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Proposal Review & Analysis: A Workshop for Better Grantmaking Presented by Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D. President/ CEO Phoenixville Community Health Foundation.

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Presentation on theme: "Proposal Review & Analysis: A Workshop for Better Grantmaking Presented by Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D. President/ CEO Phoenixville Community Health Foundation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Proposal Review & Analysis: A Workshop for Better Grantmaking Presented by Louis J. Beccaria, Ph.D. President/ CEO Phoenixville Community Health Foundation

2 Guidelines: You Get What You Ask For!

3 Why Have Guidelines? Improves the foundation’s stewardship Enables more efficient proposal evaluation Promotes more fairness in proposal evaluation Allows for exceptions, when required Promotes grantmaking impact and effectiveness Protects trustee/directors and staff from inappropriate requests Projects an image of professionalism and organization

4 Guidelines: You Get What You Ask For! Components For Guidelines Geography  Primary area  Secondary area What’s “IN” – What’s “OUT”: You decide  Founding principles of your foundation  Changing needs of the community  Foundation’s asset size  Fields of interest of the foundation

5 Guidelines: You Get What You Ask For! Components For Guidelines (cont.) What’s “IN” – What’s “OUT”: You decide  Types of grants awarded/not entertained :  multi-year  matching/challenges  capital  program specific  general operations  capacity building  other

6 Guidelines: You Get What You Ask For! Components For Guidelines (cont.) Grantmaking Process  frequency of distribution meetings; determines deadlines  by invitation or open-access  letter of intent or full proposal  common application form or not  phone calls/office visits/site visits  frequency of grant request submissions  turndowns  decision making process  grant agreements

7 Analyzing the Proposal

8 Components of a Good Cover Letter Should be properly addressed Can serve as transmittal letter or proposal summary Summary should include brief statement of:  identifying organization and its credibility  problem(s) to be addressed  goal(s) and objective(s)  program approach/length  amount requested  number of people served

9 Components of a Good Cover Letter (cont.) Should be asking for something within the realm of possibility from your foundation  type of grant  size of grant  area of interest Should be signed by the top authority: the Executive Director, President, or Chairman of the Board Should be brief (1 page)

10 Components of a Good Introduction Section Should contain the organization’s brief mission statement Should have a brief history of the organization  how, why, and when it was started Should contain information that enhances the organization’s credibility  activities  accomplishments  credible people associated with the organization Should point out the organization’s niche or special place in the service delivery network Should point out briefly how clients/community benefit from the organization’s work

11 Components of a Good Need or Problem Statement Should make a connection to the previously explained organizational history Should define the problem locally as well as nationally, if relevant Should support the existence of the problem with evidence both statistical and anecdotal  “why” the funds are needed Should note the community assets upon which solutions to the problem(s) can be built Should be capable of being addressed within the resource constraints (time, money, staffing, available expertise) of the organization and the funder

12 Components of a Good Program Goals and Objectives Section Should answer the questions:  What is the solution to the problem you have just explained (goal)?  Is the problem, as outlined, being addressed in full?  How will we know if you have addressed the problem (objective)? Goals should be broad (e.g., promote physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wholeness for homeless families) Objectives should be specific, measurable and time-limited (by June 30, 2008 provide services to 12 homeless mothers with 3 to 6 children…including case management, rental assistance and a parenting program for 12 to 18 months)  “what” you are going to do Both goals and objectives should be realistic, attainable, and worthy of your money

13 Components of a Good Strategy/Methodology Approach Section Should describe the specific activities taking place Should give you a clear idea of how the activities will produce the desired result Should be specific about what staff or volunteers are doing with clients and when Should be realistic  show how this approach can be less time consuming, less costly, and more effective

14 Components of a Good Strategy/Methodology Approach Section (cont.) Should be within your guidelines Should be directly related to all aspects of the need/problem statement Should directly address the goals and objectives developed in the proposal Should be practical/reasonable/doable Should be based upon sound and accepted service delivery principles or model

15 Components of a Good Evaluation Section Assessment measures should be built into the program at the program design stage Evaluation measures should be directly related to each objective noted in the proposal Evaluation measures should be outcome/results/product-oriented – not just process-oriented Ideally, evaluation should address qualitative as well as quantitative aspects of the program General concepts being evaluated (e.g., self-esteem, independence, respect for authority, cleaner environment) should be addressed via specific social indicators of the concept Should demonstrate some prospect for meaningful practical impact on the problem(s) being addressed Should indicate how the results will be disseminated in some way

16 Components of a Good Budget Section Should contain two major sections:  salaries/benefits  operating expenses Should be as specific as possible Should include any in-kind contributions involved in the program Should contain an allocation of expenses across the line item  total cost  amount requested of funder  in-kind contributions from other sources  amount of dollars from other sources  in-kind contribution from requesting organization

17 Components of a Good Budget Section (cont.) Questions the funder should be able to answer in the affirmative:  Will this be a good social investment?  Is there a leveraging opportunity here?  Is a match or challenge grant appropriate for this grant request? Reasons for a match/challenge requirement:  broaden funding base  encourage funding stream diversity  encourage community support  save fdn./corp. funding dollars  test organization’s fund development capability  Is this a good opportunity for financial partnership with other public or private funders?

18 Components of a Good Budget Section (cont.) Should include a budget narrative as an attachment to explain difficult-to- understand or “red-flag” items Should reflect reasonable costs in your market area Should be realistic in addressing the stated problems and objectives Should contain a reasonable amount (e.g., 10-15%) for administrative overhead expense

19 Components of a Good Future Funding Section Should demonstrate some strategic and creative thinking for the program’s future financial sustainability Should include, if possible, mention of self-generated income; e.g., fees, special event income, annual fund allocation Should include, if practical, mention of contract-related future income from public sector or third-party groups Should include some thought about efficiencies that have been realized after the start-up cost are no longer a factor

20 Components of Attachments Section

21 Statement that the IRS public charity tax-exemption is still in effect (IRS letter) Should expand upon issues mentioned in other sections (studies supporting claims made, additional statistics, previous reports produced by agency, critical reviews on organization’s productions, samples of publications Should include support letters from other agencies indicating plans to cooperate (if applicable) List of board of directors and their community function

22 Components of Attachments Section (cont.) Copy of organizational budget Copy of project budget (if applicable) Articles of incorporation and by-laws Copy of most recent independent audit and 990 form List of public/private funding sources in past fiscal year Copy of strategic plan (if available) Copy of PA Charitable organizations registration certificate (if applicable)

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25 Looking at the Whole Organization Governance

26 Components of a Good Board Governance Structure Should demonstrate indicators of organizational strength (choose those with which you are comfortable)  e.g., diverse, active, structured/organized “Diversity” indicators of board strength  age  race  gender  available professional expertise  appropriate board size

27 Components of a Good Board Governance Structure (cont.) Indicators of having an “active” board:  have standing committees  each board person serves on at least one committee  frequency with which board meets  frequency with which committees meet  support by board members  donating money  cultivating fundraising contacts  providing in-kind gifts/services

28 Components of a Good Board Governance Structure (cont.) Indicators of having an “organized” board:  written mission statement  written vision statement  written values statement  written conflict of interest policy  written strategic plan for organization  written whistle blower policy

29 Looking at the Whole Organization Fiscal Health

30 Should have diversified funding streams, e.g., Indicators of Strong Organizational Fiscal Health Structure  federal  annual giving  state  endowment income  local  investment income  corporate  fees  foundation  contracts  special events  other Should demonstrate efficiency in the use of financial resources (i.e., program expense ratio percentage of 70-75% or more) Should demonstrate a good degree of asset liquidity  current ratio (current assets ÷ current liabilities) (+ = >/= 1)  investment ratio (long term investments ÷ total assets) (+ = >/= 25%)

31 Indicators of Strong Organizational Fiscal Health Structure (cont.) Should demonstrate long-term financial viability  equity ratio (net assets ÷ total assets) (+ = >/= 2.0)  long-term debt ratio (long term debt ÷ total net assets) (+ = /= annual cpi) Should demonstrate manageable debt service that is not a financial drain on operating budget

32 Indicators of Strong Organizational Fiscal Health Structure (cont.) Should demonstrate an increase in net assets from previous year  net asset growth ratio Should not have significant litigation as a financial drain on the operating budget Should have an independent audit that is recent and clean Should have an auditor’s management letter included with audit Should not have an inordinate amount of financial dependence on any one funding source or source category  overall source dependence ratio (largest revenue source ÷ total revenues) (+ =

33 Indicators of Strong Organizational Fiscal Health Structure (cont.) Ideally, should not have an inordinate reliance on charitable giving  contributions ratio (contributions + grants ÷ total revenues) (+ =

34 Decrease in annual revenue Rising expenses Operating deficit Cash flow problems on a regular basis Lack of diversity in revenue – large and dependent on one funder Late audits – no more than 6 months after the close of the fiscal year Recent changes in management – no ED for a period of time Decrease client demand for services Gaps in financial reporting Unusual delays in providing requested information Red Flags in Financial Statements

35 Unwillingness of management to allow an independent review of financial data Inadequate information regarding financial performance Key ratio deterioration Unexplained variances from the budget Resignation of key staff or directors Low employee morale and high turnover Donor complaints, vendor complaints, member complaints Red Flags in Financial Statements (cont.)

36 Looking at the Whole Organization Site Visits

37 Components for Conducting a Good Site Visit Say how much time you’ll have when you set up the visit Come prepared with questions Move around as you talk, see as much as possible beyond the director’s office Check out seemingly unrelated physical aspects:  is the place clean, well lit, graffiti free? (this indicates, attention to detail, pride in work)  does there seem to be an underlying organization to the physical plant?  does the space function appropriately? (this indicates thoroughness in planning)

38 Components for Conducting a Good Site Visit (cont.) Check out relationships between and among staff and clients:  does the boss pass the ball and encourage staff to speak? (this indicates appropriate delegation of duties as well as trust)  do the staff know each other and clients? (this indicates good morale and, probably, good working relations)  look for body language messages Check out connections between what people wrote to you in the proposal and what they say:  are the staff who will carry out the work described in the proposal familiar with it?  does the written description match what you are seeing and hearing?

39 Components for Conducting a Good Site Visit (cont.) Do you detect the presence of “plants,” i.e. people placed in your path specifically to say wonderful things? Is your visit overly scripted or under planned? Be prepared to give credit to the FEELING you get on the visit. Such feelings are often more reliable than the statistics or words in the written materials. At the end of the visit, after leaving, immediately take notes. Come to a conclusion: did the visit inspire more confidence or did it diminish confidence and raise more questions?

40 Applicant Feedback & Sample Report Guidelines


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