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Basic Grant Writing Skills

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  1. Basic Grant Writing Skills Wendy Smith, RNC, FNP, DNS Director FNP Program Sonoma State University

  2. OVERVIEW:Grant Seeking • Multimillion dollar business • thousands of public and private programs that disperse grant dollars • over 150 billion dollars in grants last year

  3. Who gives away money? FEDERAL MONEY • Finding out about Public Grants • Federal Gov major provider of grant $ • Source of information about all gov grants is Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) •

  4. Who gives away money? PRIVATE MONEY • Foundations: • More than 43,000 private foundations award more than $8 billion annually • 2 major web sites • Foundation Center • Council on Foundations

  5. Who gives away money? PRIVATE MONEY • Corporations • Fund projects that benefit themi.e. better products, happier, healthieremployees/community, lower costs,improved public image • Emphasize what grant “buys” them, how related to business.

  6. Can I send to more than one? • Yes! Ink is cheap • Detailed proposal requires some rework but a letter proposal minimum • Putting it all together for the first time is the challenge • Boilerplate the various components

  7. Bottom Line: You Have to Write Something • Start by identifying the needs of your organization • Program, Clinic, Client population, Colleagues • Conduct a Needs Assessment • Provides a focus idea & generates relevant data to include in proposal

  8. Now That You Have An Idea • Write! Share your idea, develop a 1-2 page concept paper use simple language • Share it with • Administrators, Colleagues, Advisory Committees • Develop Support, Accept critique - easier now than later

  9. Seek and Yea Shall Find-Funding • Find the best match • Federal, State, Philanthropic, Corporations • Communicate: email, Web page, Phone • Request proposals • Request list of recently funded projects • Find out average size of award

  10. Making the Case for Funding • Is your idea unique? How do you know? • Literature Review, Research • Statistics • Organization, County/State/Federal Health agencies, Professional groups/org • Patient data/chart audits

  11. Who is the YOU? • Call a Meeting. Develop a MOU. • Will this be a group effort? Or is this an individual effort? • Who will direct the proposal preparation? • Who will direct the project if funded? Funding = Responsibility!

  12. Develop a Plan of Attack Maintain a Timeline • Most Funding Cycles have DEADLINES • When is the date, what does it mean? • Date when mailed/postmark, overnight? • Date to be in hands of mailroom vs Officer • What about courier, fax, email/electronic? • Allow time for reviews & revisions • Allow for computer problems/BACKUP!!

  13. Team Effort Approach • Maintain Momentum • Develop Outline and Delegate Sections • Stipulate Deadlines • Use same Word Processing Program • Same format for indents and paragraphs • All forms and tables should look the same

  14. Appearance of the Proposal • Follow the Criteria!!!!! Read carefully • Numbers of pages, Type of font, Format of margins, Page setup etc. • Look for sections that could best be presented with charts, maps, tables etc. • Avoid lengthy appendices and supporting documents

  15. Usual Sections of a Proposal • Introduction, Summary or Abstract • Background Information • Objectives • Significance (justification) • Methods • Evaluation Plan • Budget and Budget justification

  16. Introduction/Summary, Abstract • Criteria may indicate # of pages, if not usually 2 pages max. • Clearly establishes who is applying for funds • Describes the purpose and goals, of applicant, describes accomplishments and qualifications in area funds are sought • Indicates the duration of the project

  17. Background • Brief review of literature and rationale • Gives concise description of the problem • Presents problem in terms of benefits to the community and not nec the institution • Includes supporting facts & figures • Federal/State/Local plans, demographics, consumer needs, statements by “leaders”

  18. Objectives and Goals • Specific, what will be accomplished at the end of the proposed activity -Goals are global, Objectives intermediate • Conditions under which the objectives will be demonstrated • Criteria standard by which the results of the proposal will be evaluated

  19. Objectives: Usually 3-5 • They should be realistic, if funded you will have to implement! They should state: • the thing to be accomplished (subject and verb) • how many or how much (the number or amount) • by what time or date

  20. Objectives: Example • The number of pregnant women in “any town” receiving health care within the first trimester of pregnancy will increase from 10% to at least 50% within one year of implementation of the project.

  21. Significance (Justification) • In some proposals this section may be included in the background • This tells why the project you are proposing is important for solving the problems in your area; the relevance of the project to nursing or primary health care in your community • Use data from Needs Assessment/Feasibility study.

  22. Methods (Action Plan, Plan of Work) • In this section you explain how you plan to meet each of your objectives • Describe what activities need to be done within the institution, clinic, program or services to accomplish what you have proposed. What is changed or added. • Activities planned should be sequenced in a logical way, timetable included

  23. Evaluation Plan • Integral part of every funding proposal • usually one of the weakest areas and often why funding is not approved. • Every objective should have an outcome/s • In developing eval ask “how will we know we accomplished this?” Develop simple, but specific criteria that are measurable.

  24. Evaluation Continued • Evaluation • can be both qualitative (numbers) or quantitative (values) • Can use “Norms” • from associations, Fed/State/County agencies, match your data against “Norms”. • Explain what information will be required and how it will be obtained

  25. Evaluation Continued • Important part of evaluation is process of “feedback” • Describe how evaluation findings will be presented to system to facilitate change. • Often weak area, in health care • we perform a great deal of evaluation but what we do with it is the problem.

  26. Budget • Start by identifying personnel • usually most costly area of the project • Confirm salaries and benefits with your business or accounting official. • Usually there are other items that can be approximated travel, equipment, consultants.

  27. Budget Continued • Two approaches • Scope out project first then develop cost estimates that match (do budget last) • Estimate probable size of award and figure how you can afford to do what you plan if you win. • Asking for exact amount of award is a crap shoot. Slight under is better

  28. Budget Continued • Find a mentor • people experienced in receiving funding are usually willing to help. Get advice of previous recipients, especially agencies similar to yours. • Justification for direct costs • give details, names, need for travel, give numbers of miles/visits, equipment and why needed.

  29. Budget Continued • Direct vs Indirect Costs • Direct Costs, costs directly attributed to carrying out the project • Indirect Costs, some funders particularly Federal agencies allow the recovery of costs such as use of building, labs, office space, general equipment, utilities and accounting expenses. Because these are diff to put a dollar value on usually a fixed rate ie 8.0%.

  30. Other Sections • Personnel • list each person ( technical and support) participating in activity, may need to use TBA category if need to hire • give description of what each will do, and time allocated to project ie 100% or 20%. • This area sometimes also included under budget, but some require separate section • Include 1-2 pg. Bios/vitaes, uniform format.

  31. Other Sections • Facilities or Resources • details of the clinic facilities or organizational resources, equipment or supplies that are currently available to carry out project. Gives funding agency an idea of capability to carry out what you propose • details of resources, equipment etc that will be needed in addition to above to complete project as proposed

  32. Review and Approval Process • Internal Review and Approval • most agencies have an established process • Have the “important people” (accounting, Admin, MD, Mgrs) sign-off on the proposal. They can’t complain to you about the time and cost to the organization if funded. • Have a “detail” person edit for grammar, format and spelling (even if you used software). Consider and “outsider”.

  33. Review and Approval Process • Table of Contents • Headings and Page numbering • Supporting information and Appendices • Letters of support • Details: Questionnaires etc • Signatures • Correct number of copies and binding