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Presentation on theme: "GRANT WRITING BASICS & BUILDING COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS Joe Tomaka, Ph.D. The University of Texas at El Paso."— Presentation transcript:


2 About me: Ph.D SUNY Buffalo Social and Health Psychology Research: Stress, coping, and Health Health interventions (alcohol, PA, smoking) Grant Experience 9 Extramural Awards NIH, SAMHSA, PDNHF, THECB Over $3M in total costs Written more than three times that number of proposals Instructor for Grant Writing for last 5 years

3 Two Topics Grant Writing Basics 85% Building Community Partnerships 25%

4 Grant Writing Basics: Ten Lessons in Humility

5 Why write a grant proposal? Grants can help you do a lot of things: Advance scientific knowledge Support training activities for students and staff Expand opportunities for educating students and clinicians Enhance the prestige of your company or institution Advance your professional career Develop and implement a health promotion project Provide needed HP services to the community Because someone said you had to

6 Lesson 1: Grant writing involves a lot of terminology

7 Grants and Grantsmanship Grant A mechanism by which an agency awards money to fund a research study, educational program, service program or demonstration project. Proposal Completed grant application Document where you propose to carry out an idea... given some sweet moolah ($) Grantsmanship Knowledge and skills necessary to put complete a grant proposal Part technical skill, part Art, part opportunity, part luck

8 Types of People and Agencies Granting Agency/Grantor The agency that asks for and receives grant applications Gives money to projects it deems worthy Typically either: A division of government (local, state, or federal) A foundation (usually private) Applicant/Grantee The person/agency who writes the proposal and hopes to receive money YOU!!!

9 Types of Grants Research Grants Funds to support specific research projects Education and Training Funds to support the education and training of individuals (students), typically in specific fields of study *Demonstration Projects* Funds to develop, implement, and evaluate new, innovative programs Funds to implement and evaluate existing Model Programs or Best Practices

10 Other Common Terms in Grantsmanship Call for Proposals (CFP) Request for Proposals (RFP); Request for Applications (RFA); Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)... Public notice of an opportunity for $$$ Provides details of the request Refers you to further instructions

11 Common Terms... Principal Investigator/Project Director Leader or person in responsible Directs the grant proposal writing process and usually the project itself, if funded Program Officer/Project Officer Person at the Agency who directs a funding opportunity Creates and distributes the Call for Proposals Provides technical assistance to applicants Coordinates review of the proposals Makes the award recommendations Answers your questions Slacks off the other four days of the work week E.g., Enrique Mata at PDNHF

12 Common Terms... Reviewers/Peer-review panel People who review and score proposals Make recommendations for funding Usually dont decide which ones will be funded Committee (Government Agency) Board of Directors (Private Foundation) Probably many more term that Im forgetting...

13 Lesson 2: You need to find a source of funds

14 Four Major Sources of Funding: Federal Agencies (NIH, SAMSHA, CDC, DOE) Private Foundations (PDNHF, RWJF, Hogg, Komen) Professional Organizations (AHA, ADA) Private Industry (Walmart, Phizer) Where do you find them? Agency websites and distribution lists, Grants.Gov, Federal Register, How do you find them? Search the internet

15 Lesson 3: You need to develop an idea for funding

16 Developing the idea: The hard part? Some: May have a terrific idea for a new exciting program or research project Some: May have an existing program that you wish to fund However... Funding agencies usually not excited by this So Need to spin it, tweak it, improve it, expand it Make it NEW, INTERESTING, and EXCITING to funders Funders usually want to support novel, interesting, and exciting ideas

17 Lesson 4: You need to match your idea to the funders needs/ desires/ preferences Also need to see what the funder wants/is looking for with the announcement You may have the greatest diabetes self-management program in the world, HOWEVER.... doesnt stand a chance if funder is looking for smoking prevention or obesity reduction The idea is not totally up to you...

18 Lesson 5: Getting to know you...

19 Get to know your Program/Project Officer Once youve identified an opportunity (CFA, CFP, PA)... Once youve formulated an idea... Contact your Program/Project Officer Discuss the idea with him/her Ask questions Get feedback And most importantly...

20 Most Importantly... Do what he/she tells you to do Says: Were not funding smoking cessation right now Dont write a grant to help people quit smoking Says: Were looking for innovative approaches to physical activity promotion Reply: Thats what were developing! A good idea (AKA a fundable idea) is often a collaboration between a grantee and a grantor

21 Lesson 6: Follow instructions

22 Five suggestions for following instructions: Follow the application instructions!

23 Follow Instructions at Several Levels: Reading the instructions that come with the application packet General instructions Supplemental/specific instructions Even the minutia is important Page and word limits, font size, sections/topics, budget restrictions... Your Project Officers suggestions

24 Lesson 7: Yes, it does involve writing

25 Know that the written word sends a message: As a grant writer: Grant reviewers will evaluate your proposal based in part on how well the proposal is written How a proposal is written reflects your competency and ability to carry out the proposed project As professionals in the community: People will evaluate you (and respect you) based on your ability to write Will they think of you as educated, conscientious, careful? Or think of you as _________?

26 Good News and Bad News Bad News: For many, writing is a difficult, hard work To improve, you have to make a commitment to improve and work hard at it Good News: Poor writing is a curable disease!!! Writing Is a skill that can be developed and improved

27 How to go about Improving your writing Expect to write multiple drafts Improvement in writing comes about only through continual writing, critique, and rewriting. True for even simple documents (cover letters, Personal Statements) This can be painful for anyone who likes to think of him/herself as smart

28 Improving your writing Have someone review your work Criticism can be painful, but its always better after Pick someone who is a good writer Remember your task is conveying complicated information to an audience Use simple and plain language Dont assume the reader knows what you are talking about Write so that your mother could understand it Good writing is like good teaching (Bem) Lead the reader Tell a story

29 Other advice for ensurin your proposal is wrote good: You should: Use complete sentences with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation Make sure the proposal is well-organized Follow the organization provided and expected by the Funding agency Use plain and simple language The more you TRY to sound smart, the dumber youll sound Write so that your mother could understand it

30 More ad-vice for good writin: You should: Sell yourself and the idea Should present a compelling case Convince the agency to support the idea Form of persuasion Good arguments, etc. Grant Proposals are not the place for modesty Know that technical writing can be dull, but it doesnt have to be

31 You should also: The best $10 youll ever spend 100 pages long Guide to Grammar & Style

32 Lesson 8: Putting together a budget

33 Sweet Moolah Read and follow the instructions Know the limits Find out about Facilities and Administrative allowances (overhead) Research your home agency rules Overhead rates Salary limits Milage reimbursement

34 General Budget Considerations Is the budget practical and realistic? Is the budget appropriate? Have I asked for the correct amount of money? Asking for too much or too little can hurt your chances for funding Does the budget cover all anticipated costs? Sometimes requires a crystal ball

35 Lesson 9: Know that youre not alone!

36 Build a Grant Writing Team Recruit your colleagues and friends Assign them tasks Choose people with different skills Budget Editing Library Research Soliciting letters Break up the work

37 However: Someone has to make sure that the whole package paints a consistent picture Charles, or someone equally capable, needs to be in charge Pick up the slack where others may fail to meet obligations or expectations Usually PI or PD

38 Lesson 10: Develop a thick skin

39 The Funding Environment: Is very difficult and extremely competitive Only a small percentage of proposals are funded 5-15% of applicants Dont take rejection personally Youre the norm! Read the reviews carefully Be willing to revise and resubmit

40 Building Community Partnerships: Lessons from a hermit

41 Building Community Partnerships How to get a partner ASK! Partnerships between agencies Partnerships with University faculty 65 th District Court, YMCA, Echelon Group, YWCA... Have realistic expectations Most people have limited grant writing experience Do some research, find an expert E.g., Rita Arnett E.g., Program Evaluators

42 Treat your partners well Too often: Agency works with an faculty member or an evaluator to produce a fundable proposal The agency receives an award The agency wants to diminish or eliminate the partner Greater control over the evaluation itself Greater control over the evaluation budget Diminishes the enthusiasm to work together Everyone loses

43 Partnerships are just that... Partnerships with mutual respect, Partnerships with equality, and Partnerships where all have active roles...Produce the best outcomes Foster a collaborative environment Prevent misunderstandings Allow for program improvement and better service delivery Benefits everyone, including the people we are hoping to serve!

44 Acknowledgements: Hispanic Health Disparities Research Center Students whove endured my Grant Writing class Gitlin &Lyons (2008), Successful Grant Writing Sequel to 2004s: Unsuccessful Grant Writing

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