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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 • http://grantpdseries.wikispaces.com/ • 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: Grants.gov

  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 http://www.grants-government.com/Grant-Terms/ 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 • www.Grants.gov • 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. Can public schools apply for grants from private foundations? Whether or not a certain grantmaker awards grants to public schools will depend on the funder’s giving interests and limitations. Some foundations are reluctant to provide funding for otherwise publicly-supported organizations for various reasons. When searching Foundation Directory Online for prospective funders, always check the Limitations field in the grantmaker’s profile for information about any restrictions on funding. Schools are tax-exempt, but do not automatically have 501(c)(3) status

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

  25. Session 3: Developing A Proposal

  26. 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.

  27. 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

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

  29. 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

  30. 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?

  31. 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

  32. Session 4: Writing The Proposal &Budget

  33. 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. SMART Goals and Objectives • S - SPECIFIC • M - MEASURABLE • A - ACHIEVEABLE • R - REALISTIC • T - TIMEBOUND

  35. 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

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

  37. 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 figure • If format is not specified look at these samples

  38. 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 persons attends a training then comes back and trains others

  39. Session 5: ManagingA Grant

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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)

  45. Session 6: Follow-Up

  46. 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)?

  47. 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

  48. 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.

  49. 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

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