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Grant Writing 101

Grant Writing 101. “ There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but there are many ways to disguise a good idea.” - Norm Braverman, NIH. Quick Grant Quiz True or False. You can get grants to make up for budget cuts. You can pay for personnel from grants.

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Grant Writing 101

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  1. Grant Writing 101 “There is no grantsmanship that will turn a bad idea into a good one, but there are many ways to disguise a good idea.” - Norm Braverman, NIH

  2. Quick Grant QuizTrue or False • You can get grants to make up for budget cuts. • You can pay for personnel from grants. • Grants are “free money” – no strings attached. • Grants must be for something totally new. • It’s important to establish a personal relationship with the funding source. • After you take this workshop you will be 100% successful in your quests for grant funding.

  3. Grant Seeking vs. Fundraising • Written application • Standardized format • Formal • Relatively high level of effort If you need only a small amount of money, fundraising may be a better way to go!

  4. What Keeps Us from Writing for Grants? • Fear of rejection • Reality - Only one proposal in 5 is turned down because the idea wasn’t good enough • Reality - A rejected proposal is worth about $10,000 of free advice • Reality - The success rate is higher for proposals turned in a second time • Reality - The success rate on a third submission is almost 1:1

  5. Just Do It!

  6. Keys to Success • Innovation and Creativity are important • Looking for new solutions to old problems • Why is your agency the best one to tackle the issue? • Calling the Program Officer is critical • 85% of all successful grant seekers have had contact with the grantmaking agency’s program officer

  7. Going Through the Grant Process is Time Well-Spent • Can’t get a grant unless you write one • Professionally fulfilling • Requires you to focus your thoughts and think about your agency’s mission • Armed with reviewers’ comments the second proposal is always stronger

  8. Federal Government gives and takes away based on political agenda inflexible submission process fewer $ means fewer submissions  success rate increases slow review process State Government agenda-driven often good source for education-related initiatives outsource work when budgets decrease even when they have money they won’t necessarily tell you about it Who Gives Money and Why?

  9. Private Foundations give out of goodness of their heart advance a particular cause $10 billion annually often fund geographically Corporations give for enlightened self-interest give where they live quality of life employment pool improve image “Dow helps you do great things” Private Giving

  10. Types of Grants • Program/Project • Curriculum • Demonstration/Pilot • Training • Equipment • Fellowships • Capital • Seed

  11. Qualities of Effective Grant Writing • Quality of the program/project idea and its appeal to the funding source • The ability to communicate your idea clearly and concisely

  12. A good idea A good institutional fit Assemble a winning team Match the idea to a sponsor Read the guidelines Read them again Contact the sponsor Plan in detail Develop the budget from the detailed plan Read the guidelines again with narrative in mind Be persistent - revise and resubmit The Process

  13. Idea • An idea is something that only exists in your mind. • Your task is to transfer the idea to a fundable project proposal. • Take a specific problem or need and brainstorm solutions.

  14. Government Are you eligible? Can you meet the required match? How many funded? How much money available? Change project to meet guidelines? Private Geography? Who do they fund? Range of awards? Type of project? Interest in issue but no grants Change project to meet priorities? Do they have staff? Is It the Right Grant?

  15. More Questions to Ask • Does the funding agency share your goals? • Is the funding agency interested in the same populations/issues? • Has the funding agency funded projects similar to yours? • Have they made awards to organizations similar to yours? • Does the agency require matching? • When will the award be made?

  16. Writing a Grant is Like Playing a Game

  17. You have to Play by the Rules • GET the guidelines • READ the guidelines • FOLLOW the guidelines

  18. Following the Guidelines • You must follow the guidelines exactly. • Respond to all sections. • Adhere to any format restrictions. • Topics must be covered in the order presented in the guidelines. • Use headings that correspond to the guidelines.

  19. Concept Paper 2-4 pages highlights Pre-proposal 5-10 pages reviewed may be invited to submit full proposal Full Proposal from 10-100 pages forms attachments specific format Curriculum Proposal clear task force staff involvement advisory committee Types of Grants

  20. After Reading the Guidelines

  21. Contact the Program Officer! • The major variable in getting proposals funded is contact with the program officer prior to submission of a proposal.

  22. Things to Consider “You’re off the hook - in order to have a conflict of interest, you gotta have an interest in the first place”

  23. Conflict of Interest? Due date - received or postmarked? Page limit Spacing Numbering Margin requirement Type requirement Do you need letters? Group Projects - Organizational Charts and Responsibilities Technical Issues to Consider Before You Write

  24. Write to the funding source Write in the correct language of the field - but no jargon Never write in 1st person Clarity Use the 5 W’s Write to inform don’t use biased language or jargon Write to persuade current data from reputable sources establish credibility no unsubstantiated opinions/claims Appropriate Writing Style

  25. A Grant is not an Idea It is a Plan BASED on an Idea

  26. Cover Page Table of Contents Abstract Problem or Needs Statement Goals and Objectives Methodology Quality of Key Personnel Evaluation Plan Dissemination References Cited Budget & Narrative Resumes/Vitae Appendices Forms, Certifications and Assurances Parts of a Grant Application

  27. The Project Title • The title is important • It should convey what the program/project is about • It should be descriptive but not dry

  28. A Few Examples • “Project L.E.A.D. (Literacy for Every Adult in Door)” • “Links for Lifelong Learning” • “Write Start for Adult Learners”

  29. Abstract • Should be able to stand alone • It may be all the reviewers read • Clear, concise, one page, single space • Avoid 1st person • Do not refer to the proposal in the abstract – keep it self-contained • Cover all key elements in order

  30. The Needs or Problem Statement

  31. The Task You Face • Critically important, and often poorly written • Convince the funding source that you understand the need and can help solve the problem • Prove the need • cite evidence/data • illustrate with graphs and charts, if possible • Demonstrate that the need is pressing • How your agency/project will creatively address the problem and what gaps will it fill • The project fits with your agency’s mission

  32. The Problem Statement: Framing the Need • Establishes a framework for the project’s goals, objectives, methods, and evaluation • Begin with a framing statement then provide documentation/data to support that statement • Provide a thorough explanation of your need • test assumptions • anticipate reviewers’ questions • incorporate proposal guidelines • demonstrate the need

  33. If the Need Is for a “Thing”….. Rephrase It!!! Weak:The Rural County Literacy Agency needs a bookmobile. Stronger:Residents of rural areas in Rural County need access to educational materials in order to….

  34. What significant needs are you trying to meet? What is the current status of the needs? Will this project help meet the need? What really needs to be done? What services will be delivered? To whom? By whom? What will be the impact of this project/program? What gaps exist in the knowledge base? What does the literature say about the significance of the problem at a local, state, regional, national level? Is there evidence that this project will lead to other significant initiatives? What previous work has been done to meet this need? Was it effective? Questions to Ask

  35. Organizing and Writing the Needs Statement • Go from the foundational statement • Build your case with data • Follow the guidelines I • Follow the guidelines II • Be succinct and persuasive • Tell your story and build your case drawing to a logical conclusion that leads into the project goals and objectives

  36. Problem Statement Example “Rural County manufacturers cannot implement productivity improvements.”

  37. Improve This Statement • Rural County manufacturers cannot implement productivity improvements. • Clarify the assumptions • Anticipate the questions

  38. Funded Problem Statement According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the harsh truth is that 40 percent of manufacturers in Rural County cannot implement productivity improvementslargely because of limited reading, writing, math, and/or communication skills among their employees.

  39. Dissecting the Problem Statement • State the problem and cite the data source. • Then clarify the problem by contrasting what is happening with what is “normal” or “ideal.” • State that this is a pressing need which the funder is or should be interested in addressing.

  40. Documenting the Problem Statement • Root the statement in factual information • must document that your initial statement is correct through data • Show you know what’s going on in the field, what the basic issues are • Use national and local information • whenever possible, show that the local problem is also a national or regional one

  41. Cite current literature 6-10 key references half of works cited should be geographically relevant to your agency Case studies Statistics - objective Surveys Focus groups Needs assessments Use relevant graphs and charts whenever possible Documentation

  42. Ending a Needs Statement • Emphasize the significance of your project • what will be the result? • what impact will it have? • will the impact continue? • You might present your project as a model or pilot • Always address the funding agency’s priorities • Forecast the usefulness and importance of the project’s anticipated results • Discuss why the community needs the targeted resources, rather than discussing the resource or personnel deficits of the applicant agency

  43. Goals and Objectives The “What”

  44. The Goal • Both the goals and objectives should flow logically from the statement of need. • Goals convey the ultimate intent of the proposed project, the overarching philosophy, A CONCISE STATEMENT OF THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT. • The opening statement of this section should begin with “The goal of this project is to…”

  45. The Goal 2.0 • Broad, long-range, general • Not measurable • Related to agency’s mission • May not be attained Example: The goal of this project is to provide free and convenient access to adult literacy resources to all people in Rural County.

  46. A Well Thought-Out Project: • Will have: • one or two goals • several objectives related to (each of) the goals • many methodological steps to achieve each objective

  47. Objectives • The objectives state the essence of the proposed project in terms of what will be accomplished. • Break the goal down to specific measurable pieces, the outcomes of which will determine actual project accomplishments.

  48. Objectives • Objectives discuss who is going to do what, when they will do it, and how it will be measured • Should point to the desired end results of the project • Objectives are action-oriented and often begin with a verb • Arrange them in priority order

  49. Objectives 2.0 Measurable, Time-Specific More narrowly defined than goals Reflect a change in the target group/demographic Relate to needs Should be able to show improvement Can be evaluated and should be attainable

  50. Objectives Answer Questions • Whois going to be impacted or changed? • Whatis going to happen? • Whenwill it happen? • How muchchange will take place? • Howwill change be measured?

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