How to Write a Grant Proposal / Edition 1

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Overview

Step-by-step guidance on how to write effective grants that get the funding you need. Complete with examples of fully-completed proposals, you'll also get an easy-to-use companion website containing guide sheets and templates that can be easily downloaded, customized, and printed. The authors provide examples of completed proposals and numerous case studies to demonstrate how the grant-seeking process typically works.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471212201
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/21/2003
  • Series: Wiley Nonprofit Law, Finance and Management Series , #152
  • Edition description: Book & CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 608,636
  • Product dimensions: 7.03 (w) x 10.02 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

CHERYL CARTER NEW and JAMES AARON QUICK are the sole owners and directors of Polaris Corporation. Polaris teaches grantsmanship to nonprofit organizations (The United Way National Training Center, the Non-Profit Center, and the Kellogg Foundation), primary and secondary schools, and for-profit and nonprofit healthcare facilities using three primary mediums: workshops, consulting services, and resource publishing. They lead over 100 workshops that have taught more than 4,000 people per year how to develop and plan projects, research funders, and write grants.

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Read an Excerpt

How to Write a Grant Proposal


By Cheryl Carter New James Aaron Quick

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-21220-2


Chapter One

Cover Letter

The advantage of love at first sight is that it delays a second sight. Natalie Clifford Barney

At a Glance

What Else Is It Called?

Transmittal letter or letter of transmission

When Is It Used?

A cover letter should be sent whenever it is not prohibited. With some requests for proposal, there is a strict page limitation with explicit directions to follow for every page. In this case, a cover letter is not usually appropriate. However, you can leverage a cover letter to make an excellent first impression so it should be included whenever possible. Normally with proposal to a foundation or a state program, a cover letter can be included. Often with a federal grant program, a cover letter is not included.

Why Is It Used?

A cover letter is an introduction. It is a lot like making introductions in person. It is a way of getting started on the right foot by introducing yourself instead of launching into the request right away.

Key Concepts

Brief.

Positive and confident.

Concise and inviting.

Thank you.

Formatting Issues

Make the letter one page only, keeping it as brief as possible. The letter should be printed on original letterhead. The type should be a 12-point text font, and the margins should be generous, which means at leastone inch. We suggest you not fully justify your text (straight margins on both left and right). Use left justification and leave the right margin ragged (rag right). There should be a reference line between the inside address and salutation that clearly identifies the grant program for which the proposal is being submitted.

The salutation should be to a specific person. You may not use "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Colleague" salutations. They show that you have not done the basic research to determine the grant program contact person. The letter should come from (be signed by) the highest ranking person possible in your organization (the correspondent). The letter should be signed by a person, not a machine or a computer and preferably with blue ink. A letter signed with blue ink is indisputably an original. Don't forget to include the "prepared by" line at the bottom of the letter. Show professionalism in all ways-including the smallest.

Detailed Discussion

A cover letter is an opportunity for you to make an inviting introduction to the grant maker about your organization and also about your project. This is a place for creativity but not elaborate language. You want to warmly invite the reader to read about your excellent project.

The cover letter is one place to push the most obvious "hot buttons." What is a hot button? It is an issue that is critical to the funder. As we have explained in detail in our other books, you must meet the funder's agenda to receive an award. By reading every bit of information you can find on the funder, you will see recurring topics and themes. Perhaps the funder is particularly interested in diversity, or projects that promote preventive health care, or projects that promote family unity. These are hot buttons-issues that are at the heart of the reason the funder has gone to the trouble of setting up funds to grant.

Funders do not just decide to offer grants willy nilly. There is a problem or several problems they want to solve. If they had enough funding to solve the problem themselves, they would certainly try to do just that. For example, assume one grant maker wants to stop drug and alcohol abuse in the United States. How much money would it take to do that? More than even our federal and state governments have. So with the funds the grant maker has, they "seed" projects that, in their opinion, have a good chance of making an impact. They fund projects that can be modeled by other groups to help in their communities. Do they fund projects to set up animal shelters? Or water conservation? No, they fund projects that obviously and rationally directly impact drug and alcohol use in this country. This is just one reason why it is a huge mistake to write one proposal and send it to dozens of funders-you are wasting your time if your project does not match the hot buttons of the funder.

How do you find out about a given funder's hot buttons? You read their literature-all of it. You read about projects they have funded in the past. You read any articles you can find about the funder. Most funders have an Internet presence now and that makes it a lot easier, but some are glad to mail you information about their programs. Funders do not keep their key agendas secret and they are not playing a game with you-they want to invest in the very best projects they can.

Let's look at a couple of examples from actual information published by grant makers.

The Ford Foundation is a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. Our goals are to:

Strengthen democratic values,

Reduce poverty and injustice,

Promote international cooperation and

Advance human achievement

This has been our purpose for more than half a century.

A fundamental challenge facing every society is to create political, economic and social systems that promote peace, human welfare and the sustainability of the environment on which life depends. We believe that the best way to meet this challenge is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located; to promote collaboration among the nonprofit, government and business sectors, and to ensure participation by men and women from diverse communities and at all levels of society. In our experience, such activities help build common understanding, enhance excellence, enable people to improve their lives and reinforce their commitment to society. The Ford Foundation is one source of support for these activities. We work mainly by making grants or loans that build knowledge and strengthen organizations and networks. Since our financial resources are modest in comparison to societal needs, we focus on a limited number of problem areas and program strategies within our broad goals.

Let's look at what the Ford Foundation says about itself. What are its hot buttons? The obvious ones are the four bulleted items, but what are the less obvious issues critical to the grant maker, the Ford Foundation?

First of all they write, "we believe the best way to meet this challenge is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located." What does this mean? It means that the Ford Foundation wants to fund efforts at the grassroots level. It is not going to look kindly on a proposal by a think tank in California wishing to solve a literacy issue in the rural Midwest. It will, however, consider a proposal that meets one or more of the obvious criteria (the ones in bullets) and that is submitted by a group of organizations actually located in the rural Midwest.

So how do you use this information in a cover letter? Well you might write an initial paragraph like the one below.

Our project will go a long way to effectively offering literacy education classes right in the communities in which our most rural citizens live. Our organization is located centrally among five counties with the highest poverty ratings and lowest educational achievement in the state. Our illiterate citizens have failed in school and thus do not want to go to a school house for help. They are much more comfortable in their churches, grange halls, and local grocery stores. So we are taking our programs to them.

Here is another example from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

The mission of the Conservation Program is to ensure a healthy future for all life on earth. The Conservation Program embraces an ecological approach that draws together the people, institutions, resources, and ideas that can best address our environmental crisis. Our primary goal is to conserve biodiversity resources in our core geography of California, Cascadia, Hawaii, the Western Pacific, and Mexico. To accomplish that, we support field-based projects in those areas. In addition, other program areas address some of the drivers of biodiversity loss and environmental decline; these program areas include Marine Fisheries, Energy, Western Land Use, and, in conjunction with the Population Program, Population-Environment.

The primary goals are pretty well clarified in this statement. However, take notice of the phrase, "draws together the people, institutions, resources, and ideas that can best address." This indicates that this grant maker subscribes to the practice of partnering to solve a problem. This is a growing issue among grant makers around the world. The theory is that partnerships make best use of all resources and reduce redundancy in the use of resources. The following is a paragraph for a cover letter that addresses both the primary issues and the hot button.

In our coastal area, pollution from area industry has raised temperatures of the bay so that the native fish and shellfish are dying or are contaminated by bacteria. This interrupts the ecosystem and interrupts the carefully and environmentally sound management of our fishing industry. Through a coalition of concerned citizens, managers of the local fish processing plants, representatives of the fishermen, and key top managers of the local industries, we believe we have developed a solution to the problem-one with lasting effect.

What have you done with this introductory paragraph in your cover letter? You have let them know that you understand their agenda, and moreover, you meet the essence of their standard. In doing this, you are predisposing them to like your proposal because you clearly understand their key considerations and, moreover, you agree with them.

What is another thing your cover letter accomplishes? It places your organization and project in the state, country or world. You know your community intimately. But remember, the readers who read your proposal may not know anything about your type of community. Many government grant makers bring in people from all parts of the country and not one may be from your part of the world. Even within a state, one part of the state may not know a thing about the problems and pressures of living in another part of the state. So one thing you do in a cover letter is try to give a thumbnail picture of your part of the world and the target population your project intends to serve.

Here is an example of how you might briefly describe your location and target population in a cover letter.

Our area is rural and our population is diverse due mostly to a large number of migrant workers. There are few cohesive communities with recognizable structure. Our people mostly work the land or work in the few small industries scattered across the three counties we intend to serve. Most adults reached no more than eighth grade and most clearly live in poverty.

Here is another example from a different type of environment.

We are a second tier city of half a million people. Most of our citizens work in steel or heavy manufacturing facilities. During a significant portion of the year, the climate is such that citizens rarely get out except to go to work. Loose communities surround each manufacturing plant. Other than school, there is little for our young people to do and there are many hours of isolation without adult supervision. For these and other reasons, we have a growing alcohol abuse problem both with adults and, significantly, with our young people.

It is also important to state your purpose for submitting a proposal. You do not need to go into detail but you need to say something more than "we need money." They know that. Few, if any, funders will fund the entire budget of a project. This is not a money issue as much as a philosophy issue. If the grant maker funds the entire budget, what will happen after the grant funding inevitably runs out? The project will die. Other than entitlements, grant funding is not intended to go on forever. It has a limited time span and no grant funder wants to fund a project that dies when the funding runs out. They want to fund lasting efforts that are good investments.

So the grant maker wants to see your investment, and that of all the other partners and stakeholders in the effort. This is the overall project budget. There is a smaller budget that represents what you are asking of the grant maker. Here is an example of what you might say as a purpose for submitting the proposal.

Though we have funding internally and from our partners for the planning phase and for the actual structures within which the project will run, we do not have enough funding to cover all of the equipment necessary to accomplish the project mission.

Here is another example of a concise statement of purpose.

Our project is designed so that once it is implemented, project income and donated staff from our partners will insure continuation. However, for the project to be initiated, we need funding for staff training, for resource materials for our community resource center, and for the technology to manage the continuing project.

Next to last, it is important to thank the grant maker for the opportunity to submit a proposal. Everyone likes to be thanked and the representatives of the grant maker are no exceptions. It is an opportunity that you would not have if the people that set up the fund had not worked hard, first of all, to establish the fund and, second, to review, select and evaluate worthy projects.

Finally, give information on the project contact person. The project contact person is the one person in your organization who knows more about the project than anyone else. At this time, the contact person is probably the proposal writer rather than the project director. It is also probably not the cover letter correspondent. The contact person must be able to answer questions about the project, especially budget questions. Give the name, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address for the contact person. If there are any special directions for making contact, such as time restrictions, include this information also.

Continues...


Excerpted from How to Write a Grant Proposal by Cheryl Carter New James Aaron Quick Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction.

Chapter 1: Cover Letter.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Detailed Discussion.

Putting It All Together.

Authorship.

Checklist—Cover Letter.

Last Words.

Examples of Cover Letters for Four Projects.

Chapter 2: Table of Contents.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Psychology and Organization.

Examples.

Checklist—Table of Contents.

Last Words.

Examples of Tables of Contents for Four Projects.

Chapter 3: Executive Summary.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Project Title.

Contact Person.

Proposal Submitted By.

Mission Statement.

Summary of Problem Statement and Project Synopsis.

Expected Results.

Funding Request.

Your Investment.

Checklist—Executive Summary.

Last Words.

Examples of Executive Summaries of Four Projects.

Chapter 4: Project Summary.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Use Goals to Describe the Project.

Examples.

Checklist—Project Summary.

Last Words.

Examples of Project Summaries for Four Projects.

Chapter 5: Problem Statement.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Describe the Problem.

The Problem Is the Basis for Your Project.

The Problem Is Your Connection with the Funder.

Lack of Something Is Not a Problem.

Include These Elements in the Problem Statement.

Logical Narrative Description of the Problem.

Statistical Backups and Comparisons.

Results of Local Needs Assessments.

Historical Data—How Did This Occur?

Statement of Impact of Problem.

Checklist—Problem Statement.

Last Words.

Examples of Problem Statements for Four Projects.

Chapter 6: Mission, Goals, and Objectives.

At a Glance.

What Else Are They Called?

When Are They Used?

Why Are They Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

A Goal by Any Other Name.

Graphical Representation of the Mission, Goal, and Objective Progression.

Mission.

Goal.

Objective.

Checklist—Goals and Objectives.

Last Words.

Examples of Mission, Goals, and Objectives for Four Projects.

Chapter 7: Project Description.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Goals and Objectives Can Be Used for Guidance.

Cover All Major Project Events in Logical Order.

Cover All Hot Buttons.

Meet Any Special Considerations Listed.

Special Budget Requests.

Be Clear on Technical Issues.

Checklist—Project Description.

Last Words.

Examples of Project Descriptions for Four Projects.

Chapter 8 Project Management Plan.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Organization Chart.

Discuss the Responsibilities of Key Personnel.

Discuss Loaned or Volunteer Staff.

Provide an Overview of Fiscal Management.

Evaluation.

Documentation.

Checklist—Management Plan.

Last Words.

Examples of Management Plan for Four Projects.

Chapter 9: Documentation Plan.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Project Planning.

Project Set-up.

Implementation.

Results or Outcomes.

Planning What to Share.

Checklist—Documentation Plan.

Last Words.

Examples of Documentation Plan for Four Projects.

Chapter 10: Evaluation Plan.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Assistance for Development of an Evaluation Plan.

Connect to Goals and Objectives.

About Measurability.

Communication with the Funder.

The Role of Documentation.

Internal Evaluation Team.

External Evaluation Team.

Checklist—Evaluation Plan.

Last Words.

Examples of Evaluation Plans for Four Projects.

Chapter 11: Dissemination Plan.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Local Dissemination.

State Dissemination.

National Dissemination.

Consider Fees.

Products To Be Sold.

Checklist—Dissemination Plan.

Last Words.

Examples of Dissemination Plans for Four Projects.

Chapter 12: Continuation Plan.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Why Do Funders Want to Know about Continuation?

What Are the Keys to Continuation?

How Do You Prove You Will Continue a Project?

What Is Evidence of Continuation?

Checklist—Continuation Plan.

Last Words.

Examples of Continuation Plans for Four Projects.

Chapter 13: Key Personnel Biographies.

At a Glance.

What Else Are They Called?

When Are They Used?

Why Are They Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Who Are Key Persons?

Do Not Wait until the Last Minute.

Interview.

Name, Rank, and Serial Number.

Specialties.

Summary.

Experience.

Professional Activities.

Education.

Job Description.

Checklist—Key Personnel Bios.

Last Words.

Examples of Key Personnel Bios for Four Projects.

Chapter 14: Timelines.

At a Glance.

What Else Are They Called?

When Are They Used?

Why Are They Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Goals and Major Objectives.

Milestones or Special Events.

Major Reports and Evaluations.

Important Deadlines.

Special Requirements of Funder.

Examples.

Checklist—Timeline.

Last Words.

Examples of Timelines for Four Projects.

Chapter 15: Budget Summary.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Budget Assistance.

Introduction.

In-Kind.

Direct Costs.

Indirect Costs.

Overhead.

Items Included in Budgets.

Formatting the Budget.

Checklist—Budget Summary.

Last Words.

Examples of Budgets for Four Projects.

Chapter 16: Budget Justification.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Personnel.

Fringe Benefits.

Travel.

Contractual Services.

Construction or Renovation.

Materials.

Supplies.

Equipment.

Indirect Costs.

Checklist—Budget Justification.

Last Words.

Examples of Budget Justification for Four Projects.

Chapter 17: Appendix.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Items to Include.

Biographical Sketches of Key Personnel.

Organization Chart.

Timeline.

Letters of Support.

Survey, Test, and Questionnaire Results.

Equipment Descriptions.

Lists of Advisors and Board Members.

Checklist—Appendix.

Last Words.

Examples of Appendices for Four Projects.

Chapter 18: Bibliography.

At a Glance.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Include Only Recent or Landmark References.

Do Not Include References Not Used in Your Proposal.

Include a Bibliography, Even if You Have Footnotes.

Quote Studies from the Potential Funder.

Examples of Bibliographical Formats.

Checklist—Bibliography.

Last Words.

Examples of Bibliographies for Four Projects.

Chapter 19: Introduction and Forms.

At a Glance—Introduction.

What Else Is It Called?

When Is It Used?

Why Is It Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

Follow the Funder’s Directions for Content.

Describe Your Organization.

Provide a Brief Summary of the Problem You Are Addressing.

At a Glance—Forms.

What Else Are They Called?

When Are They Used?

Why Are They Used?

Key Concepts.

Formatting Issues.

If Forms Are Required, Complete Each and Every One.

Use the Forms You Are Given.

Put Forms in the Proposal in Exactly the Order in Which You Are Directed.

Complete Each Form Neatly and Legibly (You May Need to Use a Typewriter).

Checklist—Introduction and Forms.

Last Words.

Index.

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