call them If they offer a grant writing workshop, did you attend? Always a good idea to go if you are interested in funding from them and the workshop is accessible. Will allow you to meet people at the foundation and make contacts. Did you follow instructions – Number one complaint – writers put in what they think you want to know not what they ask for Use a logic model – the problem and approach need to match. What you say is the problem must be what you are solving through your approach
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 There are basically two types of funding available for grants: governmental and private funding. Government Proposals are different from private: The regulations are usually very detailed and come put through a request for proposal. Governmental funding programs are set by law and must follow specific regulations. The RFP is a way for the government to let applicants know what the legal requirements are Government grants are almost always solicited rather than unsolicited – the guidelines are published on the internet either through Federal Register, federal agency websites, or State agency websites. We will talk more about how to find them later. The applications processes are usually competitive - Why?? Where does the money come from? The public through taxes - What does the public want assurances for? To make sure money is being spent wisely and we are getting the best project for the money Very specific instructions are given in RFP. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS – If you don’t they are likely to not even review the proposal. Examples – if they say 20 pages submit 20 not 22 or 25. In some instances they stop reading at page 20 and everything after that is not included in the scoring Government agencies include evaluation criteria and their value is usually included in the RFP. This is a way to be fair to the applicant Government does not read cover letters . Usually thrown out or just attached to the back.
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 Private funding is much different: The proposals are much shorter and provide considerably less detail . They can be as short as a 1 or 2 page letter or they can be seven or eight pages. Most foundations are small and have only 1 or 2 staff. They don’t have time to read long proposals. Depending on the funding source, unsolicited applications are accepted. Only the larger foundations like Robert Wood Johnson, Edna McConnell Clark, Annie E. Casey, and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati do mass solicitations. These are related to a specific problem they want to see innovate responses. An example would be Robert Wood Johnson Foundation solicitation to reduce high risk drinking among college students. Universities across the country proposed project that would use an environmental model. These programs provided a model for federal Department of Education funding of college high risk drinking projects. Most are not reviewed completely . The reviewer may have another job and only reviewing part time. They only read first two paragraphs to decide if they are interested. Not as much information is provided to the applicant about what should be in the application. Instructions , if provided, are general with no explanations Credibility is a key – sine they don’t have staff who can investigate an organization to determine if they will do what they propose. The reviewer wants to fund someone they know can do the job. Cover letter is critical. If all they have time to read is the cover letter, that is what determines if they want to go farther and read the rest of the proposal.
This is a summary of the types of information provided in both types of applications: The government proposal is much more detailed. Usually they end up being about 20 pages. They provide specific forms for some of the information. E.g. – SF 424 for basic identifying information and budget forms Private funding applications are much shorter and simpler. The information in both applications is the same, the difference is the level of detail. This is why you need to develop a master application that you can excerpt for either type.
These are the basic components of any proposal. We will be discussing all of them in detail: Cover Letter – should be no more than two or three paragraphs. We will discuss a suggested format Summary – this is also an abstract for the project. In as few words as possible you need to explain the problem, objective, approach, evaluation, and cost of the project. Introduction – this is the statement which clearly indicates the credibility of the agency Problem Statement – the most crucial part of the application. This is the first thing a reviewer reads and sets the tone for the rest of the review. Objectives – these are statements which indicate how you are going to change the problem to improve the system. They are used by reviewers to determine if the program is realistic and logical. Approach – this is the meat of the proposal where what you are planning to do is explained. However, it must be linked to what you say in the problem statement. Evaluation Plan – a description of how you are going to prove you are successful Future/Other Funding – how you are going to continue the program once grant funding is gone Budget – if approved shows how you will spend the money SINCE THE MOST WEIGHT IN ANY PROPSAL GOES TO THE PROBLEM STATEMENT AND OBJECTIVES WE WILL DISCUSS THOSE FIRST
Before we begin to discuss specific parts of a proposal there are some general items we should go over. These items apply to all sections of the grant: Simple & to the point – One thing to remember is to keep word choice simple and to the point. Words like contradiction , disinclination , and prevaricate have their place in written work, but not in a grant proposal. The words in a proposal should be easy to understand, and should not sound stuffy. Stick with the shorter words whenever possible, and the reader will be grateful. Don’t use jargon or other terms specifically related to your field. When drafting a grant proposal, it is very important to write on a layperson’s level. If technical terms are necessary, remember to explain them fully. That way the reviewer will know exactly what you are saying. Acronyms have become the bane of many grant reviewers. What is common parlance for the applicant could be Greek to the reviewer. Don’t use acronyms unless absolutely necessary. If you do use them spell out the acronym and put the letters in parenthesis. Also don’t just define acronyms on the first page and then use it again and again. Every time you use an acronym spell it out. Reviewers don’t want to flip back to the beginning to define a term. Use the “Grandmother Test” – find someone (spouse, wife, children, grandmother, etc.) to review the application and see if they understand it. If they don’t make changes to it until they do. Then you can be sure the reviewer will understand it. No generalizations or assumptions – Don’t assume the reviewer know the facts in the situation. Reviewers are not always from your field. They may have expertise in research or evaluation and that is why they are on your review team. Always explain your conclusions. Ask yourself “Who Says?”, “Who Cares?”, “So what?”, and “Why?”. Those are the questions the reviewer will be asking. Well Thought Out – Reviewers are looking for projects that the authors have spent time putting together and are logical. The proposal should follow through from the beginning to end and make sense. The issues you raise in the problem statement should be the issues you address in your objectives and approach. Don’t put a problem in that you are not going to address. This indicates you are solving the problems you identify.
Minimize Adjectives – Don’t use flowery language. Keep the writing short and sweet. A problem is a problem not a “huge” problem or an “overwhelming” problem. Neither of these adjectives can be quantified. E.g. is it huge if it is 50% or 70%. The adjectives don’t add anything to the information you are providing. Reviewers want the information provided in as clear and short as possible. Don’t self-indict – All through the proposal you are trying to get the grantor to see you are the best organization to complete the project. If you are the best organization you can’t do anything wrong. If there is an issue, word it in a positive light. E.g. Your response time is not increasing because you don’t have enough officers because the local council doesn’t like the chief. You have an increased response time as a result of reduced resources. You are revaluating the assignment of officers to the high crime areas to reduce response tome … Consider Grant Reviewers – Since grant reviewers are taking time out of their schedules to review applications, applicants should avoid providing excess information. Many reviewers have to review and make comments on quite a few applications in a short amount of time. Usually they are doing the reviews in addition to their regular jobs. They don’t want to spend hours reviewing and evaluating one application. Keep the proposal short and sweet. Say as much as you can in as little space as possible. Don’t attach extraneous material. Only attach that information is critical to the application or is requested by the grantor. Sometimes reviewers don’t read attachments. Be Positive – All problems have a solution. If they don’t why are you applying for money. The proposal should be written from a positive viewpoint. If you have a problem you can’t solve don’t include it. If you have a solution you think may not work don’t include it. Client Driven – With reduced resources, grantors want to see programs that is going to address a problem for a specific group of people. That means – the proposal should be directed toward helping others not your organization. The project should not be just to hire more people or purchase equipment. The people who benefit from the program should be outside your organization.
The Problem Statement is probably the most critical part of the application. If you look at scoring systems for grants, the problem statement usually gets a very large percentage. The rationale is: if you can’t describe what the problem is then you most likely will not have any impact. The problem statement sets the stage for the entire proposal. The purpose of the proposal should be to meet a need or solve a problem. This being the case, clearly and concisely identify for the funding organization exactly what need is going to be met or what problem is going to be solved. When writing the basic proposal, assume the person reading it will have no background or experience with the problem to be solved or need to be addressed. There are no problems which are self evident to all sources. The problem statement is making the case for why it is necessary to fund the proposal. The problem or need statement should include the nature and extent of the problem or need. A clear and concise picture of the existing situation should be painted for the funding organization. The statement should also include the reasons and causes of the problem or explain the need. This section of the proposal will enable the reader to learn more about the situation and will help establish the fact that your organization understands the problem or need and can address the issues. USE THE PLANNING MATRIX TO DEFINE NATURE/EXTENT AND REASOSNS/CAUSES – have the group discuss what the differences between the two are. The major difference is that nature and extent are what you see as the problem with numbers and data. The reasons and causes are the why of the problem. Why are the conditions occurring as outlined in nature and extent. An example of this could be: crime rates for burglary have been increasing in a neighborhood over the past three years. After investigation it was determined that none of the homeowners lock their doors. The number of crimes is the nature/extent and the locking the doors is the reasons and causes. Remember that not having a project or the extras that go along with one is not a problem in and of itself. The problem is not the lack of a computer, but that there is an identifiable problem, like youth gangs in the neighborhood. The computer, then, is simply a tool, a method that will help solve the gang problem.
The problem you specify in your proposal should be a manageable problem. The narrative should be very specific when you describe the problem. Do not use generalizations. Relate it to your community. You can’t solve all crime with any grant. You may however, be able to address one crime like burglary, domestic violence or substance abuse. Let the grantor know what you want to address. The boundaries of the problem should be clearly identified. You can talk about the big picture but always narrow the focus down to what you specifically are going to address. For example: Reentry is a major problem for offenders coming back to the community. Currently they have a high rate of return to prison. Well, in Ohio over 20,000 inmates come back annually to Ohio communities. You can’t get a grant to cover all 20,000 the resources aren’t there. So you set the boundaries on your target population to 200 offenders who are convicted of a violent felony and have served 1 year or more in prison. Always include the rationale for why you set the boundaries you did. The problem should be understandable . This is the place where the “Grandmother Test” comes in. As we write and talk, if we know our field we have the tendency to skip over facts, information and explanations. The problem statement makes perfect sense to us but may not to the reviewer. The problem statement must also be solvable . There are lots of things we could do, less that we want to do, and still less that we are able to do. You can not solve the ills of the world in one grant application. For example: there is research that one of the major causes of crime is economic in nature. If offenders had good jobs they wouldn’t need to turn to crime. Well you are not going to be able to solve poverty or unemployment in one application. However, you may be able to target specific industries in your are, provide training, and get some offenders employed at a livable wage.
Process Objectives Measure of what the project will do Measure of activities Means to the ends Statements of primary methods written in a time-limited way Develop process objectives only if requested by funder
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 Letters of participation are used to determine support for the project and the authors involvement in the project. They are critical to the success of any review of the grant. What are reviewers looking for
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 The Grantsmanship Center offers a searchable database of funding sources as well as abstracts of successful proposals. Their full network links to funding sources in all 50 states. Access to the daily federal register is free to government and private non-profits. Access to wining grant proposal summaries is available for free. CDs with the full grant proposals cost from $29 to $99 depending on what you need. Access to a listing of the top 50 foundations in each state is free. If there is a website for the foundation a link is provided. A “comprehensive” searchable database of government, corporate and foundation funding is available at a cost of $495 per year. Foundation Center offers a comprehensive directory linking you to private foundations, corporate giving programs, and other sources of non-profit funding. There are four levels of membership for blanket searches of the foundation directories on line. Cost for basic service is $19.95 per month for basic service (access to 10,000 largest foundations) to $149.94 per month or $995 per year for access to almost 80,000 per month. If you know your foundation’s name you can use their finder program to learn about the foundation and get copies of the IRS 990 form. You will also get a contact and website if available. GuideStar.org provides information on the financial capabilities of different foundations and funding organizations. The basic service is free. Basic service allows you to find a foundation if you have name or location, get contact information, and copies of the last four IRS 990 forms. IRS 990 forms tell you what their income is and who was awarded grants in what amount. 990s help you determine what the size of your grant request should be. The Select membership gives you slightly more information about the operation of the foundation and returns more organizations per search. The cost is $30 per month or $300 annually. The Premium membership allows you full access to the database. The cost is $100 per month 0r $1,000 annually GrantsNet is the funding website for the US Department of Health and Human Services. The website provides funding information for all grants administered through their organization including substance abuse programs. The Federal Register provides information on all federal government grants. All program guidelines are published in the register first for comment then in their final form. Access to the information is free on the website. Grants.gov is the federal grants portal. A searchable database of all federal grants is located at the site. Current solicitations and applications are available. Access to the information is free on the website.
Successful Grant Writing 6/30/2005 The Chronicle of Philanthropy provides information on funding and other information on the non-profit world. This is a good grant source that provides information on grants including available funding, recent grants made, annual reports from foundations, and how to raise funds. The subscription is $72 per year for the chronicle but this also allows you to search on line databases. TGCI Magazine is published by The Grantsmanship Center. It provides information on funding, grant writing, and other grant issues. Subscription to the magazine is free if you are a government agency or non-profit. You can sign up on the web. Dollars and Sense is a publication of the Ohio United Way. Subscriptions cost is $25 per year and the publication comes out monthly. The publications provide information on foundation and government funding available. You can subscribe on line at http://www.ouw.org/ouwpublic/Publications.htm
The Grantsmanship Center provides week long trainings for people in grant writing. The course is held all over the country and frequently sponsored by United Ways. The cost is $600 for the five days. With the course you get one year free membership in the TGCI website. The Grant Institute is a private non profit organization that provides grant writing training. The basic course is a three day course and costs about $600. Foundation Seminars are offered by many different foundations. The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati offers a variety of one day classes about different parts of the grant writing process like Demystifying Evaluation. The cost is about $20 per person. If you are thinking about applying for foundation funding and the foundation offers seminars, attend the seminars. It will allow you hear what they are looking for and you can make contacts for follow up questions. Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services offers a one day seminar on grant writing. The seminar covers the basics of the training and participants practice those basics.
Please take a couple of minutes before you go and complete the evaluation for the training. This will provide feed back to help improve the course.
Allowable Cost – a cost for which the grantee may be reimbursed under a grant or contract
Award Letter – written notification from the funding agency indicating a project has been funded for how long, and in what amount
Block Grants – the grouping of many categorical grant programs into an overall functional area (i.e. first responders, non-profits, disaster agencies)
Budget – A plan for financial operation consisting of an estimate of proposed revenue and expenditures for a given period of time and purpose
Budget Cycle – The fiscal year (i.e. July 1 – June 30) that is designated by the funding sources as to when they will make grant awards
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) – Regular publication put out by federal government that lists federal grant and loan programs that are available and accepting applications ( www.cfda.gov )
Demonstration Grant – grant given to test the feasibility of an idea, approach, or program
Direct Cost – expenses which can be itemized by categories (i.e. salaries, wages, travel, other)
Fringe Benefits – benefits such as life, health insurance, retirement, unemployment compensation that are paid in addition to salary
Full Time Equivalent (FTE) – amount of time spent or required in a less than full time activity divided by the amount of time normally spent (based upon 2080 hours for full time service)
Goal – general statement of what the project hopes to accomplish, reflecting the long-term desired impact of the project on the target population and any target goals identified in the priority areas of the funding source
Grantee – one who receives the funding and administers the grant
Grantor – agency or entity which gives the funds to carry out the project
Influencing Factors – factors affecting the achievement of outcomes, sometimes referred to as “barriers”
Consider grant reviewers and the knowledge base of those who may review the application
Client-driven (outcomes should be client-focused)
Demonstrate your credibility – be sure to include any similar service your agency is already doing, or discuss any similar projects you have administered in the past that will establish your capacity to succeed
Identify the Problem Statement which consists of analysis of the nature and extent of the problem or need, and the reasons or causes .
Develop Program Objectives and Outcomes that are related to the identified problem
Discuss the Approach to be used and how will it help overcome the problem identified in order to positively impact the target population. Discuss how that approach used will help meet the stated goals and objectives for the program.
Conduct an Evaluation of the program to determine its effectiveness. Through information obtained through the evaluation changes and alterations can be made to the approach
you should be able to paint a picture of the situation and explain why there is a need
Needs Assessment vs. Problem Statement
Local foundations and corporations generally require information relating to a needs assessment which focuses on condition in the lives of the clients you wish to change
Government and national foundations generally require information relating to problem statement that focuses on a situation that can be related to similar situations in other communities and show the broader implications of the proposed program (National Scope)
Show what the condition of the problem will be in the future
Statement which defines a measurable result the project expects to accomplish
GOAL – general statement of what the program hopes to accomplish. Should reflect the long term desired impact of the program on the target population and any target goals required by the funding source