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THE NUTS & BOLTS OF EFFECTIVE GRANT WRITING Kern Grant Summit January 30, 2015 Presented By: Stephen L. Sanders Chief of Staff Kern County Superintendent.

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Presentation on theme: "THE NUTS & BOLTS OF EFFECTIVE GRANT WRITING Kern Grant Summit January 30, 2015 Presented By: Stephen L. Sanders Chief of Staff Kern County Superintendent."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE NUTS & BOLTS OF EFFECTIVE GRANT WRITING Kern Grant Summit January 30, 2015 Presented By: Stephen L. Sanders Chief of Staff Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office

2 Today’s Presentation 1. Importance of Mission 2. Type of grants 3. How to position an organization to obtain grants 4. “Nuts & Bolts” of effective grant writing 5. Tips & Suggestions 6. Resources / Questions & Answers

3 Why Start With “Mission”? Everything you do as a staff and board of directors should be focused on fulfilling your mission – the ‘soul’ of your organization Effective leaders point to a clear sense of mission and the discipline to carry out that mission as paramount to success A focus on mission helps avoid the biggest death trap for nonprofits – the chase for money and a willingness to “sell your soul”

4 Common Types of Grants 1. Planning Grants: research, data collection, planning 2. Seed $ / Venture Grants: Initial funding to get a project going 3. Management / TA Grants: Usually consultant time and support to further a NPO’s mission 4. Capital Grants: Equipment, buildings 5. Program Grants: $ to operate a program or service 6. Operational (Core) Grants: Support core operations, infrastructure, unrestricted program use

5 How Are Grants Made Available? RELATIONSHIPS – Invitation to Apply Request for Proposals (RFP) Open Grant Cycle Announced via websites, bulletins Letter of Intent generates interest As part of a community initiative Sponsorships (Corporate)

6 Four Factors to Successful Grant Writing 1. The quality of the nonprofit organization and its programs (reputation & effectiveness) 2. The critical importance of the project (need) and the innovative nature of the proposed services in addressing the need 3. The appropriateness of the funding source and competition levels 4. The skills of the grant writer in making a succinct, compelling case with measurable results

7 Is My Organization Ready for Grants? Are our mission, purpose and goals well established? Do we plan strategically? Do we have solid financial procedures in place to track and monitor funds? Do we have the staff and expertise needed to do what we promise? Are we willing and able to jump through the funders “hoops” to fulfill our contract? Have we talked to clients, board and other stakeholders about our proposed work? Does our mission align with this funding opportunity?

8 Know Yourself & The Funder  Can we collaborate with other organizations to make our proposal more complete?  Are we duplicating other efforts in the community?  Can our project be sustained beyond the current level of funding / grant cycle?  Is our budget realistic and have we set our proposed project up for success? Do we have measurable outcomes?  Is the funder interested in our issue? Do they fund in our area?

9 Criteria for Seeking Potential Funders 1. Mission of the funder a. Web sites, brochures, annual reports 2. Funder’s Program Focus a. Watch for shifting priorities b. Research who they have funded in the past 3. Geographic Areas of Support a. Always start local and move outwards to state and then federal b. Always be aware of geographic limitations 4. Understand the funder’s budget & assets 5. Develop long-term relationships 6. Measure results & be open and honest about success

10 Grant Writing – Getting Started  Choose a coordinator / point person  Decide early who needs to be involved  Assign tasks and set deadlines  Include fiscal staff from the start (have an idea of budget before you start developing your plans)  Look for things to gather right away (board resolutions, letters of support, IRS letter of determination)  Develop a draft proposal early and have someone from outside the agency read it  Plan to finish the proposal early

11 Key Documents to Always Have On Hand Make sure the following are updated frequently: Background / history of the organization Past accomplishments, data News coverage, awards, recent successes Statistics / needs statements List of current board of directors Audit / most recent financial statements IRS Letter of Determination Staff job descriptions / resumes

12 Parts of a Typical Proposal 1. Executive Summary / Abstract 2. Introduction / Organization Background Info 3. Needs Statement (Problem Statement) 4. Project Description / Program Proposal 5. Goals & Objectives (Logic Model) 6. Evaluation Plan 7. Future Funding (Sustainability) 8. Budget & Budget Narrative

13 Essential Elements: Needs Statement Presents the case for support to a funder and is the foundation of your proposal. Present evidence / data that supports the need (emphasize community needs vs. organizational needs) Explain how you will solve the problem in innovative and proven ways Explain why your organization is uniquely positioned to address the need Explain who will benefit from your service and how you will measure success

14 Practical Tips for Needs Statements Use statistics that are clear and support your ask (data must be relevant) Any assertions about need should be well documented and accurate Quote authorities but back it up Limited anecdotal stories add human touch but use sparingly Give a clear sense of urgency to your ask Need must have a clear relationship to your organization’s mission / purpose

15 Some Data Sources www.factfinder2.census.org (US Census Bureau)www.factfinder2.census.org Ed Data www.ed-data.k12.ca.us (education- related data)www.ed-data.k12.ca.us KC Network for Children Report Card www.kcnc.org www.kcnc.org KidsData.org - http://kidsdata.orghttp://kidsdata.org

16 Essential Elements: Project Description Detail regarding the proposed project / program including background, detail and proposed outcomes Explain how the proposed project will address the needs outlined in the needs statement Explain collaborations / partnerships that are key in making the proposed project a success Identify organizational and staffing capacity

17 Essential Elements: Goals & Objectives Goals & Objectives and the strategies to meet them are vital to your proposal GOALS: broad, brief statements of intent that provide focus or vision for planning; a focus of accomplishment “All children in Kern County will be born healthy” OBJECTIVES: are meant to be realistic targets for the program / project – precise, measurable and timebound “By 2015, 20% more women in Kern County will receive comprehensive prenatal care.”

18 Goals & Objectives GOALSOBJECTIVES BroadNarrow General intentionsSpecific / Precise intentions IntangibleTangible / measurable AbstractConcrete Cannot be validated as isCan be validated

19 Goals & Objectives Develop SMART Objectives: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-bound Build costs of evaluation into your proposal Be honest with funders about results and use them to improve services

20 Goals & Objectives When writing objectives, answer 5 key questions: 1. What key areas are you trying to change? 2. Who will be impacted by the services? 3. What is the direction (+ or -) of change you hope to achieve? 4. What is the degree of change you are seeking? 5. What is the time frame for that change?

21 Essential Elements: Evaluation “If you can measure it, you can fix it.” (Gene Voiland) Evaluation is all about measuring the return on investment The better you demonstrate results, the more funding you’ll attract Make sure you have the expertise needed to adequately measure results Use results for program improvement in addition to attracting new funding Build evaluation costs into grant proposals

22 Essential Elements: Budget & Budget Narrative Make sure you understand the type of budget requested by the funder: 1. Overall Agency Budget: covers the budget for the entire organization 2. Program / Project Budget: Covers revenue and expenses for the specific program 3. In-kind / Cash Match: Identifies cash or in-kind match 4. Budget Narrative: Explains the numbers on the budget in more detail in narrative form

23 Essential Elements: Budgets Start with a realistic budget that is honest about projected revenue and expenses Most Budgets include following major categories: Personnel (salaries and benefits) Professional Services (contracts, outsourcing) Equipment Supplies Overhead (utilities, rent, phones) Travel / professional development Outreach Make sure to explain any unusual items

24 Budgets – Food for Thought Start grant proposals with a draft budget so you know what your capacity is Never “pad” your budget in hopes of getting more – be open and honest about projections Always be able to justify your numbers Make sure the budget is aligned with your proposed program and activities Double-check your math!

25 Grant writers must convince funders of: 1. The credibility of your organization 2. A program description that outlines the need for the proposed project 3. That there is sufficient community interest in the program and the proposed outcomes 4. Your ability to measure its success in real ways 5. The costs and projected revenue sources 6. Why you believe this funder’s interests may be met by investing in the project What is the return on investment?

26 Questions / Tips From the Audience Next Up: Judy Ceresa, Grants.gov


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