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Contracts are legally binding, and represent an arrangement in which contracting agencies federal or state government, for example buy services from organizations or individuals in order to fulfill obligations or responsibilities. Grant funding is available via both the public and private sectors.

In the public sector, money is raised via taxes and other government revenue, and then allocated through legislation to address social issues. For example , in , the U. Congress established an abstinence education program as part of welfare reform legislation. In the private sector , businesses e. An important note : While all of the suggestions below for finding potential grant sources are still good ones, there have been some changes since this section was originally written.

A great deal more information is now available online, and many public funders actually require electronic, rather than paper, submission of grant proposals. And, if the aforementioned resources still don't yield what you are looking for, you can always ask around. Talk with colleagues locally and nationally and with other people you know who have grant writing experience.

A grant proposal is often a labor-intensive undertaking that requires a commitment of resources devoted to producing a document as long as 15 - 50 pages or more in a relatively short period of time. When a Request for Proposals is released by an agency, the deadline for proposal submission is often as little as one month away. So be prepared to work hard on the development of a grant proposal, keeping in mind that the hard work is finite — only a few weeks — for potentially multiple years of funding to address your identified problem or need.

You can! Simply read the RFP carefully. You might want to make a plan to stay organized. Highlight key or essential elements such as the deadline for submission, mailing address, number of copies to be submitted, etc. You might also find a one-page checklist of all required items within an RFP. If you are intimidated by the writing element, solicit the help of a colleague or someone collaborating in your effort to secure funding. You can also contact the agency soliciting grant proposals and request some samples of previously funded proposals.

You do not need an English degree to put together an effective proposal. While grammar, spelling, and cohesion are certainly important elements of a well-written proposal, substantive elements such as identifying the need for funding for your topic or population of interest are ones in which you can be creative in how you present the information. In fact, innovative or creative approaches can enhance a grant proposal's likelihood of success!

At the same time, because readers often have to wade through a large number of proposals, a well-written one often can receive more attention and even a higher rating. If there are no good writers within your organization, find someone who is willing to edit your proposal and turn it into elegant prose. Readers will thank you, and you may well be rewarded for your extra effort. While some Requests for Proposals may include unique requirements that you must read carefully and follow, many grant proposals follow a similar structure.

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The most common eight elements are listed below. Instructions for the cover letter and title page will be included with the RFP. The cover letter should be on agency stationery and signed by the appropriate organizational official. Make absolutely certain that all your spelling and grammar is correct. Some RFPs may require a letter of intent that precedes the submission of a grant proposal. These can be challenging to write, as they are basically an abstract of the proposal.

Therefore, it is helpful to have a clear purpose, identified need, and some idea as to your strategy for addressing that need ahead of time. You should really have those things in mind anyway as you conduct research for RFPs so you can identify which agency missions and grant opportunities match your interests. An abstract is related to, but different from, the letter of intent.

An RFP may include a limitation on the number of pages that an abstract can be, but a good rule of thumb is no more than two pages. The needs statement may be one of the most powerful components of your grant proposal. This is where you really grab the reviewer's attention and make your case for the need for funding. So, do your homework before writing this section. Know your community e. Use existing data sources when possible to document the problem. For instance, you might consider using census data for your county, or other existing sources for your area that provide indicators of the behaviors or outcomes you are addressing.

For example , your community may have experienced a lot of growth in population and housing developments in the past five years. With that growth, traffic flow near schools would increase and become more dangerous. Therefore, you can interview school administrators, parents, subdivision residents, and students as a means of documenting the problem.

Finally, as you research the approaches or solutions that have been implemented to date, think about whether your grant proposal will be building upon existing efforts, introducing a unique strategy, or some combination of both. Some reviewers may be searching for that fresh, innovative approach to a problem that has been well documented but not yet addressed effectively. There is no right or wrong way to present the information within the standard grant proposal sections as long as it is in a logical order that is easy to read.

Just remember that your grant proposal is your first opportunity to effectively communicate the need for funding for your special interest or population to a specific foundation or other agency, so make it count. You want to keep the reviewer interested enough to read on and learn more about your important ideas. If the addition of tables or graphs will make your needs statement more persuasive, definitely include them.

Here are some things to consider as you prepare graphic illustrations of your data:. Once you have captured the attention of the reviewers by clearly and effectively documenting the need for funding, you get to present the details of how you plan to implement your program. This section of your proposal should guide the reviewer step by step through all activities needed to accomplish your goal s in a way that will continue to engage the reviewer's interest and excitement. Furthermore, you will refer to it time and time again over the course of program implementation.

Even if program staff changes over time, the project description should provide a road map for anyone to understand and follow. Goals and Objectives are a very important piece of your grant proposal. Goals are broad statements with a long-term, ideal outcome in mind. Most proposals do not have more than three goals. Example Goal : "Eliminate disparity among Medicaid enrollees' and privately insured consumers' use of prenatal care in Fertile County.

For each goal, you might develop numerous, corresponding objectives.

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Objectives are specific statements that will indicate to the reviewer exactly how you plan to achieve your goals. The best objectives have several characteristics in common. Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult to write objectives that meet each and every one of the criteria listed above. Like most things in life, writing objectives becomes easier the more you practice!

How Not to Get a Grant: Top 10 Grantwriting Mistakes

Building on the example goal of eliminating disparity among Medicaid enrollees' and privately insured consumers' use of prenatal care in Fertile County, below are two examples of how a related objective might be written. Insufficient Example Objective : "Survey Medicaid enrollees and privately insured clients about why they do or do not access prenatal care services early in pregnancy.

Better Sample Objective : "By June , survey 50 postpartum Medicaid enrollees and 50 privately insured clients prior to discharge from the hospital regarding why they did or did not access prenatal care services in the first trimester of pregnancy. Once you feel comfortable drafting objectives, you should determine whether or not they are "process" versus "outcome" objectives. A process objective measures the accomplishment of tasks completed as part of the implementation of a program.

Example Process Objective : "By June , distribute copies of the patient education pamphlet, 'Heart Disease Prevention' to men between the ages of 30 and 50 in Coronary County. An outcome objective measures long term results or impact of a program. Using the same scenario in the process objective example above, an outcome objective might be:.

You will have a sense of clarity and specificity after drafting your proposal objectives.

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The next step in the proposal writing process will be to break down each objective into a series of activities needed to achieve it. The methods section describes in detail how you propose to carry out your goals and objectives over the course of a project. Let's continue using the Coronary County example. You have a process objective for distributing copies of the patient education pamphlet, "Heart Disease Prevention" to men between the ages of 30 and 50 in Coronary County.

In the Methods section, you need to show reviewers that you have carefully considered the steps necessary for planning and implementing this objective. This chart is used to present a detailed list of all activities and their projected date of completion.

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Activities are usually listed in sequential order. The purpose of the evaluation plan is to show how you will measure the completion or success of process and outcome objectives. Be sure that your plan includes details about how information will be collected and analyzed. Also describe how and when evaluation findings will be shared with the funder. There are two main types of evaluation: process and outcome. Your project will dictate which type of evaluation you use.

Most likely, you will use a combination of both approaches depending on the types of objectives you draft. Process evaluation assesses the implementation of a program, emphasizing activities to be completed for example, "distribute copies of a flyer". Outcome evaluation assesses the short or long-term impact of a program. Documentation of this objective should be straightforward, but it is surprising how difficult it can be to get health care facilities and staff to adopt a new data collection form or task and assure that those who interact with patients are recording data consistently and correctly.

So, as part of your evaluation plan, you would need to design a system that would yield appropriate documentation of the distribution of the pamphlets. Remember, too, that the system needs to be "user friendly" so staff will use and follow it. The most important thing to remember about outcome measures with this structure is that you should already have baseline data — current statistics that describe the percentage of men between the ages of 30 - 50 with high blood pressure living in Coronary County. This is important for two reasons:.

Let's assume that you assess the percentage of year old men with high blood pressure before you implement your program, then three years later. Can you automatically attribute that decrease to your program? If only it were that easy! Other factors such as competing programs may have been solely responsible for the percentage change, or may have indirectly enhanced the impact of your program. The other program targeted men ages 20 - 40 with education about the importance of daily cardiovascular exercise.

Those same men are part of your evaluation sample three years after you implement your program. One purpose of your evaluation would be to determine whether or not the percentage of men ages 30 - 50 with high blood pressure decreased because you educated men about ways to prevent heart disease, or because half of the men who participated in another program adopted a regular exercise regimen.

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Evaluations can be complex, time-intensive aspects of a program. Unless you can afford to budget for an evaluation consultant, design the evaluation plan within the strengths and limitations of program and staff resources. Once you have drafted the detailed information for your goals and objectives, methods, and evaluation plan, you will have the foundation for your budget request. You will now need to assign corresponding dollar amounts to staff positions and activities. Common budget line items for the Budget Request include details for each are provided below :.

A person working 20 hours a week will be listed at. Fringe benefits may include half an employee's social security and Medicare payments public agencies are exempt and voluntary benefits such as medical, dental, disability, life insurance, and retirement plans. These are generally calculated as a percentage of staff salaries. Otherwise known as overhead, indirect costs are defined as an attempt to compensate the organization for the cost of housing a project. Indirect costs may or may not be provided by your funding agency.

They are often allocated as a fixed percentage of your direct costs. An in-kind line item will not add any costs to the project because it is paid for or absorbed by the agency applying for the grant. In kind services might include paying for rent perhaps a separate grant within the agency already covers this, so the agency can afford to not request rent as a line item of the budget in the new grant proposal.

In the Budget Justification , be sure to clearly describe the need for each line item total requested. In one or two sentences per budget line item, show the reviewer exactly how you arrived at the total for an item. For example , say you have proposed to conduct three focus groups with low-income parents of children with special health care needs ages 0 - 3 in your county over the next 6 months. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but you can see how one proposed activity has many planning and implementation details tied to it. And each detail potentially increases the amount of money that you need to request in your line item budget.

Use this section of your proposal to convince the reviewers why you should be funded rather than someone else. You may be requesting funding for a problem or need that is already well documented. While reviewers may need no convincing that the issue is important, timely, etc. What makes your qualifications and your approach or strategy better than the competitor's? Federal or state agencies often want to see a long-term plan for the self-sustainability of a project.

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The reasons for this vary. Maybe funding at the federal or state level will only be available for a couple of years. Maybe funding for a special interest will only be available until elections bring in new legislators with different fiscal and policy priorities. Some programs require a match of funding from the beginning. For example, for every four dollars awarded, a grantee you may be required to contribute matching funds of two dollars. Funders will want to know how grantees' matching funds will be provided and sustained.

Some initiatives will need to be in place for years to come if they are to have a long-term impact on outcomes such as health status indicators. Therefore, if a foundation or other agency can only afford to fund this particular issue for two years, it may want to know how you plan to continue tobacco use prevention efforts in your community over the long term. While you cannot guarantee that your proposed program will be self-sustainable, it is important to make your best case for sustainability and describe a plan.

If the answers to these questions are "yes", discuss the strategy and time line for establishing the revenue-generating component of the project. As a rule of thumb, most projects rely entirely on the funding source in year one, as this is the year that planning and implementation activities are accomplished. But by year two, you may be able to include some revenue-generating activities in your time line. Appendices are supplemental materials that do not belong in the body of the proposal, but nevertheless are important pieces of information, such as:.

Letters should be signed by an Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer of the collaborating or supporting agency. You may want to draft the letters for each collaborator in fact, they may request that you do this , but make sure that each letter is unique to your working relationship and shared interests. Highlight the significance of the proposed collaborative relationship in the context of proposal goals and objectives. Also summarize your and your collaborating agency's capacity and strengths for addressing the problem or need identified in the proposal.

The purpose of this book is to help you, the grant writer, present your case in the best way possible. Although there are many errors that can be made when preparing a grant proposal, fifty of the most common mistakes grant writers make are highlighted here. The information presented here, including the checklist which is available on our website, will make it easy for you to evaluate your proposal before you submit it.

If you are a professional grant writer who writes and submits a number of grant proposals every year, these mistakes may seem trivial. However, if you do not write grant proposals on a regular basis and grant writing is one of the many hats that you wear in your organization, this book was designed for you. Designed by Elegant Themes Powered by Wordpress. Home My Account Cart Checkout.

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