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Diana Bowman – Mike Howard Dee Dee Wright – Tricia Fries M AKING G RANT P ROPOSALS C OMPETITIVE NAEHCY 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Diana Bowman – Mike Howard Dee Dee Wright – Tricia Fries M AKING G RANT P ROPOSALS C OMPETITIVE NAEHCY 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Diana Bowman – Mike Howard Dee Dee Wright – Tricia Fries M AKING G RANT P ROPOSALS C OMPETITIVE NAEHCY 2010

2 Slide 2 P URPOSE Provide guidance in developing strong proposals for small grants from community, nonprofit, or corporate funders.

3 Slide 3 R OAD M AP FOR T ODAY Is your idea fundable?  Understanding funder priorities  Analyzing the solicitation  Describing a strong approach Is your proposal fundable?  Crafting a readable proposal  Putting yourself in the shoes of a reviewer Tips for local school districts seeking funding

4 Slide 4 K EY P OINT #1 Most funding sources do not consider themselves as charities – handing out money for worthy causes. Rather, they consider awarding a grant as an investment in an idea that is likely to achieve tangible results in an area they consider important.

5 Slide 5 Y OUR P ROPOSAL ’ S J OB IS TO A SSURE THE FUNDER THAT :  You understand their interests and priorities  Their money will meet a real need related to their interests and priorities  You are experienced, credible, and can do what you say you’ll do  You have a clear focus on results; they will get “bang for their bucks”  You are fiscally responsible; their money will be spent well

6 Slide 6 A NALYZING THE SOLICITATION : “G O OR N O G O ?” What “green lights” or “red flags” did you see in the solicitation?  Funding focus and priorities  Eligible applicants, eligibility criteria  Allowable/unallowable uses of funds  Application process

7 Slide 7 S HOULD YOU APPLY ?  Is your agency eligible?  Will a grant that aligns with their funding priorities meet your needs?  Can you meet the requirements of the application, e.g., a funding match, volunteers?  Will you have sufficient support to manage the grant? Beware of Mission Creep!

8 Slide 8 D EVELOPING A S TRONG I DEA A fundable idea:  Addresses one or more priorities of the funder  Addresses a significant, clearly-identified need or problem  Is focused on the results and benefits to be achieved, not on the activities to be done  Has a detailed, specific plan  Includes ways to measure success  Has clear and logical alignment of all of the above

9 Slide 9 A RTICULATING THE N EED  Problem statement that relates to funder priorities  Based on data, not rhetoric – focus on local data  Visual and understandable (tables, graphs, charts)  Include only what’s most important; avoid “data overload”  Show the gap between “what is” & “what should be”  Provide context  Describe challenges, but be positive about potential  Only discuss needs that your project will actually do something to address.

10 Slide 10 P ROJECT O BJECTIVES  Results that beneficiaries will exhibit, not activities that the project will carry out  Clearly connected to the needs – by meeting its objectives, the project will reduce the gap described between “what is” and “what should be”  Concrete, realistic, achievable  Can be measured credibly and reliably

11 Slide 11 I DENTIFY THE A PPROPRIATE O BJECTIVE S TATEMENT ( S )  Objective 1: Set up three computers with reading and math tutoring software at the Pathways Shelter for middle school students.  Objective 2: Ninety percent of the middle school students who participate will demon- strate increased achievement in reading and mathematics.  Objective 3: Increase the number of participat- ing middle school students who go on to enroll in advanced mathematics courses in high school.

12 Slide 12 P ROJECT A CTIVITIES  Focus on obtaining the results stated in the project objectives  Specific plan – who, what, when, where. Can the funder tell how the money will be used?  Project management, personnel, and partners. Does the project have the capacity (experience, expertise, time commitment) to execute its plan in a quality manner?

13 Logic Map Thinking For information on logic models, download the Logic Model Development Guide from W.K. Kellogg Foundation,

14 Slide 14 P ROJECT EVALUATION  How will you know if your activities are having the desired results, if you are making the expected progress?  Directly linked to project objectives – evaluation is the measurement of the results listed in the objectives.  Describe what data will be collected, when, and who will do it.  What data will be used to keep the project on-track (formative evaluation)?

15 Slide 15 B UDGET  Itemized, detailed budget (including explana- tion of how calculated figures were obtained)  All budget items are explicitly connected to project activities  All expenses are allowable in the funding guidelines  Costs are reasonable; no “padding”  Include and explain any other support for the project (in-kind or matching funds)

16 Slide 16 K EY P OINT #2 A principal mark of a fundable idea is its alignment. All components that will go into the proposal: funder priorities identification of local need project objectives project activities evaluation budget – are connected in a clear and logical manner.

17 Slide 17 W RITING THE P ROPOSAL It’s all about communication:  Describing your approach clearly and concretely  Making your proposal readable

18 Slide 18 W RITING THE P ROPOSAL It’s all about persuasion:  Your outcomes are the funder’s outcomes; your agency is committed and excited about achieving them – your proposal should have SPARK!  Your program is well-conceived, doable, and will achieve the expected results.  Your staff has excellent qualifications and will get the job done efficiently and effectively.  The funds will be managed carefully and used wisely Your task is to give the funder confidence that their investment in your idea is a wise one that is likely to pay off in important ways.

19 Slide 19 W RITING THE P ROPOSAL AND ULTIMATELY... It’s all about the reviewers:  Recognizing their challenges  Making sure they understand  Making their job easier (or at least not ticking them off)

20 Slide 20 K EY P OINT #3 A grant proposal is not meant to be great literature. Its purpose is twofold: to communicate your idea clearly and concisely; and to persuade the funder to invest in your idea. The proposal should be written with the reviewer in mind, doing everything possible to help the review process go smoothly and efficiently.

21 Slide 21 H ELPING THE R EVIEWERS U NDERSTAND Y OUR I DEA  Keep language simple and direct; reviewers won’t take time to figure out what you’re trying to say  Avoid jargon; explain all terms and abbreviations someone outside of your field may not know  Include tables, diagrams, etc. to help convey information visually  Include all critical information in the proposal; don’t assume they will look at appendices

22 Slide 22 M AKING THE R EVIEWERS ’ J OB E ASIER  Follow the organization given in the guidelines  Use section headers and summaries to keep the reader focused and aid navigation  If guidelines discuss specific criteria that reviewers will rate in each section, be sure those things are easy to locate.  Use 10 pt font size or (preferably) greater; use white space for visual comfort  In longer proposals, include a table of contents, showing where major sections are located

23 Slide 23 W RITE WELL  Review all page and formatting requirements and stick to them  Check for grammatical or spelling errors  Review for accuracy of data – numbers, figures, percentages  Use short, direct sentences; active voice  Avoid sentimentality, dramatic pleas, grandiose claims, vague generalizations

24 Slide 24 I T M ATTERS H OW Y OU S AY I T Subtext: The intangible impression that the reader gets, based on how you write.

25 Slide 25 S UBTEXT : D O THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ’ RE DOING ?  We have thought through the activities, made sure they are aligned with the needs and objectives, and know what will be done each step of the project. VS.  Some of the details are fuzzy, but “flexibility” is a good thing. Trust us, we know what we’re doing and everything will fall into place.

26 Slide 26 S UBTEXT : H OW CONFIDENT ARE THEY IN THEIR IDEA ?  We know our field – the research, what has worked in other places, what needs to be “tweaked” for our local context. We know the activities will yield important results that address the needs we’ve targeted. VS.  We hope that doing these activities will do some good, but we’re not sure. Anyway, our needs are so great that this is just a drop in the bucket.

27 Slide 27 S UBTEXT : D O THEY REALLY WANT TO WORK WITH US ?  We are excited about your grant opportunity and feel our idea really matches your interests. We have studied the solicitation and are making sure to provide the information requested in the proper format. VS.  This is the fifth time I’ve tried to get this idea funded, and I’m not wasting time writing a new version; here’s a rehashed version of the proposal I’ve sent to others.

28 Slide 28 B EWARE OF “R ED F LAG ” P HRASES  “It is clear that...”  “Research has proven that...”  “We hope that...”  “We will make every effort to...”  “Specific planning for Year 2 will take place as we analyze lessons learned in Year 1...  TBD (“to be determined”)  “... pending administrative approval...”

29 Slide 29 D EALING WITH REJECTION  Don’t take it personally  Send a thank you note anyway  Request reviewer comments  Ask funding official for suggestions  Make improvements and try again, with the same or different funder It’s always a learning experience!

30 Slide 30 C ONTACTS  Diana Bowman, NCHE, Greensboro (NC),  Michael Howard, Educational Consultant, Greensboro (NC),  Tricia Fries, Project Connect, Cincinnati (OH),  Dee Dee Wright, HEARTH Specialist, Polk Co. (FL),

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