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Elements of a proposal


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  • 1. Grants 101 Elements of a Proposal Presented by Dierdre McKee
  • 2. Proposal Rhetoric
    • There’s a problem—let me tell you about it; give you its context; and explain why it’s important to solve it
    • Here’s our solution—let me give all the details about this solution and how it will work and what its outcomes will be
    • Our organization is uniquely capable of actually achieving these outcomes because……
  • 3. Elements of a Proposal
    • All proposals share common elements
    • Effective proposals:
      • Are organized so that the ideas flow from each other and are easy to understand
      • Follow convention about grammar, spelling and punctuation
      • Have a style that suits the subject and the funder
      • Follow the funder’s guidelines for format
  • 4. Common Elements of Proposals
    • Executive summary/Introduction
    • Organization information
    • Statement of need/challenge
    • Description of project/organization to include:
      • Details on workings of project
      • Goals and objectives
      • Activities to reach objectives
  • 5. Common Elements Cont.’d
    • Staff information: job descriptions, bio’s, resumes/CVs
    • Evaluation information
    • Explanation of how project will be sustained in the future/post grant
    • Budget
    • Attachments
  • 6. Executive Summary
    • Used to screen proposals
    • Mini version of proposal with info on organization, problem, solution, and amount requested
    • Relates the grant request to funder’s interests
    • Best to write last
  • 7. Organization Information
    • Mission statement
    • History
    • Accomplishments/activities
    • Sometimes divided into 2 separate sections
  • 8. Statement of Need/Problem
    • Is a description of the problem you’re trying to solve in your project/org.
    • Documents why the funder should give you a grant
    • Need is not YOUR need (i.e. more staff, new building), but larger, social need (more people needing services, etc.)
    • Presents facts/evidence/statistics
  • 9. Statement of Need/Problem
    • Description of problem should have three parts:
      • Context of the problem—define problem so others can understand it, identify with it, and recognize how important it is
      • Justification—explain why the problem is important to solve and define scope (size, impact etc.) of problem
      • What aspect you want to solve—if problem is a large social issue, your project most likely only addresses a portion of it.
  • 10. Description of Project/Purpose of Grant
    • Details!
    • Goals vs. Objectives
      • Goal: conceptual/abstract
      • Objective: measurable outcome
      • Example
        • Goal: After school program will help children improve their reading skills
        • Objective: After school reading program will assist 50 children improve their reading scores by one grade level as demonstrated on standardized reading tests after participating in the program for 6 months.
  • 11. Project Description Cont’d
    • Activities to reach goal/objective—DETAILS!
      • What exactly will you do?
      • Who will do it?
      • Where will you do it?
      • How often/how much time?
      • What resources will you use?
      • Why those resources?
      • What will you provide?
      • HOW do those activities relate to the objectives and goals?
  • 12. Staff Information
    • Goal is to show expertise/ability to carry out project and reach goals
    • Biographies
    • Attached resumes or CVs
  • 13. Evaluation
    • With goals and objectives in mind, how will you DEFINE success?
    • Then how will you MEASURE success?
    • Sometimes scientific, sometimes less formal
    • Reporting
    • How will you USE that data?
  • 14. Sustainability
    • No funder wants to support you forever
    • How will project continue after grant period?
      • Will it become self-supporting?
      • Will it require additional grant support?
      • Will it become part of regular org. budget and covered by other grants/revenue?
  • 15. The Budget
    • Tells your story in numbers
    • Demonstrates how much the project will cost
    • Shows funders exactly what they will support/where their money will go
    • Serves as a plan for how your organization will operate the project
  • 16. The Budget
    • 2 kinds—overall project and request budget
    • May require a separate form from funder
    • Sometimes requires a budget narrative (justification)
  • 17. Attachments
    • Financials:
      • Budgets
      • List of largest funders/grants
      • Audit for last year/2
    • Others:
      • 501c3 letter
      • W-9
      • 990
      • Board List
      • Annual report
      • Letters of support
      • Anything else the funder wants!
  • 18. Thank you! To learn more about the grant seeking process, view the next slidecast, “Logic Models”