Grant Proposal Writing


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  • This is a graph shows the average funding sources from the private sector for the United States. Only 12% of private funding is obtained from grants. Most donations from the private sector are given by individuals either while they are alive or as a bequest when they pass away. Most government contributions to organizations is through grants.
  • There are a lot of guides to rewriting grant proposals. Some are on the web and here are links to a example internet lists of different guides provided by: 1) Donors Forum of Wisconsin, UW-Madison Library, and a generic website. There are also books about grant proposal writing and this is an example list of publications that UW-Madison Library put together.
  • Charitable organizations and activities are looked at more favorably. Types of recognized nonprofits where contributions are tax deductible are listed here. Some foundations or grant providers only give to types of organizations that the IRS has recognized as doing charitable work. It saves the foundation the trouble of trying to guess from the application if they are a legitimate nonprofit group that benefits the whole community. The IRS has already done this work for them.
  • What are charitable organizations? The IRS describes these types of organizations as charitable organizations that do work to benefit society as a whole without discrimination.
  • The IRS defines these things as charitable activities. Foundations and the government usually follow the guidelines or definition the IRS has setup because it makes it easier for them and it is an objective way of describing an organization or activity as benefiting the public good.
  • There are three depositories in Wisconsin for Federal and State documents related to grants. These libraries accept and collect additional information from the private sector and published print and electronic materials. These sections of the libraries are open to the general public, not just to students. Most materials can not be checked out, but they do offer a searchable database that can be purchased. There are reference librarians to assist you and at times the library will offer classes on how to use their collection.
  • UW-Extension has sent up at internet site listing some grants that are available. The grants listed are primarily government grants. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection has created a pdf list with brief descriptions of government grants that are either given out by the State of Wisconsin or are Federal grants that are passed through the State of Wisconsin.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services has a website listing Federal grants. From GuideStar you can create a list of some of the private grant sources in the country. However, the free service is a little cumbersome in comparison to the databases provided by the grant libraries.
  • Foundations do not fund everything. They may be very specific in the who they give to, what subjects they are interested in, what geographic area they are interested in and how much they are willing to give out. One of the most important and time consuming part of grant proposal writing is to research the grants available and narrow down the potential grant sources to a small number that are most likely to award you a grant. If you ask outside the area of interest, you won’t be funded. If you ask too much or too little, you won’t be funded. There are sources to find out about foundations. The 3 primary sources are listed here.
  • All non-profit organizations are required to file a 990 form. From this form, you can see who the board members are and some times where they live, what grants were awarded and for how much, the corporation(s) that fund the foundation, and other information that can help you determine how well you fit with the interests of the foundation. Copies of 990 forms are available at the grant libraries and at GuideStar. GuideStar has services that cost, but copies of the 990 forms are free; all you need to do is register for free on their site. There is no need to sign-up for the services that cost, unless you want to.
  • Basic things that you must consider when writing a proposal
  • One page letter sent to the foundation asking how to apply.
  • For the following slides see the handout created by Barb Becker.
  • Some sources of statistics to describe the need you are addressing.
  • Grant Proposal Writing

    1. 1. Writing Grant Proposals Patrick Nehring UW-Extension Waushara County
    2. 2. 2005 Contributions by non-governmental entities and individuals in the US by Source of Contribution 5% 12% 7% 76% Corporations Foundations Bequests Individuals Giving Institute/American Association of Fundraising Counsel -
    3. 3. A Few Things About Grants  Be prepared that applying for a grant does not guarantee you will receive funding.  Many grants are setup to fund a project during a specific time period and it may not be possible to renew the grant indefinitely.  Grants have there own time frame and the approval process may take a long time.  Have someone in the organization write the proposal. If you hire a grant writer, be involved. You probably know more about the program.
    4. 4. Guides to Writing Grant Proposals  Internet Guides   ent.php?pid=16143&sid=108666   Published Guides  ent.php?pid=16143&sid=108601
    5. 5. Commonly Funded Activities  Not all non-profits are looked at equally  Prefer “charitable” organizations and activities as defined by Section 501(c)3 of the US Internal Revenue Code  501(c)3 Charitable Organization  Sometimes 501(c)4, 501(c)8, 501(c)10, 501(c)13, and 501(c)19 if public use  Unit of government for public purposes
    6. 6. 501(c)3 Activities  Religious  Educational  Scientific  Literary  Public safety  Fostering amateur sports competition  Prevention of cruelty to children or animals  Charitable Source: Internal Revenue Service
    7. 7. “Charitable” Activities include:  Relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged  Erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works  Lessening of neighborhood tensions  Elimination of prejudice and discrimination  Defense of human and civil rights secured by law  Combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency. Source: Internal Revenue Service
    8. 8. Wisconsin Grant Libraries  UW-Madison Memorial Library: Grants Information Center   UW-Stevens Point University Library: Foundation Collection   Marquette University Memorial Library: Funding Information Center   New libraries at UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse and looking for a host library in
    9. 9. Wisconsin Grant Internet Lists  UW-Extension Center for Community Economic Development: Fund-Raising & Grant Writing Links   Wisconsin DATCP – “Got Moo-La?” 
    10. 10. Federal & National Grant Sources  US Department of Health and Human Services is the managing partner of the Federal Grants.Gov Initiative  GuideStar has a search option with a brief description and link to foundation websites. Keyword search “foundation”
    11. 11. Research the Grant  Who do they give to?  What are they interested in?  How much do they usually give out?  Where do they give?  Sources of Information  Internet  Library  990 Forms
    12. 12. Form 990  Generally Tax-Exempt Organizations (Non-Profits) must file a 990, 990 EZ or a 990PF Form with the IRS ,,id=96103,00.html  Access to 990 Form Information  Foundation Libraries  Internet Sources  GuideStar –
    13. 13. Grant Proposals  Follow Directions  Be aware of the evaluation system. If there is point system, plan accordingly.  Use the terms and key words given.  Use common language. Don’t assume everyone will understand the acronyms, jargon, and abbreviations  Be concise, but give specific details
    14. 14. Letters of Intent/Inquiry  Preferred by some, but not by all  Why you are seeking funds  Describe the need you will address  Summarize the project you are seeking funds for  Describe your organization  Ask how to submit a full proposal Source: Donors forum of Wisconsin
    15. 15. Introduction – Organization Information
    16. 16. Needs Assessment and Problem Statement – Project/Program Description
    17. 17. Sources of Information  UW-Extension Waushara County Web Site  Statistics and Studies for Waushara County   US Census Bureau   Wisconsin Agencies 
    18. 18. Objectives – Project/Program Description
    19. 19. Evaluation – Project/Program Description
    20. 20. Future and Other Necessary Funding – Funding Considerations
    21. 21. Budget
    22. 22. Appendices – Support Materials
    23. 23. Tax Exempt Status  Tax-Exempt Organizations (Non-profits)   Units of Government
    24. 24.