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The Grant Writing Process

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  1. The Grant Writing Process Created By Ailish McGrath June 2010

  2. Session 1: Grants 101

  3. Goals of the PD Series • Learn about the entire grant writing process from start to finish • Inexperienced writers will learn how to write a proposal • Experienced writers will improve their proposal writing skills • Apply for a grant by the end of this school year!

  4. PD Series Format • 6 sessions in total • Session 1: Grants 101 (Today) • Sessions 2 through 5 = Will take place within the next 3 months • Session 6: Closing: Sharing session during spring

  5. PD Series Format • Wiki will store all materials • • Access websources • Examples of approved grants • PowerPoints & Handouts from each session • If you miss a f2f session catch up on the wiki • Comment and post questions with discussion tool • Share any additional resources you find • Collaborate with others from your subject/grade level

  6. Grants Defined “Grants are not benefits or entitlements. A federal grant is an award of financial assistance from a federal agency to a recipient to carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by a law of the United States. Federal grants are not federal assistance or loans to individuals.* Grants can also be funded by private corporations and non-profit organizations. Source:

  7. Key Terms* • Eligible Recipient(s): Who can receive funds? • Funding Period: When can the funds be used? • Permissible Uses of Funds: How can they be used? • Beneficiary: the entity or organization that is awarded a grant; aka the grantee * Visit for a complete list

  8. The Grant Writing Process

  9. Basic Parts of A Grant • Cover letter • Proposal abstract • Introduction describing the grant seeker or organization • Both at a micro and macro level • School district and specific population for project • Need/Problem statement • Project objectives/goals • Project methods • Project evaluation • Future funding/sustainability • Budget

  10. The Abstract: It’s A Hit or Miss…. • Must be clear and powerful! • Summarizes your grant project in a succinct format (should be less than a page) • This might be the only document that is read by ALL members of the review committee • If your abstract doesn’t catch their attention they likely won’t read the rest of your material • See examples (access on wiki)

  11. RFPs vs. Unsolicited Proposal Proposals Some organizations publish Requests For Proposal (RFP) when they want to publicize that they are offering a grant. You can look in newspapers, subscribe to grant alerts, or search the internet for RFPS. Unsolicited Proposals: If you contact an organization about a grant that has not solicited for proposal.

  12. What Does It Take To Write A Grant? According to Bev Browning author of Grant Writing for Dummies, the main skills you need to write good grants are: Planning Organization Research Writing

  13. Must Haves For Grants TIME: • You must allot adequate time to prepare a grant • Begin looking at the submission due date and develop a schedule from there • If you are selected as a grant recipient, do you have the time to manage the grant? • SUPPORT: • Ideally this process should be a collaborative effort • Assess impact on program/department • Understand needs of project (space, curriculum time, faculty resources) • Rally friends with excellent copy editing to carefully review all materials

  14. Internal Review All grant proposals with South Brunswick School District as a beneficiary must be reviewed and announced at a Board of Education meeting and get district approval before they are submitted to the granting organization for consideration.

  15. Small Group Activity: • With a small group of peers in your subject/grade level discuss possible areas you could consider for a grant project.

  16. Session 2: Finding Your Grant

  17. Locating the Right Grant • Searching for grant opportunities should be an ongoing process • Find websites that you like and visit them often • Subscribe to grant alert updates if the site offers them

  18. Locating the Right Grant • Should have a good idea of what your funding needs are • Specify your search by either topic (i.e. science), target population (high school students), or geographic location (Middlesex County or NJ) • Refine search terms even further (science grants high school students) • Check eligibility requirements to ensure you can apply

  19. Federal Grants • • Source to search and apply for federal grants • Provides access to over 1,000 grant programs • Approximately $500 billion in annual awards

  20. State Grants • NJ Office of Grants Management • Source to search and apply for NJ grants • Search by discretionary or entitlement grants • Shows anticipated upcoming grants • Check back frequently for updates

  21. State Grants • South Brunswick High School’s Business Department was recently awarded a grant by the NJ DOE • Grant provided more than $1,000,000 of funding over three years to develop a Career and Technical Education Program • Program is called “Tech Prep: Pathways to Business” • Foundation lies in the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technology Act of 1990.

  22. Corporate Funds Many corporations set aside funds for philanthropic giving. • example of corporate grants • Give locally to the communities where their employees live and work • Funding can come in the form of cash or materials • Application process can vary from company to company • Coke’s application versus Intel’s application

  23. Activity Use the internet to find a: • Government grant • Corporate Grant • Non-Profit Grant Be sure to bookmark the sites for future reference.

  24. Session 3: Developing A Proposal

  25. Share Your Project Idea • Today we will createa proposal outline that will be expanded into a completed proposal during Session 4. • The goal of this session is to brainstorm as a group and think through your idea before we begin formally write the proposals.

  26. The Problem/Need Statement • Any grant proposal must start with a problem statement • A problem is the reason for a project • Potential funders need to understand • exactly what you are asking them to support, • the intended outcomes • the benefits to the target population and community

  27. The Problem/Need Statement • This helps funders understand: • exactly what you are asking them to support • what the benefits will be to the target population • Try to align this section with the mission of the organization you are applying to.

  28. Other Tips • If available carefully examine the proposal review and decision-making process • Request proposal guidelines • Follow the guidelines exactly as they are described • Reread the grant requirements at least twice for clarity • Ask for a list of projects previously funded

  29. Activity: Proposal Outline Include the following in your outline: • Prepare your introduction • Goal of your project • Timeline: when will it happen? • Check to see if the grant organization has specific time periods when the funds must be used • Who will benefit, how many, and how? • Desired outcomes • How will they be measured?

  30. Activity: Proposal Outline • Share your outline with a partner • Ask questions about anything that seems unclear in their outline • Identify strengths and weaknesses of the grant proposal

  31. Session 4: Writing The Proposal &Budget

  32. Proposal Tips • Meet all of the requirements: • format, appendix section, deadlines, length • If multiple people are working on the proposal make sure it is reviewed carefully so that is reads as one cohesive piece. • Each section should be logically connected to the next.


  34. Budget This is where you translate your idea into dollars and cents. • A well written budget: • will explain and justify all expenditures of the money • describes how each item will support the achievement of proposed objectives • has sufficient detail

  35. Budget • Consider the following: • Personnel needs • Equipment • Technology • Office supplies • Training • Communication • Mailing Expenses • Travel

  36. Budget • Follow the prescribed format if given • Use column headings to organize it • Should be easy to read and understand • Double check your figures • Have an outside party check your figures • If format is not specified look at these samples

  37. Sustainability How will the project continue after the grant period is over? • Build sustainability into your application • Budget for items that have a life beyond the funding period • Turn key training sessions: one person attends a training then comes back and trains others

  38. Session 5: ManagingA Grant

  39. Grant Management • Once you are awarded a grant, the real work begins. • It is likely that the granting organization will have specific procedures on how the grant should be managed. • Organization will be crucial no matter what!

  40. Grant Management • Create a file management system to organize all material related to the grant. • Dedicate space for the files and time to keep it organized. • Follow ALL reporting guidelines. • If you have to make a change to your plan/budget be sure to file the required modification paperwork.

  41. Grant Management • Keep digital and hard copies of: • grant proposal • budget • award Letter and award documents • grant modifications • copies of flyers, brochures, programs, catalogs, and articles that relate to any grant activities for final report purposes • correspondence with the granting organization • financial reports

  42. Task Management Plan • Have a plan to manage all the activities and tasks related to the grant. • Personnel: Do you have the same people available that were there when you wrote the proposal? • Stress the importance of accountability to all parties involved. • Remember grants are NOT gifts. You have to use the money the way you said you would in the proposal. Otherwise you risk non-compliance. • Meet the deadlines set out in your project proposal.

  43. Budget Management • Meet with the parties who will be involved in tracking the funds. • In South Brunswick everything will be tracked and monitored at the Board Office. • Set up guidelines and procedures for routine activities. • Identify back up contacts should an individual not be available. • Pay attention to details (i.e. budget codes on forms)

  44. Session 6: Follow-Up

  45. Round Table Discussion What Happened? • Who has applied for a grant? • Where did you apply? • How did you learn about the grant? • Who has identified a grant to apply for in the future? • Has anyone received a response from their grant application(s)?

  46. Remarks From Recent Grant Recipient • NJ DOE Grant that funded • Tech Prep: Pathways To Business program • Lessons learned • What worked and what didn’t work

  47. Rejection • If at first you don’t succeed......Try Try Again! • Grants are highly competitive and have many applicants vying for funds. • Closely examine the proposal. • Share the proposal with others and seek advice. • A little tweaking could make it a winning proposal. • Try to discover why you were rejected.

  48. Rejection Federal or State agency: Freedom of Information Act allows you to request a copy of the reviewers’ comments and scoring record. Private/ Corporate: request to see the reviewers’ comments and scores

  49. Final Remarks…. • Persistence will pay off • Do not let a rejection discourage you • Continue to seek out new opportunities

  50. Survey • Feedback is appreciated and valued • Access the link for the online survey on the wiki • You must complete the survey in order to receive credit for this PD series