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Fundamentals of Successful Grant Proposals: A hands-on workshop on grant writing. Jack R. Kues, Ph.D. University of Cincinnati. Objectives. At the completion of this workshop attendees should be able to:. Construct a fundable project and match it with an appropriate funding source

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fundamentals of successful grant proposals a hands on workshop on grant writing

Fundamentals of Successful Grant Proposals:A hands-on workshop on grant writing

Jack R. Kues, Ph.D.

University of Cincinnati


At the completion of this workshop attendees should be able to:

  • Construct a fundable project and match it with an appropriate funding source
  • Complete a formal Request for Proposal
  • Critically review projected proposals
  • 1:00 PM Introduction and overview
  • 1:15 PM Grantors (who they are and what they want)
  • 1:30 PM Grants as partnerships
  • 2:00 PM The anatomy of a grant proposal
  • 3:15 PM Break
  • 3:30 PM Group work (proposal development)
  • 4:14 PM Group presentations/critique
  • 4:45 PM Summary/discussion
needs assessment
Needs Assessment
  • Have you ever written a grant?
    • Fewer than 5
    • 5-10
    • More than 10
  • Have you ever been on a grant review panel?
  • Have you ever written an RFP?
needs assessment5
Needs Assessment
  • What skill or knowledge would you like to leave here with?
major us government funding sources
Major US Government Funding Sources
  • NIH Budget (FY04) $28 billion
  • NSF Budget (FY04) < $6 billion
non governmental funding sources
Non-governmental Funding Sources
  • 65,000 Grantmaking Foundations in the US
  • 2002 – $15.9 Billion
    • A decline of 5% over 2001
    • Median grant was $25,000
  • 2002 – $ 7.27 Billion for higher education
    • A decline from $7.34 Billion in 2001
    • Health professions receive approximately 10%
      • These are non-research dollars
top foundations
Top Foundations
  • Bill & Melinda Gates $1.16 B
  • Lilly Endowment $ 557 M
  • Ford Foundation $ 509 M
  • RWJ Foundation $ 360 M
  • David & Lucile Packard $ 350 M
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb $ 297 M
  • Pew Charitable Trust $ 239 M
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation $ 223 M
  • Starr Foundation $ 209 M
  • MacArthur Foundation $ 196 M
finding funding sources
Finding Funding Sources
  • US Government Grants
  • The Foundation Center
grant writing resources
Grant Writing Resources
  • The Grantsmanship Center
  • Non-profit guides
  • Powerful Proposals
  • Grant Application Basics

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks to improve the health and health care of all Americans. To achieve the most impact with our funds, we prioritize our grants into four goal areas:

  • To assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost.
  • To improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions.
  • To promote healthy communities and lifestyles.
  • To reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse — tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

grant programs as partnerships14
Recognition of need


Mechanism for implementation

Recognition of need

Fiscal Resources

Grant Programs as Partnerships

Grantee Grantor

questions funding agencies typically ask about applicants
Questions funding agencies typically ask about applicants
  • Do they seem to know what they’re doing?
  • Do they have the resources to do this project?
  • What kind of track record do they have?
  • Are they likely to be able to complete the project?
r equest f or p roposal
Request For Proposal





things to look for in the rfp
Things to look for in the RFP
  • Who is eligible to apply?
  • Do you need to have partners?
  • Submission deadline
  • Length of project
  • What are the funding priorities?
  • Budget details
    • What will they allow in the budget?
    • Is there a requirement for matching funds?
    • Guidelines for size of budget
  • Proposal outline
  • Proposal evaluation criteria
the program officer
The Program Officer
  • Their job is to help YOU submit the best proposal possible.
  • They have information that is not in the program announcement.
  • Program officers are typically NOT part of the review team.
    • However, they sometimes are present at reviews and can offer opinions
uses for the project officer
Uses for the Project Officer
  • Technical questions about the RFP
  • Review of a short abstract of your project idea
  • Information about previously funded projects
  • Additional information/resources related to the RFP
  • Information related to the types of reviewers likely to evaluate your proposal






chapter 1 needs
Chapter 1: NEEDS
  • Clearly identify needs that are consistent with funding priorities
  • Use data whenever possible
  • Tie your organization into the need
    • Why is your organization concerned about the need?
    • How is your organization uniquely positions to address the need?

University of Iowa Geriatric Center

chapter 2 objectives
  • The objectives should meet a specific need or solve a particular problem
  • Typically, a single grant shouldn’t have more than three or four objectives
  • Objectives should oriented toward the 3 P’s
    • Performance
    • Process
    • Product

University of Iowa Geriatric Center

chapter 3 plan
Chapter 3: PLAN
  • The Plan or “program” flows directly from each objective
  • It should include answers to the following questions:
    • What
    • Who
    • How
    • When
  • Provide details whenever possible
chapter 4 evaluation
  • Perhaps the most important chapter
  • Evaluate the Objectives AND the Plan
  • Identify a project Evaluator
  • Specify Data to be collected
  • Discuss how evaluation data will be used
  • Measure program’s Impact on Needs
chapter 5 budget
Chapter 5: BUDGET
  • Make the budget “fit” the project
  • Clearly identify all items in detail
  • Everything/everyone in the budget should have been discussed in the project Plan
  • Don’t “pad” the budget
  • “Justify” everything in the budget
  • Check your math
style tips
Style tips
  • Use short tables to summarize
  • Use figures to describe or illustrate
  • Use bullets to isolate key points
  • Use enumeration to identify and separate concepts and objectives
  • Use headings and subheadings to help organize grant sections
the review process
The Review Process
  • Blind v. Open Reviews
  • Published review criteria
  • Point systems
  • In/Out criteria
  • Tiered review
    • Letters of Intent
    • Approved/disapproved
the top 10 reasons a grant application is not funded
The Top 10 Reasons a Grant Application is Not Funded
  • The proposal was incomplete
  • Did not follow directions
  • Proposal seen as a “money grab”
  • Application does not have the resources to do the project
  • Application is not understandable
  • Evaluation is very poor
  • Project is not within the scope of the funding agency
the 10 top reasons a grant application is not funded
The 10 Top Reasons a Grant Application is Not Funded
  • The budget is too low
  • The project does not adequately address a need
  • The size/scope of the project is out of synch with what the agency funds
things that tick off reviewers
Things that “tick off” reviewers
  • Content issues
    • Applicant doesn’t know the field
    • The Plan has too many loose ends
    • The project has no visible means of sustaining itself beyond the grant
    • The evaluation plan is mostly “bean counting”
things that tick off reviewers35
Things that “tick off” reviewers
  • Technical issues
    • Exceeded page limitations…by a lot
    • Narrowed the margins
    • Dropped the font size
    • Spelling/grammatical errors
things that tick off reviewers36
Things that “tick off” reviewers
  • Budget issues
    • Lots of math errors
    • Seeing things in the budget that you didn’t read about in the project plan
    • “Miscellaneous” categories with large numbers