Digital Forsyth: A Partnership/Budgeting in a Collaborative Grant


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a presentation made at the conference "From Theory to Practice: Accessing and Preserving Electronic Records and Digital Materials." The conference was in Raleigh, NC and was sponsored by the North Carolina State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources State Archives.

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  • LSTA GuidelinesLibraries can apply directly and in collaborations, must be the lead institutionMinimum and maximum funding changes from year to yearDifferent digitization grants have different min/max (starter grants, NC Echo regular, NC Echo Heritage, at the time we applied)Matching fund source must be identified and must meet criteria established in the grant.How the funds can be used is spelled out AND may change from year to yearBasis (for funding):Project budgets are expected to:• Be reasonable and appropriate to the plan outlined in the application and clearly linked to thatplan;• Explain the basis for all projected expenditures and the basis for the estimates with nounexplained, miscellaneous, or contingency amounts;• Show detail of wages and benefits separately;• Include information (e.g. experience and qualifications) about any proposed consultants andother contractual services;• Relate any travel expenses to the project plan;• Exclude all disallowed expenditures;• Meet local match requirements.
  • It was helpful to have to do this exercise. The benefit is that it made us think about the project holistically. The only figures we were held to was the current year (2006-2007). Subsequent years were calculated during the annual grant application period.What did we have to know BEFORE we could build the budget?Production goals. How many images would each partner be responsible for scanning and describing? This would drive equipment needs and staffing needs.Equipment needs for each partner (some had more needs than others). (requires research on specifications)SuppliesMost difficult? Predicting labor costs: Used cost analysis from planning grant to project cost per image (at that time was $20 per image)During first year, were able to calculate exactly how much time it really took to scan and describe an object.Most important thing to keep in mind: The grant didn’t allow for increasing funding after the fact, but did allow for a way to adjust expenditures, so it was best to build a budget that asked for the maximum amount. (much better to over-budget than under-budget)Max: $75K + 10% match
  • Because we had projected out for three years, we knew year two would be mostly production (which meant an increase in temporary wages/benefits), additional equipment and a public roll-out of the project websiteFrom 7.50 to 8.50 per hour for scanning techs.Max: 75K + 10% match
  • Year three, we added a new partner and had to budget to equipment them, and train them, plus build in sufficient time for them to produce all their images/descriptions in that one year period. But we had a much better idea with two .years under our belts as to what the real figure would beYear Three was the phase of the project where we wanted to provide context for the images so we hired people to write essays about Forsyth County themesHired consultants to conduct teacher workshops, and paid teachers for lesson plans.Max: $90K + 10%
  • For our grant, partners agreed to split costs by what we actually used: equipment, production costs (labor to do each institution's images). ZSR took total cost of server.For purposes of the funding agency, they didn’t really need a breakdown of how the budget was going to be splitBut for the participating libraries, knowing how much their 10% was going to be was very important, since they had to certify the source of matching funds at the time of application.We weren’t held to the specific amount/assigned breakdown, but it was valuable to help partners visualize the budget obligations. And to illustrate to the funders how we were planning the project.Budget timing and technology: A natural cushion occurred annually because of the tendency for technology costs to go down. There was at minimum 6 months between the time the budget was submitted for approval (in February) and when purchases actually took place.
  • WFU worked with Research and Sponsored Programs to set up accounts to use which were then handled by FAS: Financial and Accounting Services Why?Streamlined paying billsSimplified tracking budget Each partner had a unique accounting setup (private, public university, public library, non-profit museum). Made it easier for purchasing (didn’t have to put out bids like was required in public sector)Made it easier for the project manager to assess where things stood and if we were in jeopardy of going over budget (ie tracking salaries)How were partners kept accountable?Each year they signed subcontracts that specified their estimated local match totals.What was good about handling this centrally?Partners could mostly concentrate on production, not administrationBeing the project manager and being at WFU gave me one central point for dealing with expenditures. The only times I had to reach out were when temps didn’t fill out their time and at the end of year invoicing.Budget expenditure timetable. Each year, no money could be expended until:Grant agreements were signed by WFU and by the State LibrarySigned paperwork was turned in to WFU and accounts set up.This included placing orders.That usually meant that it was mid July before equipment could be ordered.
  • Budget Revisions were allowable. Only restrictions:If you change something, it has to be approved.You needed to justify themYou needed to quantify themYou had to stay within the maximum grant amount awardedMy approach to asking for revisions:Save this for major needsDon’t go asking for small tweaks several times. I tried never to ask more than once a year. I would call the funding office, sound them out and then submit what I needed one time.What kinds of things?We didn’t realize that WFU charged a 10% fringe allocation for temporary employees. Increase hours for scanning technicians for one siteHad trouble retaining scanning technicians during the first year, budget for year two submitted in Feb. so had to reviseBuy unanticipated storage, domain name, software, etc.Bring in experts for leading the teacher curriculum workshop.
  • At the end of each grant period, the annual expenditures would be tallied and each partner would be invoiced for their portion of the project. They were responsible for the actual equipment etc. that went to their locationsThe temporary wages and fringe allocations for their staffWFU handled server costs, teacher workshop expenses: things that were not tangible distinctly to the partners’ goals of building capacityProjection of the reconciliation was sent to partners 60-90 days before the end of the grant period so that they could prepare for the amount to be paid.
  • Sustainability and Revenue Models for OAR’s (from Ithaka)ITHAKA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and networking technologies.
  • Digital Forsyth: A Partnership/Budgeting in a Collaborative Grant

    1. 1. Digital Forsyth: A Partnership Budgeting in a Collaborative Grant Forsyth County Public Library C. G. O’Kelly Library, Winston Salem State University Old Salem Museum and Gardens Z. Smith Reynolds Library/Coy C. Carpenter Library, Wake Forest University Susan Sharpless Smith State Archives/SHRAB Conference November 4, 2011
    2. 2. In the Beginning…• A 2004 brainstorming meeting among 3 Forsyth County Libraries – A desire to identify collaborative projects to • Improve services to the community • Increase opportunities for ongoing interlibrary interaction – Outcome: Everyone has historic photo collections and they are high demand items by our users
    3. 3. Next Step?• Scarce digitization experience• No collaborative history• No money or equipment or staff LSTA Planning Grant!
    4. 4. Project MissionThrough digitization, Digital Forsyth, a collaboration ofcultural heritage institutions in Forsyth County, NorthCarolina, facilitates access to cultural, historical and scientificheritage photograph collections, thereby increasing interestin and knowledge of the past and informing futuregenerations. Project VisionUsers will turn to Digital Forsyth as the definitive onlinerepository of cultural heritage resources held byForsyth County institutions.
    5. 5. Digital Forsyth Application• Planning grant recommendations became our framework for NC ECHO application – Multi-year grant: what that really means • Include a projection of planned expenditures for the three-year period • Important to understand allowable vs. ineligible • Actually need to apply separately for each year
    6. 6. Preparing the Application• Read the application guidelines! Carefully. More than once. – Who can apply? Who needs to be the lead? – What is the maximum grant request allowed? Is it different for collaborative projects? – Are matching funds required? How much? Where are they coming from? What is allowed? – How can the funds be used? – What is the basis for selecting projects to be funded?
    7. 7. Digital Project Budget Preparation• Forecast the entire 3-year project• Built around training needs and production goals (for Year One) • Equipment Needs (Server, Workstations, Scanners, Printers, Software) • Training staff • Staffing Needs (Scanning Technicians, Metadata Technicians) • Supplies
    8. 8. Year Two Budget• Additional Hardware/Software, Furniture for 2 Partners as Production increased• Hourly wage increase for scanning technicians• Site went public – Domain name – Printers for image requests (designed for cost recovery) – Marketing
    9. 9. Year Three Budget• Added new partner: Old Salem – Most non-wage $$ went to outfitting their production environment, training, etc.• New Temporary Staff: Metadata QC Coordinator• Marketing• Story Writers• Curriculum Development (Teacher Workshop)
    10. 10. Budgeting for Collaboration • Granular breakdown by – Institution – Item/Quantity/Cost – What is covered by LSTA/by Library
    11. 11. Budget Administration• Centralized Budget Administration – WFU handled all purchases and expenditures • FAS set up account & deposited the amount of grant award • Expenditures were paid from it • Reimbursement requests sent quarterly to State Library and checks deposited to offset – All temporary staff were WFU employees • Submitted time through WFU System • Checks issued from WFU • Worked and were supervised at partner institutions
    12. 12. Budget Revisions
    13. 13. EOY Reconciliation
    14. 14. The Future?• The problem of sustainability – Grant support ends with the grant. – WFU pledged to keep the project live in “perpetuity.” – Already, server and storage discs are decommissioned. The project lives in the Amazon cloud as part of WFU’s digital collections. – What’s the “real” cost once the grant is done? We don’t really know at this point.• Source to consult: Sustainability and Revenue Models for OAR’s
    15. 15. Take A Tour Digital Forsyth:
    16. 16. Contact Information Susan Sharpless Smith Associate Dean Z. Smith Reynolds Library Wake Forest University