Grant Writing Lynn O’Connell M.A., Philanthropy
Why are proposals declined? • Did not follow directions • Poorly written or hard to understand • No client involvement
Why are proposals declined? (cont.) • Inadequate evaluation plan • No evidence of sustainability • Budget out of range of funding agency
Before You Start: Build the Case • What is the “case for support”? • How do you use this document? • What are the parts of a “case for support”?
Ten Proposal Basics: #1 Focus on results. What is it you want to accomplish rather than what you want to do?
Ten Proposal Basics: 2 & 3 • Don’t assume. • Make it easy to read.
Ten Proposal Basics: #4 Be positive! Funders fund winners, not losers.
Ten Proposal Basics: 5 – 10 • Use headings. • Don’t use bureaucratese. • Be brief. • Use active voice. • Be specific. • Show success as a “business.”
The RFP: 5 Criteria • Does your planned proposal submission support your overall institution/department strategy? • Does this RFP fall into your institution’s/department’s area of expertise?
The RFP: 5 Criteria (cont.) • Does your background research on the RFP show that your institution/department has a competitive edge? • Can you assemble a proposal team and provide them with enough support and dedicated time to get the job done?
The RFP: 5 Criteria (cont.) Finally, what are the realistic chances that you will be funded?
How to Read an RFP CFDA Nos. 84.044
Purpose of Programs Eligible Applicants Applications Available Deadline for Transmittal of Applications Project Period Applicable Regulations Estimated Range of Awards Estimated Average Size of Awards Estimated Number of Awards Technical Assistance Workshops Program Officer An RFP: Typical Terms
RFP Analysis: The Purpose • To define the problems and requirements you must address • To determine what resources and information you will need • To guarantee the specific tasks that grantees may be expected to achieve
Quick RFP Analysis • What is the main purpose of the RFP? • What special resources are needed? • Who is eligible to apply for funding? • How much time will you have – to write the proposal and to complete the project?
Detailed RFP Analysis • What is the “problem” outlined in the RFP? • What is the RFP’s anticipated solution? • What experience and qualifications does your institution/department have to address this problem and its solution? • Who are your likely competitors? Do you know if they are responding to the RFP?
Detailed RFP Analysis (cont.) • Will the proposal preparation require any preliminary work? If so, can you complete in the timeframe given? • What is unique about your institution, department and/or program? • Who will form the project team? • How much will the proposal effort cost your institution/department?
Grant makers require a project that… • Solves a problem. …for a specific target group …for a broad target group …for staff to better deliver services for a target population …for a community
Attacks a problem not a symptom. EXAMPLE Symptom: The numbers of homeless people in our community are increasing rapidly. What is the real problem? Grant makers require a project that…
THE ANSWER • Real Problem: The city has torn down most of the very low rent houses within the city limits.
Grant makers require a project that… • Meets the grantor’s agenda. …creates a model for use by others …adds to body of knowledge …creates materials …provides services to a broad group
Grant makers require a project that… • Is innovative. …a model that is new to your community …a model that is new to your target group …a model that uses new tools, techniques or vehicles
Grant makers require a project that… • Ensures accountability. …management …documentation …dissemination …evaluation …continuation
Project Design • Step One: Identify the broad problem that affects a population you serve. • Step Two: Define the real problem. Is it the broad problem, or is it a symptom?
Project Design • Step Three: Ask the following questions about your proposed problem: …Do you have control over this problem? …Is it feasible to correct this problem? …Does solving this problem fall within your institution’s/department’s mission?
Project Design Brainstorm a realistic project that provides a clear solution to the real problem.
Project Design • What is the timeframe for your proposed project? • How much funding is needed? • Who are potential partners for your project?
Project Design • Step Four: Think through your project in terms of your institution’s/department’s needs. Which needs can reasonably be requested as “tools” needed to accomplish the activities of your project? Equipment/Materials/Supplies/People/ Training/Services
Research: Justification of Problem • Community Information • Target Population Information • Comparison Information
Research: Justification of Solution • Methodology • Technology • Material • Staff • Equipment
Research: Other Information • Fiscal Information • Technical Information • Key Personnel Bios
Developing Your Research Plan • Step One: Gather and record basic info – research items, researchers. • Step Two: Match skills, knowledge, and experience of available researchers with research items.
Parts of the Proposal: • Cover Letter • Title Page • Table of Contents • Forms & Assurances • Executive Summary • Project Summary
Parts of the Proposal: • Goals & Objectives • Project Design • Budget & Budget Justification • Appendix
Cover Letter - Tips • Use letterhead. • Show correspondent is management. • Be concise.
Title Page - Tips • Follow instructions. • Spend some time thinking about your proposal’s title. • Get the names, titles and dates right.
Table of Contents - Tips • Follow grantor’s order. • Use grantor’s terms. • Provide clear direction. • Be sequential.
Forms & Assurances • Never fail to return a form. • Never return a form blank. • Do not make the forms afterthoughts. • They will take more time than you think!
Executive Summary: Its Purpose • To assure grantmaker that your organization/project meet the guidelines • To remind reviewers what your project was about • To provide concise information to decisionmakers
Executive Summary - Tips • Write it last. • Pretend it’s a miniature proposal. • Keep it short.
Project Summary - Tips • Include major events, key components and “big ticket” items. • Write it last. • Know that it is read.
Introduction What is its purpose?
Introduction 80% the same 20% unique
Introduction – Buzz Words The “c” word The “d” word
The Problem Statement • The 5 W’s • And, the “So what?” and “Who cares?” • Demonstrating proof • Can you solve the problem???
Goals & Objectives First Rule: The grantmaker holds the gold.
Goals & Objectives • Goals are statements of the major steps to accomplish the mission of the project (e.g., set up a counseling center, implement a counseling program). • Objectives are the major steps to accomplish a goal (e.g., decrease in drug use by 95% of the participants).
Goals and Objectives: The Adjectives • Measurable • Achievable • Significant
Measuring Outcomes • Definitions – outcomes indicator, goal, input, output, evaluation • Reasons to Measure Outcomes
Goals and Objectives The Logic Model