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Grant Writing Workshop

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  1. Grant Writing Workshop Presented by Dr. Catherine Chan-Halbrendt Sponsored by AHEED Project February 6, 2009

  2. What Matthew Lesko Doesn’t Tell You!! • Grant Writing is Very competitive! • Grant Writing takes time! • Grant Writing requires persistence! • Grant Writing involves careful attention to details! • Grant Writing can be hard on your self-esteem. You must be able to accept rejection and try again SO WHY SHOULD YOU BOTHER?

  3. Successfully Obtaining Grant Funding …. • Permits you to conduct your relevant research. • Can pay your salary and keep you employed. • Allows you to hire help, purchase supplies or equipment. • Can fund travel to scientific and professional meetings. • Lets you work with others through cooperative agreements or subcontracts. • Can pay for a workshop or conference. • Can help you get ahead.

  4. So where do we look for grants • Online, of course • Electronic announcements • Development agencies

  5. Online Funding Links • Federal funding - www.grants.gov • Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance http://12.46.245.173/cfda/cfda.html • Illinois Research Information Service http://www.library.uiuc.edu/iris/ (subscription service – UH has one) • Foundation Center – private foundations http://foundationcenter.org/ • Hawaii Community Foundation – local foundations http://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/

  6. Overview • Idea Development Process • Making a compelling case • Background and Significance • Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outputs , Outcomes • Experimental Design, Methods and Alternative • Project Evaluation • Budget • Abstract • First Drafts • Final Proposal

  7. Formulating a Proposal Problem – Coming up with the IDEA! • Discussions with colleagues, advisors, policy makers, stakeholders and the community, then ask yourself a series of questions : Is this idea and problems stimulating and important to me so that I would want to spend considerable time thinking, reading and doing? • What is the focus of my organization, my department, institution, and profession and how do their goals fit with my topic of interest? • Could my study fill a gap or lead to a greater understanding? • Has this or a similar study been done before? • MOST IMPORTANTLY, WILL MY STUDY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT?

  8. Assignment #1 • Instructions: The object of this assignment is for you to begin, the most simplest way, to write concisely and precisely, a statement of the problem and how you will propose to solve the problem. On this page, below, please write one sentence describing the problem and one sentence describing the solution for the project you will propose. Avoid the use of jargon. The sentences should be understandable to your peers in different fields. Take 5 minutes.

  9. Why Proposals Fail: Understanding the Importance of the Request For Application (RFA)

  10. Writing a successful grant requires attention to all three components

  11. What is a great idea? One that FITS Fills a gap in knowledge Important…will make a difference Tests a hypothesis or concept Short-term investment by sponsor will lead to a long- term gain for the stakeholders. Is what you propose scientifically significant? Can you make a compelling case? Is it a good idea? Is there a gap in the knowledge? Is the methodology appropriate? Have you considered the alternatives?

  12. Can you pay attention to details? Can you meet a deadline? Can you fill out forms? Do you have the right signatures or approvals? What paperwork do I need before I can submit?

  13. Does what you propose fit the RFA? - What are your sponsor’s goals? - Have you addressed the goals of the program? What kind of projects does your sponsor support? - How will the program be evaluated?

  14. Some Reasons Why Proposals Fail • Application outside the purview of the funding agency • Funding agency’s priorities and interests may have changed • Funding Agency is not the most appropriate source of funds for the proposed project • Applicant has not read or understood the agency’s interests and application procedures

  15. Dealing with Short Deadlines First • Start (don’t finish) with the sponsor’s guidelines. • Mark them as you study, noting such things as deadline (for mailing or arrival?), number of copies, where to mail, and so on. • The guidelines will also specify certain topics or questions that must be addressed. • You may wish to borrow some of the language of the guidelines if it fits naturally into the framework of your proposal. University of Michigan Proposal Writer’s Guide

  16. Dealing with Short Deadlines Second, • If there are sections not clear, check with the project representative or the appropriate program officer at the agency • In either event, two ends will be served: the project representative will be alerted to your intentions to submit and the information you will receive will help focus further the task of preparing a rush proposal University of Michigan Proposal Writer’s Guide http://www.research.umich.edu/pr

  17. Grant Makers Reveal the Most Common Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected • 80% of the grant applications are immediately rejected. The reason so many don’t pass muster is the applicants didn’t do their legwork. They didn’t dig deeper. “Nothing is more important when applying for a grant than having the right information.” • The Chronicle of Philanthropy http://philanthropy.com/jobs/2003/05/01/20030523-378096.htm

  18. The Art of Writing a Grant • Make sure that your proposal “fits” with the mission of the agency and that your objectives match those with the agency. Make this “match” explicit in your written application. • If you have doubts or questions, contact the relevant granting agency person, who will welcome your questions and answer them. They really do want to help. • Find out the median funding level for the agency. This will allow you to formulate a reasonable budget. • Try to find colleagues who have served on, or have received grants from, the agency. They might provide “insider” information on how the agency works and what “sells”. P.S. Most federal funding agencies will list what has been funded in previous year. Find out what you propose fits in to what was funded previously. If not, contact the program officer or find another program

  19. Tips for Successful Grant Writing Always : • Read the proposal instructions first. • Never begin your proposal without knowing exactly what it required. • Prepare a checklist of things you need to do to appropriately complete the grant • Use the format suggested http://www.cippp.org/pubs/granttip.pdf

  20. So you want to write a proposal to the Government? Read and follow the instructions • Write clearly and concisely • Have a trusted colleague review your proposal • Read and follow the instructions • Clearly explain what you propose • Keep your eye on the big picture • Use easy to read typeface • Read and follow the instructions http://www.aas.org/grants/hints.html

  21. So if you haven’t gotten the point… • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS • READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS

  22. So where are we so far? • Idea Development Process • Making a compelling case • Background and Significance • Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outputs , Outcomes • Experimental Design, Methods and Alternative • Project Evaluation • Budget • Abstract • First Drafts • Final Proposal

  23. Building the Compelling Case • Proposals are ultimately evaluated on the significance of the problem to be addressed. Your job is to make a compelling case for your project. Scour the literature and find statistics that demonstrate that funding your project is essential to address a significant problem or a gap in the knowledge in the field. http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/acad/Research/GrantProposal.asp

  24. Making the Compelling Case • Establish the general significance of the project. • Describe and document the problem. • Review the current state of the knowledge in the field. • Explain the rationale for the project. • Funnel the reader (move from general to specific). • Answer the question why the project must be done! • Capture the attention of the reviewers (at best in the first paragraph!) http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/acad/Research/GrantProposal.asp

  25. Some questions to ask yourself! • Who is your audience? Who will be reviewing your grant proposal? - Some reviewers are lazy. They don’t respond to a poorly written proposal. They don’t want to hunt out the key points. • - Some reviewers are very busy. They often don’t have time to ferret out the key ideas. • If the RFP doesn’t tell you, find out who will be the reviewers of your proposal. Contact the funding agency WRITE TO YOUR AUDIENCE

  26. So where are we so far? • Idea Development Process • Making a compelling case • Background and Significance • Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outputs , Outcomes • Experimental Design, Methods and Alternative • Project Evaluation • Budget • Abstract • First Drafts • Final Proposal

  27. Background and Significance What goes into this section? • Well documented evidence of a specific problem. • The problem statement or needs assessment • Keep in mind the current literature or gaps in knowledge • Have you sought or do you need stakeholder input or community support? • Are there statistical data that supports your case?

  28. Problem Statement The problem statement (or needs assessment) is the key element of a proposal. It should be a clear, concise, well-supported statement of the problem to be overcome using the grant funding. An applicant could include data collected during a needs assessment that would illustrate the problems to be addressed. The information provided should be both factual and directly related to the problem addressed by the proposal. http://www.epa.gov/ogd/recipient/tips.htm

  29. Problem Statement • Zero in on a specific problem you want to solve or an issue you want to address. • Do not make assumptions of the reviewers. • Use statistics or preliminary data to support the existence of your problem or issue. • Make a connection between the RFA, the issue or problem with your organization. • Make a case for your project locally, not just nationally. • Demonstrate your knowledge of the issue or problem http://www.epa.gov/ogd/recipient/tips.htm

  30. Tips on Writing the Narrative Narratives typically must satisfy the following questions: • What does the funding agency want? • What concern will be addressed and why is it important? • Who will benefit and how? • What specific objectives can be accomplished and how? • How will the results be measured? • How does this funding request relate to the funders purpose, objectives and priorities • Who are we (organization) and how do we qualify to meet this need. http://www.cpb.org/grants/grantwriting.html

  31. Other items for consideration • Statement of Need should include purpose, goals, measurable objectives and a compelling, logical reason why the proposal should be supported. Background provides perspective and shows that you are aware of the existing work. • The HOOK: There are many ways to represent the same idea. However, the HOOK tailors the description of the idea to the interest of a particular funder. The HOOK aligns the project with the purpose, and the goals of the funding source. This is a critical aspect of any proposal narrative because it determines HOW compelling reviewers will perceive your proposal to be. http://www.cpb.org/grants/grantwriting.html

  32. And do it all on one page!! • Background and Significance • Instructions: Draft the Background and Significance section of your proposal within the space provided (one page).

  33. So where are we so far? • Idea Development Process • Making a compelling case • Background and Significance • Goal, Objectives, Activities, Outputs , Outcomes • Experimental Design, Methods and Alternative • Project Evaluation • Budget • Abstract • First Drafts • Final Proposal

  34. LOGIC MODEL 101 Impacts, The Logic Model and Program Evaluation

  35. When we seek public funding… • Funding is being provided as an “investment toward the public good.” This isn’t a gift!! • Funding agencies – federal, state, public, private, - if they fund you, there is an expectation of results – of “Outcomes”or “Impacts”as a result of the funding. If you want a gift – ask your family or friends. • As a recipient of the funding – you have the obligation to do your best to achieve the objectives of the research which will end up in “Outcomes” or “Impacts”. Results are expected.

  36. What is an Outcome or an Impact? • Quantitative, measurable benefits of the research outputs as experienced by those who receive them. • The quantifiable difference a program makes in the quality of life for its clients and general citizenry. • The measurable change in Economic, Social, or Environmental conditions. • The change in understanding within a discipline. Converting an unknown into a known. • The application of real, measurable, positive results of applying your program to meet or resolve a real need as determined by your stakeholders.

  37. Quantify the change which has occurred in one or all… • Economic value or efficiency (use cost/benefits to demonstrate) • Environmental quality or improvement (use net PV benefits). • Societal or individual well being or improvement of quality of life (use facts and figures to evaluate). • Use anecdotes and testimonials to support your case. • If change is in the future, focus on the potential impacts. • Explain in terms of the importance to the real world • Rely on present accomplishments – extrapolate carefully

  38. Examples of Outcomes or Impacts • Adoption of technology – a change in practice • Creation of jobs • Reduced costs to the consumer • Less pesticide exposure to farmers • Access to more nutritious food • A cleaner environment and healthier communities • A change in KASA – knowledge, attitudes, skills, or aspirations • Filling gaps in knowledge, converting “uncertainties” to “certainties”

  39. What aren’t outcomes or impacts…. • Reports, publications, patents, data collected, workshops • A description of the program or process • The data • The general, long range goal • Number of persons attending a meeting • Number of persons enrolled in a program • Number of persons completing a survey THESE ARE “OUTPUTS”

  40. Program Planning, Development and Evaluation • So where are you going? • How will you get there? • What will tell you that you’ve arrived? The Logic Model is your Road Map for planning your program

  41. What is the logic model? • Picture of your program or intervention • Graphical representation of the “theory of action” – what was invested, what was done, and what were the results. • Core of planning and evaluation • Provides a common framework for your work. • Provides a checks/balances while you are doing what you are doing. • Gives you a chance to see the END before you begin.

  42. Do you see the LOGIC behind it? We need to conduct this research so that Scientists and the public understand why the fish are dying so that Decision makers can institute protective land use policies so that People can modify behaviors that damage fish habitat so that Conditions in the stream improve so that Salmon are healthy and abundant. http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/ECOCOMM.NSF/webpage/measuring+environmental+results

  43. To have strong outcomes, you need strong objectives!SMART objectives: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-oriented, Timed

  44. The Logic Model • Key to developing strong programs with measurable outcomes and impacts. • Helps establish a plan to help you be accountable to your stakeholders – those that have invested in your work. • Helps you answer the SO WHAT and WHO CARES and WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY Questions.

  45. Grant Writing Proposal Format • Abstract (one page) (done last) • Background and Significance (one page) • Goal, Objectives, Outputs, Outcomes, and Hypotheses (one page) • Experimental Design and Methods (two pages) • Just five pages total for the narrative (references or other appendices extra)