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GETTING GOOD AT GRANTS a.k.a. ~ Quit Wasting Your Time!

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Presentation on theme: "GETTING GOOD AT GRANTS a.k.a. ~ Quit Wasting Your Time!"— Presentation transcript:

1 GETTING GOOD AT GRANTS a.k.a. ~ Quit Wasting Your Time!

2 Our Goals for Today Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Highlight Good Habits and Better Systems  Internalize What The Experts Tell Us  Create A Better Sense of “The Plan”  Raise Your Comfort Level 2

3 The Agenda Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Grant Seeker’s Top 10  From the Proverbial Horse’s Mouth  Lunch  Let’s Write!  Your Plan 3

4 Learning Management Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Break times and lunch  Restrooms and so forth  Quiet those dastardly cell phones  Minimize side conversations  Challenge appropriately  If you hear it more than once, consider it emphasis  Enjoy the day!  NETWORKING 101: Who is here?? 4

5 Get Your Head in the Game  Take out a piece of paper  Answer these three questions: 1. What do I need to find funding for? 2. What is one specific program/activity I can FOCUS my thinking on today? 3. Why is this program necessary? (What is the need, what will it accomplish?) Robin Lynn Grinnell - 5

6 Grant Seeker’s Top 10 1. Understand What You Need 2. Allocate Time – and Stick To It 3. Research, Research, Research 4. Initiate (or continue) Relationships 5. Review What’s Already Been Done 6. Assemble Your Team 7. Follow the Directions 8. Communicate Broadly 9. Double Check Everything 10. Learn From Your Mistakes Robin Lynn Grinnell - 6

7 1. Understand What You Need  How much money do you need for this particular grant/project?  How much of your annual budget comes from grant funding?  What role do grants play in your overall fund development plan/strategies?  What current environmental factors are going to impact your chance for success?  Are grants the right source of funding for you to pursue? Robin Lynn Grinnell - 7

8 2. Allocate Time and Stick To It  Determine the amount of time you should invest in grant seeking (research, writing, relationship development)  Let’s work through a formula here…  Build that time into your schedule on an ongoing basis – if raising the money is non-negotiable, the time you need to do your work well should hold equal priority Robin Lynn Grinnell - 8

9 2. Allocate Time – Part II  Develop a strategy to manage all members of your grant writing team in a cohesive manner  Create a submission timeline, and stick to it!  Due Date  At least three days prior: proposal complete and ready to mail  One week prior: proposal to review team for final review  Two weeks prior: draft review; financial review; internal communication for alignment and input Robin Lynn Grinnell - 9

10 3. Research, Research, Research Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Mission alignment - PARAMOUNT  Geography and other considerations  Timing  This is where you should spend MOST of your time. 10

11 Locating Government Grants Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Michigan EGrants -,1607,7-202- 41337_45826---,00.html,1607,7-202- 41337_45826---,00.html  Economic Stimulus -  Federal Grants –  MSU Cooperating Collection  11

12 Locating Foundations Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Council of Michigan Foundations Grantseeker Resources  D=516&DID=2541 D=516&DID=2541  The Foundation Center   MSU Cooperating Collection  12

13 Things to look for: Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Annual Report(s)  Current and past grantees  990-PFs  Current/Recent Funding Guidelines  Even if they’re outdated, they can give you a framework from which to work  Name of a Program Officer  Summaries, Abstracts, or examples of great proposals ( 13

14 Foundation Support for Grantseekers Robin Lynn Grinnell - C.S. Mott Foundation   Includes samples of all forms that grantees may have to submit W.K. Kellogg Foundation Knowledge Center  landing.aspx landing.aspx  Includes toolkits for communications, evaluation and policy 14

15 4. Initiate ( or continue ) Relationships  Call potential funders and make a friend – be nice to the person who answers the phone!  Ask to speak to a program officer with specific questions (no fishing expeditions, please)  Ask for 10 minutes to share the outline of your idea and gather opinions on relevance and fundability  Ask for recommendations of resources for you to review  Ask for evaluation reports and/or other resources recommended by this particular funder to inform your planning and program development Robin Lynn Grinnell - 15

16 5. Review What’s Already Been Done  Review previous proposal submissions from your organization – GOOD AND BAD  Make notes  Review successfully funded proposals from other organizations  Make notes  Gather existing data in centralized files (org history, evaluation frameworks, etc)  Find the info for your other appendices Robin Lynn Grinnell - 16

17 6. Assemble Your Team  Successful proposal writing is not a one-person job  Financial  Evaluation  Human Resources  External partners/collaborators  Legal (to review for liability and external contracts)  Program experts  Other (service recipients, affected constituencies) Robin Lynn Grinnell - 17

18 7. Follow the Directions  Seriously. Follow the Directions.  Recognize that everybody’s directions are slightly different. Robin Lynn Grinnell - 18

19 8. Communicate Broadly  Let others in your organization know you’re applying – check against fund development plan  Ask for ideas and input  Give key personnel (finance, evaluation, communications) a heads up – and block time on their calendar for participation  Engage your constituents – focus group for program design; board members for collaboration or support, etc. Robin Lynn Grinnell - 19

20 9. Double Check Everything  ONE chance to make a good first impression  Spell check; grammar check  Double check against application guidelines and specifications  Have finance people check your numbers  Have someone UNRELATED read your proposal to see if it makes sense  Have someone who knows the business read your proposal for accuracy and reality Robin Lynn Grinnell - 20

21 10. Learn From Your Mistakes  Don’t “mildly amend” an old proposal that was unsuccessful  Ask funders for feedback on proposals that were declined and heed their advice  Include organizational learnings as part of the documented need, program design, etc. - funders like programs who are honest enough to own up to mistakes, and who can demonstrate they LEARN from them Robin Lynn Grinnell - 21

22 Four Reasons Proposals Are Declined From : The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking, Dr. Joel J. Orosz © 2000 Jossey-Bass Publishing W.K. Kellogg Foundation 1. Request is a much larger amount than the foundation is willing or capable of paying. 2. Idea lies outside the scope of the foundation’s funding guidelines. 3. Idea is within the scope of the guidelines but is inferior in quality. 4. Idea is within scope, of good quality, but less promising than others. Robin Lynn Grinnell - 22

23 12 Characteristics of a Good Proposal From : The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking, Dr. Joel J. Orosz © 2000 Jossey-Bass Publishing W.K. Kellogg Foundation 1. The applicant’s idea is innovative. But innovative is relative. 2. The applicant has expertise, but also an understanding of its weaknesses. 3. The applicant has done the needed homework. a) About the project b) About the foundation Robin Lynn Grinnell - 23

24 12 Characteristics of a Good Proposal From : The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking, Dr. Joel J. Orosz © 2000 Jossey-Bass Publishing W.K. Kellogg Foundation 4. The applicant is doing the project WITH, not TO, those it is trying to help. 5. The applicant is other-centered, not self- centered. 6. The applicant will invest its own money in the project. 7. The applicant is determined to do the project, no matter what. 8. The applicant has devised a comprehensive approach. Robin Lynn Grinnell - 24

25 12 Characteristics of a Good Proposal From : The Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking, Dr. Joel J. Orosz © 2000 Jossey-Bass Publishing W.K. Kellogg Foundation 9. The applicant will work collaboratively with others who can help. 10. The applicant is willing to have an evaluator assess the project. 11. The applicant will continue the project after foundation funding ceases. 12. The applicant’s project has the potential for broader impact. Robin Lynn Grinnell - 25

26 What You Need to Write Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Cover letter (or, if you’re lucky – a letter of application!)  Proposal  Case statement  Needs statement  Goals and objectives  Evaluation strategy  Budget 26

27 The Proposal Format Robin Lynn Grinnell -  A Michigan Model: Council of Michigan Foundation’s Common Grant Application & Common Report Form =2528&DID=10304&DOC=FILE.DOC 27

28 The Proposal Format 1. Exec Summary 2. Purpose of Grant 3. Evaluation 4. Budget Narrative/Justification 5. Organization Info 6. Attachments 1. Cover Letter 2. Cover Sheet 3. Narrative 4. Budget 5. Qualifications 6. Conclusion 7. Appendices Common Grant ApplicationNP Guides Robin Lynn Grinnell - 28

29 The Narrative/Purpose of Grant  Statement of Needs  Goals, objectives, action plans and statements  Timetable for implementation  Partners  Competition  Involvement of constituents  Qualifications of staff  Long term funding beyond grant  Needs Assessment  Goals/Objectives  Methodology  Evaluation Common Grant ApplicationNP Guides Robin Lynn Grinnell - 29

30 The Proposal Format Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Nonprofit Guides tutorial The BEST way to learn to WRITE proposals is to READ them. 30

31 Mission-critical Questions Robin Lynn Grinnell -  What problem are we trying to address?  What program are we offering to address the problem?  Why is this important?  Who is our market?  Who are our competitors? (duplication?)  What are the financial needs of supporting this initiative?  Do we possess the organizational capacity to carry this through?  Who should support our efforts? 31

32 Painting the Picture Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Statistics  Reliable sources  Appropriate comparisons  Paint by numbers: stats can tell your story  Anecdotes: short, sweet, related  Focused on needs of community v. needs of organization  Community voice is key 32

33 Goals and Objectives Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Goals are the large statements of what you hope to accomplish but usually aren't very measurable. They create the setting for what you are proposing.  Objectives are operational, tell specific things you will be accomplishing in your project, and are measurable.  Outputs: bean counting (immediate or short-term)  Outcomes: behavioral/environmental change 33

34 Think Term Paper Outline  Mission  Program Goal Objective Activities Goal Objective Activities Robin Lynn Grinnell - 34

35 For Example Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Education Program to Prevent Dating Violence  What are GOALS of such a program?  What are MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES of such a program? Outputs Outcomes  What will SUCCESS (long-term impact) look like? 35

36 Effective Evaluation Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Effective evaluation answers the question, “So what?” 36

37 Your Evaluation Strategy Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Evaluation plans should be developed concurrently with program plans, staffing plans, funding plans to ensure that the pieces of the puzzle fit  What do your wide array of stakeholder’s care about?  You can’t measure everything, so focus on what matters most  If you ask the question, you must be able to answer it 37

38 Things to think about Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Evaluation is a full-circle activity  Find out which model your (potential) funder prefers AND which model works for YOUR ACTIVITY  Your EVALUATION MEASURES = your objectives  Key Resource: – Evaluation Tool Kit 38

39 Typical Budget Line Items Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Personnel (salary and benefits)  Consultants (salary)  Instruction  Equipment  Supplies  Communication (telephone/postage)  Materials preparation  Travel  Rental of facilities  Evaluation  Other expenses  Indirect costs (costs that your organization requires) 39

40 The Budget Narrative Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Show Your Work (formulas are helpful)  Be Realistic  Check Your Addition  Explain Every Line (make no assumptions)  Too much detail makes you “thorough” – too little makes you “suspect” 40

41 Aspects of Sustainability Robin Lynn Grinnell -  Financial resources  Community ownership  Human resources: the people power to get it done  Long-term plan of action vs. short-term reaction 41

42 Grant Writing Resources Robin Lynn Grinnell -      Books:  Insider’s Guide to Grantmaking (Orosz)  Grant Writing for Dummies (Browning) 42

43 Let’s Write  Go back to your program you started thinking about this morning (or pick one now)  Write a clear statement on how this activity advances your nonprofit mission  Define 2-3 GOALS  For each GOAL, define both an OUTPUT and an OUTCOME For each OUTCOME, define what you will need to do to measure/evaluate to determine whether or not you have been successful Robin Lynn Grinnell - 43

44 Questions? Robin Lynn Grinnell - Robin Lynn Grinnell 44

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