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Common Grant Application Overview

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The San Antonio Funders Group presents "Preparing Effective Responses to the Narrative Questions in the San Antonio Common Grant Application".

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Common Grant Application Overview

  1. 1. PREPARING EFFECTIVERESPONSES TO THE NARRATIVEQUESTIONS IN THE SAN ANTONIOCOMMON GRANT APPLICATIONSan Antonio Funders’ GroupWinter 2012-2013
  2. 2. COMMON GRANT APPLICATION Introduced in Fall 2012 Currently, 10 funders in the San Antonio/ Hill Country area are using (or plan to use) this application. We expect more. Funders will use the same wording for the narrative questions.
  3. 3. HOW WILL FUNDERS USE THE QUESTIONS? All funders will use same wording and word limits You may see different formatting requirements (font sizes, margins) Some may use an online application with form fields; some may use a paper form There may be some supplemental questions in addition to these (funders’ discretion) Some funders may opt not to ask all these questions (just some of them)
  4. 4. WORKSHOP STRUCTURE Part 1: The specific narrative questions (and strategies for effective responses): 90 minutes Part 2: Tips from the San Antonio Funders’ Group on effective grant-seeking: 90 minutes
  5. 5. PART 1: NARRATIVE QUESTIONS
  6. 6. GENERAL APPROACH TO NARRATIVE Q’SFor all questions: Shorter is better Answer just the question being asked
  7. 7. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENT Describe the problem or need your program/project will address.
  8. 8. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENT This is the motive for the program, and the basis on which you build the proposal. Start with broader issues and work toward more specific (local) ones.
  9. 9. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTSAMPLE ANSWER General Issue: Without affordable daycare, low-income families are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Because a parent (typically the mother) must stay home with the children, she cannot pursue an education, job training, or look for work that will cover child care expenses. Specific Issue: 40% of families in our community with preschool aged children live below the federal poverty level and cannot afford any of the commercial daycare programs here ($xx per day). Our program currently serves half of all the low-income children in town. There is not sufficient capacity among other providers to meet all low-income need.
  10. 10. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTAvoid Circular Thinking Do not describe your program in the needs statement. Example: The needs statement for a breast cancer screening program would be where you give statistics about breast cancer incidence and mortality rates in your community. It’s not where you describe your screening program.
  11. 11. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTWrite in terms of client needs Never write a grant proposal about your agency’s needs; write in terms of how the project will help the clients. In the daycare example, the WRONG way to write a needs statement would be: “Our daycare needs funds to help it expand.” In the grant world, agencies don’t have needs; their clients have needs.
  12. 12. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTSample Answer General Issue: Without affordable daycare, low-income families are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Because a parent (typically the mother) must stay home with the children, she cannot pursue an education, job training, or look for work that will cover child care expenses. Specific Issue: 40% of families in our community with preschool aged children live below the federal poverty level and cannot afford any of the commercial daycare programs here ($xx per day). Our program currently serves half of all the low-income children in town. There is not sufficient capacity among other providers to meet all low-income need.
  13. 13. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTDON’T USE STALE DATA  2010 Census data now available  Use reputable sources  Compare local data to state and national when appropriate
  14. 14. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTRESOURCE: AMERICAN FACT-FINDER Free Compare your service area to state and national averages www.census.gov
  15. 15. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTRESOURCE: GOOGLE SCHOLAR For doing literature reviews, a handy free place to start your research http://scholar.google.com
  16. 16. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENTRESOURCE: NOW-DATA http://nowdata.cinow.info/
  17. 17. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENT Any other favorite data sources you would like to share with the group?
  18. 18. Q1. PROBLEM OR NEED STATEMENT:IN-CLASS WRITING EXERCISE Write a needs statement for a program you have in mind. Start with the general issue, then move to the specific case in your service area. You can make up imaginary statistics for the purpose of the exercise (obviously not for a real proposal).
  19. 19. Q2. PEOPLE TO BE SERVED Describe the people to be served by this program/project (with information such as age, gender, ethnicity, geographic area(s), income and/or poverty level). Please be sure to mention any demographics or other conditions that are important to this funder (for example, if this funder specializes in a particular population, health condition, etc., be sure to address that).
  20. 20. Q2. PEOPLE TO BE SERVEDRELATED TO NEED STATEMENT, BUT DIFFERENT Need statement (Q1) describes the situation and why it matters Description of people to be served (Q2) gives a profile of who you expect to serve
  21. 21. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONa. Describe the program/project for which funding is being requested and its primary purpose. Briefly describe how the funds will be used (including program/project activities).b. If this is an ongoing program/project: What have been past indicators of success? What have been challenges to achieving success? Any recent enhancements? Answerc. If this is a new program/project (new to your agency): What is the basis for expecting that the program/project will succeed? B or C (Anecdotal information? Evidence-based practices? Literature review? Other?)d. Do you plan to collaborate with any other organizations on this program/project? If so, which ones and how? (If more than four agencies, state the number of agencies you collaborate with, and include an attachment listing their names.)e. How does this program/project fit with your organization’s mission? (If you believe it’s obvious, skip this question, but Answer this is your chance to make the case if you need to do so.) only iff. We assume most nonprofits will sustain/continue their they are programs/projects by seeking additional grants. Any plans to sustain this program/project other than grants? relevant
  22. 22. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONA. DESCRIBE THE PROGRAM/PROJECT FOR WHICH FUNDING IS BEINGREQUESTED AND ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE. BRIEFLY DESCRIBE HOW THEFUNDS WILL BE USED (INCLUDING PROGRAM/PROJECT ACTIVITIES).Now we know what the problem is, what are you goingto do about it? How will you spend the funder’s money? Give a brief summary of your budget narrative. Example: “We will spend the majority of the grant on salaries for additional staff and the rest will be used for supplies.” Describe your activities. Example: If you were operating a program to address DWI deaths, you might describe the education program you will put into effect in the public schools with the grant funds.
  23. 23. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONB. IF THIS IS AN ONGOING PROGRAM/PROJECT: WHAT HAVE BEEN PASTINDICATORS OF SUCCESS?WHAT HAVE BEEN CHALLENGES TO ACHIEVINGSUCCESS? ANY RECENT ENHANCEMENTS? Funders want to know: How’s it going? What’s new? Past indicators of success might be client outcomes (statistics), anecdotes, or client testimonials. Challenges might be things you’ve learned about how to improve the program (especially if you can state that you are making changes accordingly). Recent enhancements – if it’s a program that’s been around a while and you recently improved it, that’s important information.
  24. 24. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONC. IF THIS IS A NEW PROGRAM/PROJECT (NEW TO YOUR AGENCY): WHAT ISTHE BASIS FOR EXPECTING THAT THE PROGRAM/PROJECT WILL SUCCEED?(ANECDOTAL INFORMATION? EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES? LITERATUREREVIEW? OTHER?) Explain why you think this will work. Funders want to spend their money on programs that succeed in helping people. If it’s evidence-based, mention the key studies that support it. Your approach does not have to be evidence- based, especially if it’s a safety-net program.
  25. 25. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIOND. DO YOU PLAN TO COLLABORATE WITH ANY OTHER ORGANIZATIONS ONTHIS PROGRAM/PROJECT? IF SO, WHICH ONES AND HOW? (IF MORE THANFOUR AGENCIES, STATE THE NUMBER OF AGENCIES YOU COLLABORATEWITH, AND INCLUDE AN ATTACHMENT LISTING THEIR NAMES.) If you will have partners to make this program more effective, please explain their role. Will any grant funds be used to pay those partners? Or will they provide the services in-kind? This question does not imply that you are required to collaborate with other agencies. This is your opportunity to showcase that feature if you are collaborating.
  26. 26. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONE. HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM/PROJECT FIT WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION’SMISSION? (IF YOU BELIEVE IT’S OBVIOUS, SKIP THIS QUESTION, BUT THIS ISYOUR CHANCE TO MAKE THE CASE IF YOU NEED TO DO SO.) Funders want to make sure you’re not “chasing dollars” and stretching your agency out of its main focus just to get a grant. This is a chance for you to ask yourself whether this program or project will advance your mission. If it’s really obvious, no need to answer.
  27. 27. Q3. PROGRAM/PROJECT DESCRIPTIONF. WE ASSUME MOST NONPROFITS WILL SUSTAIN/CONTINUE THEIRPROGRAMS/PROJECTS BY SEEKING ADDITIONAL GRANTS. ANY PLANS TOSUSTAIN THIS PROGRAM/PROJECT OTHER THAN GRANTS? Funders understand that most nonprofits depend a lot on grants, so that’s not the issue. Will you raise money from individual donors for this project? Will the project generate any revenues? (Ticket sales, medical co-payments, etc.) Any innovative ideas to help make this program pay for itself or be more cost-effective?
  28. 28. BOTTOM-LINE MESSAGE FOR Q3 You are trying to convince funders that your program or project is a sound investment. All the responses to the various Q3 bullet points should contribute in some way to this message.
  29. 29. Q4. PROGRAM/PROJECT EVALUATIONa. What change will occur in clients’ lives as a result of this program/project, and how will you know that this has happened? (Identify the measurement tools you will use – qualitative or quantitative.) If your program/project does not produce lasting change in clients’ lives, discuss other ways you will know the program/project is making a difference.b. If the funder requires specific types or numbers of goals, objectives, metrics, etc., address those here. If you don’t have enough room, give a brief summary of what you will measure here, and attach a separate sheet with more detail.
  30. 30. Q4. PROGRAM/PROJECT EVALUATIONA. WHAT CHANGE WILL OCCUR IN CLIENTS’ LIVES AS A RESULT OF THISPROGRAM/PROJECT, AND HOW WILL YOU KNOW THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED? The key question is: How will people’s lives improve? Should be related to the problem or need statement. If your program/project does not produce lasting change in clients’ lives, discuss other ways the program/project is making a difference. Identify the measurement tools you will use – qualitative or quantitative.
  31. 31. Q4. PROGRAM/PROJECT EVALUATIONA. WHAT CHANGE WILL OCCUR IN CLIENTS’ LIVES AS A RESULT OF THIS PROGRAM/PROJECT, ANDHOW WILL YOU KNOW THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED?Program Goals and Objectives Evaluation plans that focus on changes in the client’s condition include outcome goals. Helpful to use “SMART” goals How will your program improve lives or save lives?Sample Outcome Goal:Decrease the DWI deaths in my county 10%, from100 to 90, between January 1, 2013 and December31, 2014, as measured by public records.
  32. 32. Q4. PROGRAM/PROJECT EVALUATIONB. IF THE FUNDER REQUIRES SPECIFIC TYPES OR NUMBERS OFGOALS, OBJECTIVES, METRICS, ETC., ADDRESS THOSE HERE. Funders will supply any specific requirements they have. Some will just want you to answer bullet point A. Health care funders may have different measurement requirements than funders interested in the arts or animal welfare. If you don’t have enough room, give a brief summary of what you will measure here, and attach a separate sheet with more detail.
  33. 33. Q5. FIT WITH FUNDER MISSION How is this program/project related to the priorities of the funder to whom you are submitting this request? (Here’s your chance to make your case, just in case it’s not obvious to the funder.)
  34. 34. Q5. FIT WITH FUNDER MISSION Use your own judgment on whether to answer this. Example: If the funder’s stated focus is helping children with disabilities, and your project is hosting the Special Olympics, no need to explain. Sometimes it’s more of a stretch but you can still make your case. If it’s too much of a stretch, this funder may not be a fit for you.
  35. 35. Q6. ORGANIZATION DESCRIPTION/BACKGROUND Please describe your organization. Some suggested items to include: number of staff; number of volunteers (other than board members); clients served annually by entire organization; date established or founded; a list of your core services; impact or major accomplishments; a brief statement of your organization’s vision for the next five years. Include the information you believe is most important to help the funder understand what makes your organization special.
  36. 36. Q6. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION Funders are not interested in a great deal of history or detail – just an overview. “Less is more.” You do not need to list every item in the suggested list of topics. If you consider your agency too complex to explain in detail in this space, give a brief summary. If you make heavy use of volunteers to operate your programs, be sure to highlight this. What makes your agency special?
  37. 37. Q7. RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIELDa. What other nonprofit organizations in your area provide similar services? How are your services or approach different from theirs?b. Does your organization coordinate services with other agencies, either formally (through a Memorandum of Understanding) or informally? (Not just on the proposed program/project.)
  38. 38. Q7. RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIELDA. WHAT OTHER NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN YOUR AREA PROVIDE SIMILARSERVICES? HOW ARE YOUR SERVICES OR APPROACH DIFFERENT FROM THEIRS? It is rare that you are the “only” agency doing similar work. Be sure to check to see who else is out there. Do you compete or collaborate? Both? “Different” is not necessarily a judgment – it could be that you meet different needs or serve different geographic areas.
  39. 39. Q7. RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIELDA. WHAT OTHER NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN YOUR AREA PROVIDE SIMILARSERVICES? HOW ARE YOUR SERVICES OR APPROACH DIFFERENT FROM THEIRS? IRS Searchable Publication 78 or “Select Check”  http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/ GuideStar  http://www.guidestar.org Google Maps “Search Nearby” Feature  http://maps.google.com Other resources?
  40. 40. IRS SELECT CHECK (PUBLICATION 78)
  41. 41. IRS SELECT CHECK (PUBLICATION 78)
  42. 42. GUIDESTAR
  43. 43. GOOGLE MAPS “SEARCH NEARBY”
  44. 44. Q7. RELATIONSHIP TO THE FIELDB. DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION COORDINATE SERVICES WITH OTHERAGENCIES, EITHER FORMALLY (THROUGH A MEMORANDUM OFUNDERSTANDING) OR INFORMALLY? (NOT JUST ON THE PROPOSEDPROGRAM/PROJECT.) In Question 3, we asked you about collaborative relationships for the proposed program. Now we want to know about your agency’s other collaborations, if any. Maybe you collaborate a lot, just not on the particular project for which you are requesting funds. Response not required if you don’t collaborate
  45. 45. QUESTIONS SO FAR?
  46. 46. GENERAL TIPS FOR GRANT-SEEKING1. Fit with funders’ interests (pitch the right project to the right funder) – start with their guidelines2. Follow directions3. Write clearly and simply4. Prepare your grant budget early in the process
  47. 47. TIP 1. FIT WITH FUNDERS’ INTERESTS  Obtain funders’ guidelines – always visit their Web sites  Call if written information not available  Seek a good fit with funders’ interests  Ask for the right amount for the funder (see their 990)
  48. 48. FUNDING STRATEGY Foundation Directory Online (fconline.fdncenter.org) – by subscription Texas Nonprofits Funder Database (txnp.org) – Inexpensive subscription; has a lot of small family foundations listed Guidestar (www.guidestar.org) - you can subscribe for free or upgrade for more features. Read the Form 990 for each foundation. Center for Nonprofit Support Resource Center (in new location). For more information, www.saafdn.org/centerfornonprofitsupport Funder Websites
  49. 49. SECRETS OF THE 990 You can see who they have made grants to, for what purpose, and how much. Image at right is the statement of grants made (not always #23)
  50. 50. SECRETS OF THE 990 The 990 lists board members and officers. The sample to the right is for the Meadows Foundation. When reviewing board lists: Do you know any of these people? Do your board members know them?
  51. 51. TIP 2. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
  52. 52. TIP 3. CLEAR WRITING Write clearly and simply Be careful with punctuation and grammar Spell out acronyms Careful with spell check Seek a “fresh pair of eyes” on your work
  53. 53. IMPORTANCE OF CLEAR WRITING
  54. 54. TIP 4. PREPARE YOUR GRANT BUDGET It helps to prepare the budget early on. Make sure that your budget matches your narrative. No surprises! If you know how you’re going to spend your money, you probably know exactly what you’re going to do.
  55. 55. MORE ABOUT THE GRANT BUDGET The budget should balance. First,determine all expenses. Then, figure out where the money will come from to pay for the program.
  56. 56. MORE ABOUT THE GRANT BUDGET Be thorough and realistic. Be specific and show your calculations. Don’t “round up.” Don’tunderestimate – a “cheap” budget is less appealing than a realistic one.
  57. 57. MORE BUDGET TIPSInclude in-kind donations  Foundations will see that they’re not the only ones being asked to help support the program.  Volunteer time counts. To learn the hourly value of volunteer time, visit the Independent Sector Web site at: http://www.independentsector.org/programs/research/volunteer_ti me.html
  58. 58. MORE BUDGET TIPS List in-kind resources in the income and expense sections. For example, if you anticipate $2,179 worth of volunteer labor, that’s income, but it’s also an expense because you would have to pay for that labor without volunteers.
  59. 59. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME!

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