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Grant Funding For Your RCD Grant Writing Basics About this Presentation This presentation was created to provide a good overview of the grant writing.

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Presentation on theme: "Grant Funding For Your RCD Grant Writing Basics About this Presentation This presentation was created to provide a good overview of the grant writing."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Grant Funding For Your RCD Grant Writing Basics

3 About this Presentation This presentation was created to provide a good overview of the grant writing process and will give you enough information to get started. Remember, the best way to become a proficient proposal writer is to jump in and start writing!

4 RCD Plan Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Tasks (work plan) Budget Evaluation Any funding strategy should be based on your long range strategic plan. Grant proposals should flow easily from your plan. All grant proposals will have a description of the problem (problem statement/needs assessment), goals and objectives related to your problem statement, a work plan to accomplish your goals and objectives, a budget to explain the costs of the project, and an evaluation to gauge the success of the project.

5 Finding Grant Sources Some Common Grant Sources: State, Federal, and local Agencies Foundations To find grant opportunities use: The Internet Internet lists - CALFED, SWRCB, RCD listserve (sign up at the CARCD website), grants.gov for federal grants CARCDgrants.gov CARCDgrants.gov

6 Other Funding Sources Grants are not the only way to get money. Other options include: Developing Fee for Services Programs A fee for service program is when you are paid for a service that you provide (ex. irrigation evaluations, chipper services, etc) This type of activity is allowable under division 9 of the Public Resources Code §9403.5Donations Solicit donations from community members. Donations to RCDs are tax deductible for the donor.Contracts RCDs can develop contracts with counties, cities, or others to perform services.

7 Writing a Grant Proposal

8 Before You Get Started Involve the community and potential funders in the project development Involve the community and potential funders in the project development This can help garner community or funder support This can help garner community or funder support Contact landowners, local government, agencies, & organizations Make sure there is no one who vehemently opposes your project. If so try to involve them and gain their support Make sure there is no one who vehemently opposes your project. If so try to involve them and gain their support

9 More on Getting Ready to Start Make sure everyone involved clearly understands what you want to accomplish. Think about how your project fits into the plans of other state and local agencies. (ex. SWRCB, CALFED, county general plans, etc. It will make your proposal stronger if you can demonstrate you are helping others to accomplish their goals) Think about how your project fits into the plans of other state and local agencies. (ex. SWRCB, CALFED, county general plans, etc. It will make your proposal stronger if you can demonstrate you are helping others to accomplish their goals)

10 Basic Rules of Proposal Writing Follow ALL directions!! Proposal should be brief and easy to read. Be positive! (even if it’s the reality, don’t make statements such as: this program will end without additional funding) Don’t assume your reader is going to know what you mean (reviewers are recruited from a variety of backgrounds and may not have experience with the type of problem you are addressing) Avoid unsupported assumptions (for example, if you make a statement such as “the river is in the worst condition I’ve ever seen” support it with factual evidence such as data, research, etc.) Avoid using acronyms (if you must use them always spell them out first)

11 A Typical Proposal Includes: An Executive Summary A Problem Statement Sometimes called a needs assessment Goals & Objectives Work Plan Sometimes called scope of work, methods, or tasks Evaluation Evaluation Budget Budget

12 The Executive Summary Often the first and last thing a reviewer reads Often the first and last thing a reviewer reads Should be written last Should be written last Should speak for proposal Should speak for proposal Summarizes material of each major portion of the proposal Summarizes material of each major portion of the proposal

13 The Executive Summary The Problem Objectives Who/What will be served by the project Methods (how you will accomplish your objectives) Where the project will take place Tells reviewers about: Project time frame Background of the RCD and project partners Benefits of the project

14 Tips for Creating an Effective Executive Summary Get the reviewer interested by illustrating how your project will address priorities outlined in RFP. Be brief but include enough information to make the reviewer want to read more. Include some information about your organization. Tell the reviewers how the project will be sustained after the grant.

15 RCD Goals Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Tasks Budget Evaluation Your first step in writing a proposal is to identify the problem your project will address. Do this in your problem statement. A request for proposals may identify this section as a needs assessment or something similar.

16 Effective Problem Statements Are: 1. Clearly stated, easy to follow, and supported with evidence. 2. Address a problem in line with the funders mission. 3. Convey a sense of urgency and let the reader know why it is important to address the problem right now.

17 What to Avoid in your Problem Statement Avoid: Circular Problem Statements – problem statements that present the lack of a solution as the problem Not enough or too much detail Not enough or too much detail Not providing supporting evidence – support your problem statements with data, academic research, or other supporting evidence Not providing supporting evidence – support your problem statements with data, academic research, or other supporting evidence Concentrating on organizational needs instead of natural resource needs

18 Avoid Circular Problem Statements Circular: The problem in the watershed is that there is no CRMP group The problem in the watershed is that there is no CRMP group Better alternative: The XYZ Watershed is currently listed by state agency X as a a high priority watershed due to its high levels of mercury. The XYZ Watershed is currently listed by state agency X as a a high priority watershed due to its high levels of mercury. In the first example, the applicant is presenting the lack of a potential solution (a CRMP group) as the problem. In this case the objective would have to be, create a CRMP group, the tasks would be to create a CRMP group, and the performance measure would have to be CRMP group created. While it may be important for this watershed to have a CRMP group, the lack of the CRMP group is not the problem. The second example talks about an actual watershed problem (high levels of mercury).

19 Avoid Problem Statements with: No supporting evidence For Example: We feel strongly that there is a lack of communication in the watershed Better: Study XYZ conducted by University Y in 2006 stated that lack of communication within the Kit River Watershed has impaired efforts to conduct watershed improvement projects. *The first example only provides the applicants opinion. It is not backed up with any evidence and as a result the grant reviewer may not see the importance of the problem. The second example supports the problem statement with a study conducted by a University. The support provided in the second example makes for a more compelling problem statement. A grant reviewer is more likely to award money to an applicant that is addressing an important problem.

20 Avoid: Concentrating on Organizational Needs Example: Our Organization would be better able to address the needs of our watershed with a watershed coordinator. Better: Our watershed is listed by state agency X as an impaired watershed. However, the source of the contaminants is uncertain. A watershed coordinator position would be used to develop a citizen water quality monitoring program to pinpoint the locations of pollutants. * Agencies and organizations that are providing grants do NOT care about your organizations needs. They are trying to address an issue that is important to them (outlined in the RFP) and will fund organizations that are capable of addressing the issue. Remember to focus on the natural resource issue that the funding agency wants to address.

21 Goals & Objectives The difference between Goals and Objectives A Goal is a higher level accomplishment. An every day example of a goal might be to improve your health. Associated objectives would be to lose weight and get more sleep. Objectives describe the problem related outcomes of your program

22 Objectives continued Don’t confuse methods with objectives (means and ends) For example, an objective might be to lose weight. Tasks to accomplish that objective might be to exercise and eat less.

23 Goals & Objectives Problem Statement Tasks Budget Evaluation RCD Plan Your project Goals and Objectives should flow naturally from your Problem Statement. Even though they are similar, goals and objectives are different.

24 Goals & Objectives The difference between Goals and Objectives A Goal is a higher level accomplishment. An every day example of a goal might be to improve your health. Associated objectives would be to lose weight and get more sleep. Objectives describe the problem related outcomes of your program

25 Objectives continued Don’t confuse methods with objectives (means and ends) For example, an objective might be to lose weight. Tasks to accomplish that objective might be to exercise and eat less.

26 RCD Plan Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Tasks (Work Plan/Methods/Scope of Work) Budget Evaluation

27 The Work Plan: Clearly describes project activities Clearly describes project activities Justifies the selection of the activities Justifies the selection of the activities Describes sequence of activities Describes sequence of activities Is realistic and could be achieved in the time frame of the grant. Is realistic and could be achieved in the time frame of the grant.

28 Partnerships

29 Why Develop Partnerships? Partnerships allow RCDs and other organizations to: Share limited resources (personnel and equipment) Meet match requirements for many types of grants Division 9 of the Public Resource Code encourages individual RCDs to form partnerships to address resource issues of local concern (refer to Section 9408)

30 Tips on Finding Partners Talk to community groups and learn their positions on key issues. Find out their views about your issues. Create a list of key contacts that share your goals and interests. Involve partners that will benefit from being involved with your project. Reciprocate with your involvement in their projects.

31 Traditional RCD Partnerships NRCS Provides technical assistance and acts as a federal liaison Formal relationship develop through MOUs with RCDs CARCD / NACD State and national advocates of public policy Coordinate and support RCD activities Ca Department of Conservation (DOC) Provides training and technical support on Division 9 Financial assistance via watershed coordinator grant program

32 New Partnerships Form working partnerships with agencies and organizations in your district BLM / USFS / Farm Bureau County/city government County/city government Non-profits and other groups Boy Scouts Boy Scouts Local colleges/universities Local colleges/universities CRMP groups CRMP groups Native American tribes Native American tribes

33 Support Letters Support Letters Support letters should reflect: Knowledge of the applicants work Knowledge and involvement with the project being endorsed. Commitment of assistance if funding is awarded. Address letter to grantor, avoid statements like “To Whom It May Concern” Brevity is a virtue; rhetoric is poor conservation practice Limit the number of support letters attached to the proposal (reviewers will only have time to glance at them) and be sure they are truly supporting

34 Budget Tasks Goals & Objectives Problem Statement RCD Plan The Evaluation

35 Critical Budget Points Read the Request for Proposal/Grant Application/Notice of Funding Availability, etc. (RFP/RFGA/NOFA) Follow all directions If you don’t understand – Ask Include everything that is required Better to provide more information, than not enough The budget must “speak for itself” Check your numbers for accuracy and reasonableness Make it easy to read: Neat, clean, legible, and organized

36 The Initial Process The budget must support the goals and objectives of the application or proposal. Comprehensive and reasonable. Do not construct the budget in a vacuum get input from coworkers and partners. Gather any necessary data. Support and/or commitment letters Cost estimates (quotes, bids, agreements, etc.)

37 Match Requirement Match helps demonstrate local support for the project Can usually be provided as Cash or in-kind contributions Frequently calculated using following formula: Local Match Requirement is 25% Total Budget Amount = Grantor (75%) + Local Match (25%) 202,400 = 151, , ,400 = 151, ,600

38 Local Match Not all grants mandate that an applicant provide matching funds Cash – liquid asset such as cash or monies in a bank account. RCD must be the one spending the funds. In-kind – volunteer’s time, donations, use of equipment or facilities, and services provided at no charge. Cash vs. In-kind example – If you go into a store with a partner and the partner gives you a $1 to buy a cookie the $1 would be considered a cash contribution. If the partner buys the cookie and then gives it to you, it would be considered an in-kind contribution. Likewise if the partner bakes the cookie for you or lets you use his oven to bake cookies, it would be considered an in-kind contribution.

39 Guidelines for Local Match Continued Local Match must be: Able to withstand scrutiny of an audit Reasonable and measurable Sufficiently documented – document with sign- in rosters (for volunteer match), receipts, logs, etc. Used to support the project Meet the criteria for inclusion in the budget. Request for Grant Proposals from state agencies will frequently not allow state money to be used as match.

40 Finally When Creating Your Budget Check your math! Make sure all the numbers add up. Have someone unfamiliar with the budget check it for: ClarityCompletenessAccuracy Sufficient detail

41 Evaluation RCD Plan Problem Statement Goals & Objectives Tasks Budget Most grant proposal requests will require some form of an evaluation. A well designed evaluation can be useful to both the grantee and grantor to assess the success of the project, improve project design, and publicize the good work accomplished.

42 Benefits of the Evaluation Measurement of success Measurement of success Results can be used to design future projects and could be useful as a public relations tool. Project management tool Project management tool If you conduct evaluations throughout the project you will be able to spot problems and make adjustments as necessary, which may result in a more successful project.

43 The Evaluation Section Should include: Performance measures for each objective Performance measures for each objective Performance measures allow you to assess the success of each objective separately Plans to collect and analyze data Plans to collect and analyze data The evaluation should let the reader know how you plan to collect and analyze data. Make sure you include enough detail to give the reader a clear picture of how you plan to conduct the evaluation. Description of how data will be used Description of how data will be used Include a brief description of how you plan to use and/or share the data. For instance, if you plan to create a report or conduct a workshop to present the data, make sure you mention that in your proposal.  Don’t forget to include evaluation activities in work plan and the budget

44 The Future Keeping your project going or building on what you have accomplished.

45 Planning Ahead Avoid becoming too dependant on one funding source. Diversify your funding sources through grants from a variety of entities (state, federal, private), donations, fee for service programs, and more. It is a good idea to explain in your grant proposals how you plan to obtain subsequent funding and name some potential sources (ex. Community support, fundraisers, etc)

46 Additional Things to Consider Presentation Presentation Bullets can help make your proposal easier to read. Bullets can help make your proposal easier to read. Putting borders around important points can help get your point across. Putting borders around important points can help get your point across. Pictures can help you emphasize the need for the project. Pictures can help you emphasize the need for the project. Attachments Attachments Limit attachments to only what is requested by the RFP. If you must include more, make sure they are relevant to the proposal. Don’t rely on attachments to get your point across. Reviewers are not likely to spend a lot of time reading attachments. Signatures Signatures Make sure your proposal includes all required signatures!

47 Key Points Base projects and grant applications on your long range plan Base projects and grant applications on your long range plan Know your funders Know your funders Make sure you understand who is offering the grant money and what they want to accomplish. Develop strong partnerships Develop strong partnerships Don’t Give Up! Don’t Give Up!

48 Remember… There will always be winners and losers. Do not become discouraged. Do not become discouraged. Continue applying. Without submitting an application, you are guaranteed not to be selected!


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