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Proposal Writing -- Basics Sheila Merrigan Information Resources Program Coordinator University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

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Presentation on theme: "Proposal Writing -- Basics Sheila Merrigan Information Resources Program Coordinator University of Arizona Cooperative Extension"— Presentation transcript:

1 Proposal Writing -- Basics Sheila Merrigan Information Resources Program Coordinator University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

2 Keep in mind … 80% of the proposal process is planning only 20% is writing

3 Basic principles of proposal writing Reviewing the Proposal Logic Model “Typical” parts of the proposal

4 Basic Principles 1. Your proposal should be neat clean easy to read in a regular format free of typographical errors free of extravagant packaging

5 Basic Principles 2. Write in plain English do not use jargon do not use bureaucratize define your terms have family and friends read the proposal

6 Basic Principles 3. Make it brief follow all guidelines make it long enough, but not too long

7 Basic Principles 4. Be positive don’t beg! you are offering the funding source an opportunity to be part of an important, useful activity don’t call attention to your mistakes

8 Basic Principles 5. Avoid unsupported assumptions such as: funding source knows about applicant national scope of problem described, but no documentation of its existence in your community given causal relationships between events is presumed, but no evidence of cause and effect given

9 Basic Principles 6. Include a cover letter, if appropriate signed by the chairperson of the board of directors or individual in high authority briefly describe the content of the proposal (do not use in place of a summary) may be used to suggest follow up on the proposal

10 Reviewing the Proposal May vary depending upon type of funding source (government vs private) Generally, some type of review board or panel 12 x 12 x 12 rule

11 Logic Model a tool or visual resource that may help you lay out your program “see” your outcomes and determine if they are measurable with evaluation may be required enhancement grants

12 Parts of the Proposal No two proposals are going to be the same Generally, a difference between proposals for private funders and proposals for Federal agencies

13 Parts of the Proposal “Typical” Parts of the Proposal -- Private Summary Introduction or organizational information Problem statement or needs assessment Project description objectives methods staffing/administration evaluation Future or other necessary funding Budget Conclusion

14 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Summary -- may be all that is read be at the beginning (but written last) be clear, concise, and interesting identify the applicant and the applicant’s credibility outline the reason for the grant request state the objectives describe activities to accomplish objectives show costs, funds committed, and amount requested be brief

15 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Introduction or Organizational Information when, how, and why organization was started statement of purpose, goals, and philosophy significant events in your history prior and current activities accomplishments and impacts size and characteristics of your clientele assistance asked of you by other organizations your funding sources/positive comments results of evaluation of your programs

16 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Introduction or Organizational Information Where to find this type of information? Your records Cooperative Extension web site (under “About”) APROL CALS support material

17 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Problem Statement or Needs Assessment The most critical part of your plan The reason behind the proposal Generally, should focus on the conditions you wish to change

18 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Problem Statement or Needs Assessment clearly related to the purposes and goals of organization supported by evidence drawn from your experience statistics testimony be of reasonable dimensions stated in terms of clients or constituents

19 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description Objectives Methods Staffing/Administration Evaluation

20 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Objectives are outcomes of your activities, not the activities themselves methods are how you are going to get there

21 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Objectives if measurable -- may be the criteria by which you judge the effectiveness of your program

22 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Methods the steps (activities) to be taken to achieve the desired results

23 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Methods should be understandable rationale for chosen methods may include selection of staff staff training explanation selection of participants

24 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Staffing/Administration May be integrated into methods section or you may choose to separate it into its own section

25 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Evaluation Why do it? required by funding source doing your own reduces chances of them doing it forces you to really think about your program allows others to make decisions about the program motivation of clients reassures funding sources and potential sources can be a powerful tool

26 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Project Description -- Evaluation Designing the evaluation clarifies objectives -- must be clear and measurable determine potential audience for evaluation what is it you want to evaluate who will conduct the evaluation how will data be collected how will data be analyzed how will information be reported and to whom what does the funding source need

27 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Future or Other Necessary Funding Few granting sources want to adopt you for all time Where will you find funding to continue the program?

28 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Future or Other Necessary Funding Ways to fund your program after the grant organization assumes responsibility fee-for-service third-party subsidization non-grant fund-raising (endowment) new or expanded fund-raising efforts another organization assumes part of financial obligation

29 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Future or Other Necessary Funding construction or renovation grants cost to maintain equipment cost of training for users maintenance insurance

30 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Budget UA Handbook for Principal Investigator (http://vpr2.admin.arizona.edu/sps/Handbook/frame_format_ purposed_budget.htm)Handbook for Principal Investigator CALS budget worksheet for grants (not required) (http://ag.arizona.edu/extension/employee/budget.htm)budget worksheet send budget in early to be reviewed (optional)

31 Parts of the Proposal -- Private Conclusion final appeal for your project; briefly reiterate what you want to do why it is important why you need funding to accomplish it

32 Parts of the Proposal -- Government Will generally give you very specific guidelines Read the RFP VERY carefully Read the rfp again … and once more Contact the program officer to confirm/clarify An outline given out -- follow the sequence and reflect the rfp’s language in your headings and text to make it easy on the reviewers Follow all instructions! Carefully plan your application timeline Meet the deadline!

33 Parts of the Proposal -- Government “Typical” Parts of the Proposal -- Government Cover letter or face sheet (SF-424) Budget forms/line item budget (“Budget Justification”) Table of contents Abstract (similar to the summary) (continued next page)

34 Parts of the Proposal -- Government “Typical” Parts of the Proposal -- Gov’t (con’t) Narrative meeting the purposes of the authorizing statute extent of need for the project plan of operation quality of key personnel budget and cost effectiveness evaluation plan adequacy of resources Appendices Certifications

35 Reasons Why Proposals Are Not Funded Directions are not followed Unfocused or Untargeted Proposal Recycled, “Generic”, Proposal Poor Planning and Lack of Detail Unclear or Overly Complex Proposal Unsupported Claims Poor Writing and Organization

36 Keep writing proposals Don’t get discouraged! Break-out sessions

37 Sources: §Boess, Marilyn M The Grantsmanship Game: Playing to Win! Marilyn M. Boess, Glendale, Arizona. 145 pp. §The Foundation Center. A Proposal Writing Short Course. [Cited 1/11/01]. Available via the World Wide Web at §Kiritz, Norton J Program Planning and Proposal Writing: A Guide. The Grantsmanship Center. 124 pp. §PRO Neighborhoods and Tucson-Pima Public Library Basic Grant Proposal Writing. December 9, 2000.


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