Complete Book of Grant Writing: Simple Steps to Writing a Grant from Start to Finish

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The Complete Book of Grant Writing is a must-have shelf reference for anyone seeking funding through grants--government grants, foundation grants, specialty grants and more. Professional grant writer Nancy Burke Smith and philanthropy consultant and grantmaker E. Gabriel Works unveil the secrets behind how to find and professionally apply for grants.

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The Complete Book of Grant Writing is a must-have shelf reference for anyone seeking funding through grants--government grants, foundation grants, specialty grants and more. Professional grant writer Nancy Burke Smith and philanthropy consultant and grantmaker E. Gabriel Works unveil the secrets behind how to find and professionally apply for grants.

The Complete Book of Grant Writing includes information on:
--The Five Core Components of every grant including the statement of need, the evaluation plan and budgets
--What makes a grant compelling to funders?
--What to do when you are funded--and what you can do when you are not
--How to be a professional grant writer
--The grant writing timetable, from responding to requests for proposals to receiving funding
Grant writing in different fields of nonprofit practice, including educational, governmental, environmental and faith-based organizations

The Complete Book of Grant Writing is the most in-depth, complete and up-to-date book on grant writing available.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402206672
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Burke Smith is a freelance writer specializing in grant proposals and other communications for nonprofit organizations, including the Council of Michigan Foundations, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the C.S. Mott Foundation. She coauthored The Everything Grantwriting Book.

E. Gabriel Works is senior consultant to The Grantmaking School. As principal of Works Associates, she leverages her distinctive knowledge of private, community and corporate philanthropy to provide consulting services that focus on enhancing the practice of philanthropy.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Grantmakers and Gramtseelers

What is a Grant?
In general, a grant is funding provided by a charitable-giving foundation, public charity, or a government agency to a nonprofit organization that enables the nonprofit organization to perform specified activities for the common good. Grants may also be made by corporate giving programs or nonprofit intermediaries, which pass through funding from another source.

What is a Grant Proposal?
A grant proposal is a narrative description of the work that a nonprofit organization plans to undertake to fulfill both its own and the grantmaker's goals. The proposal includes, at minimum, a description of the problem to be addressed, a detailed plan for addressing the problem, what it will cost, and what results the grantmaker can expect from the proposed project or initiative. After the proposal is accepted by the grantmaker and a grant award is made, the grant proposal forms the basis for a legally binding contract between grantmaker and grant recipient. By signing the contract, the recipient (grantee) agrees to perform mutually agreed-on plans of work and to report its progress toward fulfilling the terms of the grant and achieving the goals set forth in its grant proposal.

Who Qualifies for Grants?
Most grants are made to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations: designated public charities made exempt from federal income tax under IRS code 501(c)(3). Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations include such institutions as schools, hospitals/clinics, religious organizations, homeless shelters and services, social service agencies, arts/cultural organizations, universities, and many others. To maintain its 501(c)(3) status, a public charity must pass a public support test showing that it receives its financial support from a broad segment of the general public. Therefore, a nonprofit organization should not seek most of its funding from one source. If it does so successfully it could forfeit, or "tip," from its nonprofit status, making it ineligible for any other charitable gifts. Private foundations are restricted by law to fund only public charities and some government agencies, such as police and fire departments, unless they follow a lengthy and complicated process called "expenditure responsibility." Community foundations and government agencies may fund a non-501(c)(3) if the grant is for a charitable purpose such as relief of poverty, advancement of education or religion, promotion of health, government or municipal use, or another purpose that would be beneficial to the community. Grants to individuals are rare except in the case of scholarships and instances such as commissions for artworks, translations, or scientific research. (There are many resources on the specialized topic of grants to individuals; they are not covered in this book.)

Who Writes Grants?
Most often, grant proposals are written by the director or other staff member of the applying nonprofit organization. Individuals who work in development or fund-raising often are called on to have grantwriting skills. There are also professional grantwriters who write grants for a fee, which is paid by the nonprofit organization.
The job of a grantwriter may or may not be limited to the actual writing of a grant proposal. The level of involvement varies based on the individual grantwriter's level of skill and knowledge, the position the grantwriter has within the applicant organization, and the type of approach used in grantseeking.

What Do Grants Fund?
Grantseeking is a form of fund-raising in which money is requested for a defined purpose and a specified time period. Most grants fund programs or projects developed by the nonprofit organization to respond to a specific problem or need. Other relatively common types of grants include:
-- Capital: A grant for a building, equipment, renovation, or construction
-- General Operating: An unrestricted grant for the everyday operations of the applicant organization
-- Technical Assistance: A grant made to strengthen the nonprofit organization's staff development, infrastructure, or other function that needs improvement
-- Endowment: A grant that is to be invested in perpetuity so that the nonprofit can draw earnings from the fund to support its defined purpose
-- Challenge: A grant made to stimulate giving from other sources; the donor releases funds only after the grantee has met the challenge (usually a specific amount of money to be raised) outlined in the grant agreement
-- Matching: Funds that correspond to those of other donors; e.g., funds will match two to one those of other donors within a specified time frame
-- Demonstration: A grant made to develop an innovative project or program that, if successful, will serve as a model for others' replication
-- Start Up: A grant to cover the costs of starting a new project or organization; start up grants are also called "seed grants"
-- Exploratory/Planning: A grant that enables an organization to flesh out a good idea, develop a stronger project and project implementation plan, or test a theory or plan of action

Two Approaches to Grantseeking
There are two primary approaches to grantseeking: reactive and proactive. Reactive grants are those developed in response to a request for proposals (RFP). Reactive grant proposals are much like bids for a job and require grantwriters with strong analytical reading and good writing skills. Proactive grants are those that involve identifying appropriate funding sources to support a specific nonprofit organization, program, or problem-solving initiative. Approaching grantseeking proactively requires a well-planned strategy and an overall knowledge of potential donor sources and their interests and motivations for funding.

A Decade of Change
In the last ten years, grantwriting has grown both easier and more difficult. Several innovations have streamlined the grant search and application process.
-- The federal government has launched a notification service that makes requests for proposals from all federal departments available to any person who signs up for the service.
-- The federal government and many foundations have established electronic submission forms and processes. You can submit a proposal (and often a report of progress) without shipping or hand delivering.
-- Search engines help grantseekers find funding sources with the use of just a few key words.
-- Grantwriters once had to send letters or call to learn more about funders or to request guidelines and annual reports; today, most grantmakers post this information on their websites where it is easily accessible.

What's more difficult? Philanthropy in general has become far more sophisticated than it once was. Today, grant proposals must focus strongly on outcomes and evaluation. Progress reports require data to support detailed explanations about what the grantee has accomplished with grant funds. At one time, any decent writer could write a grant proposal; today, successful grantseeking requires more than writing skills alone. Now, a good grantwriter must also be a good strategic planner, an analytical reader, a master of basic accounting principles, and a perpetual student of the field.

The federal budget for the next five years decreases grant money available to fund programs of interest to nonprofit organizations. To make up for these reductions, private giving from all sources, including foundations and public charities, will have to grow at a rate two or three times that of recent years. Whether that compensatory growth is likely or not, the facts point to increasing competition among grantseekers-and an increasing need for highly skilled grantwriters.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Grantmakers and Grantseekers
What Is a Grant?
What Is a Grant Proposal?
Who Qualifies for Grants?
Who Writes Grants?
What Do Grants Fund?
Two Approaches to Grantseeking

Chapter 2: Reactive Grantseeking
What Is Reactive Grantseeking?
Who Makes Grants via RFP?
Winning Reactive Grant Proposals
Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
The Grantwriter's Role in Responding to RFPs
Preproposal Requirements
Learning More

Chapter 3: Proactive Grantseeking
What Is Proactive Grantseeking?
Who Makes These Grants?
How Foundations Do Business
Crafting a Proactive Grantseeking Strategy
Contacting a Program/Grants Officer
Learning More

Chapter 4: Thoughtful Planning
Planning for Sustainability
Community Involvement
Identifying and Involving Other Organizations

Chapter 5: Before You Write
Planning the Process
Scheduling to Meet the Deadline
Reviewing Drafts
The Framework

Chapter 6: The Five Core Components of Every Grant Proposal
Executive Summary or Abstract
Statement of Need or Problem
Project Description
Sample Project Description Narrative
Evaluation Plan
Budget and Budget Narrative

Chapter 7: Beyond the Basics
Collaboration/Partner Agencies and Their Roles
Interagency Agreements
Staff Qualifications
Management Plans
Similar Programs/Agencies
Constituent Involvement
Review of Literature
Sustainability Plans
Organizational History
Logic Models

Chapter 8: The Grantwriting Craft
Write It Well
Cover Letters and Abstracts-Write Them Last
Teamwork-Reviewing Your Proposal
Filling out Forms
Submitting Your Proposal

Chapter 9: Individualizing Your Proposals by Type of Project
Capital Grants
Challenge Grants
Capacity—building Grants
Sustainability Grants
Demonstration Projects
Operations Grants
Special Populations

Chapter 10: Grantwriting in Different Fields of Nonprofit Practice
Arts Organizations
Medical Service Organizations
Educational Institutions
Technology Organizations
Social/Human Services
Local Government and Services
Faith-based Organizations
Environmental Organizations
Economic Development

Chapter 11: While You Wait
Due Diligence
Site Visits
Recycling Grant Proposals
Continue Your Research
When Government Administrations Change
When Foundation Staffing, Structures, or Programs Change

Chapter 12: Yes or No
You Got the Grant!
Grant Agreements
Progress Reports
Sorry, Your Proposal Was Not Funded

Chapter 13: Professional Grantwriting
Is This the Life for You?
Building Your Grantwriting Business
Grantwriting with Integrity

Online Resources
Index-Sample Documents
About the Authors

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