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Grant Writing 101

Grant Writing 101

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Grant Writing 101

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  1. Grant Writing 101 Carla Littlefield August 20, 2013

  2. Grant Writing Commandments • Target your proposal to the funder • Make personal contact when possible • Involve the key people on your team • Be concise, clear, positive, and readable • Don’t assume anything; leave nothing out • Document your sources • Manage your deadlines • Make sure the application is complete

  3. Common Reasons Why Proposals are Rejected • Proposal is poorly written, hard to understand • Proposal doesn’t follow the guidelines • Objectives don’t match the funder’s priorities • Objectives are too ambitious in scope • Methods are unclear or untested • Evaluation procedure is inadequate, doesn’t correspond to the objectives • Budget is not within the funder’s stated range • Attachments are missing

  4. Be Prepared: Information to Have on Hand • Updated Organizational Chart • Updated resumes of key individuals • Updated job descriptions for key positions • Demographics for the target population • Data and statistics to document needs • Recent financial statements • Current organization budget

  5. Effective Grant Writing Process for Winning Proposals • Be alert to the release of RFPs (RFAs) • Make go; no go decision; don’t sit on an RFP. • Pull together team to agree on response • Assign responsibilities, including a coordinator and a writer who will submit drafts for review • Communicate regularly with the team • Identify and resolve confusions when occur • Set deadlines; it all takes longer than expected • Leave time for required signatures

  6. Tips for the grant writer to assist the reviewer (derived from Strunk & White) • Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence. Example: Several changes occurred in 2012.... • Keep paragraphs short • Use headings to delineate sections in narrative • Use the active voice, not passive. Example: The groups are led by Ms. Garcia (passive). Ms. Garcia leads the groups (active) • Be definite (not vague), specific (not general), and concrete • Omit needless words (remember G.B. Shaw and others) “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” • Revise and rewrite

  7. Who are the Funders • Public Sector: county, state, and federal govt. • Private Sector • 1. Foundations: • National (Ford, Rockefeller, Mellon, etc.) • General (the largest number) • Community (umbrella org. that manages individual donations and trusts, e.g., Denver Foundation) • 2. Corporations: • Give in areas where they have a presence, e.g., Target, Wells Fargo, Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, Denver Post, U.S. Bank, Kaiser Permanente

  8. Funder Deadline Information • http://coloradogrants.org/resources/deadline-calendar Identifies deadlines by month for most Colorado foundations • Foundation websites have detail, including application requirements. Online applications are becoming more common. • Library: see foundation directories for local and national funders • Online: Colorado Grants Guide ($895)

  9. Common Grant Application • www.coloradocommongrantforms.org • Is accepted by many foundations • General operating requests have 4 page limit • Program or capital requests have 5 page limit • Address 10 Questions (org. background; goals; current programs; summary of the plan for program request: needs statement, goals & objectives, activities, timeline; evaluation; collaboration; inclusiveness; board; volunteers; planning

  10. Foundation Strategies • Find out if your board members have contacts on any foundations. Use these contacts. • Note foundations’ priority areas; don’t do a shotgun approach; target your requests to the funders who are interested in your project area • Note their range of average grants, e.g., $3-5,000 • Note whether they welcome inquiries. If so, call them! • Note whether they require a preliminary letter • Develop a one-year grant calendar with at least 10 grant opportunities

  11. Grant Writing Training • Grantsmanship Center $450-$850 intensive 2 day, 3 day and 5 day sessions at locations throughout the country. Work with a team to write a proposal and submit for critique. • Locally: Surf the web. Just a few examples (not endorsements): • Coloradogrants.org • Grantwritingusa.com • Many more! • Just do it!! Ask a consultant for feedback.