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Go for Grants Support your organization by obtaining additional funding through grant proposals
The Language of Grant Writing Familiar words may be used differently in the context of grant writing. For the purpose of this tutorial, here are a few definitions: • Organization = the non-profit or service organization that you are writing a grant for • Project = the program or idea that the organization wants funded • Funding Source = the corporation or foundation to which you are submitting the grant • Application = the entire grant, including the organization’s contact information, the budget/financial information, and the project narrative/proposal
About this tutorial This tutorial will take you through the steps of the grant writing process. With each step, you will be given the following: • An explanation: The step is described (in blue). • A sample: If possible, a sample from an actual grant is provided (in brown). • An assignment: You are given directions to complete the step as it applies to your organization (in purple).
Important Note The grant writing process is variable. Each organization will have its own priorities. Each project will have its own defining characteristics. Each funding source will have its own requirements. So, hold three guiding principles in mind: • Understand what your organization wants to do. • Follow the directions given by the funding source. • Ask for help from your grant mentor.
Step #1: Get to know your organization. The first step in grant writing is getting to know the organization that you want to write a grant for.
Volunteer Spend some time volunteering atyour organization. • What do they do? • Who do they serve? • How do they serve? • Why do they serve the way they do? • What is special about the way they do their service?
Review the history and mission of the organization. Visit the organization’s website or read its literature so that you can summarize its history and mission. Sample: [The rescue’s] mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals in need, while educating the public about humane animal care and companionship. [The rescue] takes a holistic approach to caring for companion animals. The guiding principle of our program is that we care for and respect the physical and emotional needs of the animals. Note: Since the organization was relatively new, the experience of the management team was given to supplement the history of the organization. (not included in sample) Your Assignment: Write a one-paragraph summary of your organization’s history and mission.
Step 2: Identify the need that requires funding. During this step, you will research and develop the project idea that will form the basis of the grant proposal.
Figure out what needs funding. Meet with the appropriate program director or staff to discuss the needs of the organization.Here are some possible questions to ask: • Which service needs more support? • What service or program do you want to add? • What are some obstacles to offering these services?
Sample Conversation Example: Local animal organization has assisted with the rescue of 300+ animals from a hoarding situation. The organization wants additional financial support to care for this influx of animals. The money would be spent on the animals’ everyday care as well as outreach efforts to find new homes for them. Your assignment: Develop your own list of questions to ask and have the brainstorming meeting with the appropriate contact in the organization.
Classify the type of need by funding category. • Operating • Every-day expenses such as staff salaries, utilities, office supplies, insurance. • Program • Expenses related to offering a specific program. • Capital • Expenses related to building expansion or long-lasting furniture/equipment purchases. • Event • Expenses for a special event, like a fundraising dinner or field trip. Example : The daily care expenses are operating funds; the outreach education would fall under program. Your Assignment: Based on your interview, what type of funding is needed?
Summarize the key elements of the need. Based on your discussion, make a list of the important components of the project. Example: The animal rescue project needed additional financial support to help with the following: • Daily care – food, litter, living enclosures • Veterinary care – well checks, spay/neuter surgeries, any additional health issues • Adoption – homes for the rescued animals Your Assignment: Make a bullet list of key project elements.
Step 3: Tell the story. An important part of grant writing is selling your idea or program.
Write a narrative. Write a narrative that “tells the story” of your project or idea. Consider what makes your project unique or interesting.
Sample Narrative For the animal rescue, the narrative described the key elements through the mnemonic EVOLVE. E – Everyday Care V – Veterinary Care (Well and sick care) O – Operation (Spay/Neuter) L – Love (Socialization) V – Volunteers (Training) E – Education leads to adoption Each element was illustrated by telling the story of one rescued rabbit. The following slide contains a portion of the narrative called “Jett’s Journey.” The name of the rescue and some of the specific details have been removed.
Sample Narrative Continued EVOLVE - Jett’s Journey Jett, a black, Satin mix rabbit with perky, upright ears, was one of the first residents at [the rescue]. He arrived via airplane at the airport as part of a rescue effort coordinated by the House Rabbit Society. Over 300 rabbits had been found living in a backyard; Jett and five others found their way to [the rescue]. Jett’s journey is an extraordinary one which illustrates how this grant request for operational funds will help rabbits EVOLVE. Everyday CareAt [the rescue], Jett lived in a 4’ x 4’ indoor enclosure, safe from predators and from the environment. He received a constant supply of fresh hay (the healthy staple of a rabbit’s diet) and water as well as fresh greens and an occasional treat. His litter pan was changed daily and his blanket and bed were washed when needed. Every day, he ran, played, and binkyed (a rabbit’s jump for joy) in one of three exercise areas. The initial set-up for a rabbit resident – including the enclosure, litter box, water and food dishes, blanket, bed, and tent – costs $[ ] The monthly cost of a caring for a rabbit resident averages $[ ] for food, litter, laundry, and supplies. Jett lived at the Sanctuary for over 7 months, meaning his everyday care totaled $[ ]. [The rescue] is committed to providing this quality everyday care to each of the rabbits for as long as they remain at [the rescue]. We are a no-kill shelter so the animal will always have a home – through adoption or at [the rescue]. Each of the other EVOLVE components was explained in the narrative. Your assignment: Write a narrative for your project.
Step 4: Create a budget for your project. During this step, you will identify both the costs and the sources of income for your project.
Budget • Identify the costs involved in your project. • Consider both start-up and on-going expenses. • Identify the sources of revenue for your project. • Typically, funding sources do not want to be the only source of revenue. • The organization may bear some of the costs (rent, utilities) that can be included in your budget. • Check the grant application to find out what you need to know about the entire organization’s finances.
Sample Budget Items for Animal Rescue Grant • Expenses • Salaries • Initial Set-up Costs • Operational Costs • Overhead (rent, utilities) • Veterinary Care • Training • Outreach • Income • Individual Donations • Corporate Support • Foundation (Grant) Support • Fundraising Activities • Adoption Fees
Your Budget Create a budget for your project. • Research the costs of any expenses that you can.Example: equipment, supplies • Meet with your organization contact to discuss other expenses and sources of revenue. • Make your list of questions as complete as possible in order to maximize your meeting time. • Provide the list in writing (or via email) so that your contact can be prepared for the meeting.
Step 5: Research possible sources of funding. During this step, you will research possible sources of funding for your project.
Conduct a general search on the web. Use key words from your narrative to search the web. Try different combinations or use synonyms to improve range of results. Sample: to the right Your assignment: Conduct a web search for grant opportunities.
Identify possible corporate or specialized support. Make a list of corporations or organizations that specialize in your project area who might support or give supply donations to your project. Think both locally and nationally. Sample for animal rescue grant: • Pet supply stores, such as PetSmart or Petco. • Animal welfare organizations, such as American Humane Society or Arizona Animal Welfare League • Veterinary associations or schools Your assignment: Make your list of possible supporters. Check their websites for grant or community support options.
Research using the Foundation Center database. (http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/) The Foundation Center collects information on foundations, their areas of interest, and their grant awards. Access to the Center’s records usually requires a membership. However, some libraries serve as “cooperating collections.” The City of Phoenix’s Burton Barr Public Library is one of them so you can access the collection for free, using your library card. Use key project words as well as geographic location to search the database for possible funding sources.
A sample Foundation Center entry for the animal rescue grant: Animal Welfare Trust141 Halstead Ave., Ste. 301Mamaroneck, NY 10543-2652Telephone: (914) 381-6177Contact: Brad Goldberg, Pres.Fax: (914) 381-6176E-mail: email@example.comType of Grantmaker: Operating foundationIRS Exemption Status: 501(c)(3)Financial Data (yr. ended 12/31/09): Assets: $4,653,327; Total giving: $240,500990-PF: 20092008200720062005200420032002Additional Contact InformationMailing and application address: P.O. Box 737, Mamaroneck, NY 10543E-mail for internships: firstname.lastname@example.org LimitationsGiving on a national basis, with some emphasis in Mamaroneck, NY.Generally no support for local animal rescue/shelter and spay/neuter programs, or for wildlife management and conservation projects. Purpose and ActivitiesThe purpose of the trust is to make a difference in the welfare of animals. Its grants program has a particular focus on helping grassroots efforts that have a compelling vision as to how they can make a unique contribution to the animal welfare cause. Application InformationSee trust web site for full application guidelines. Application form not required. Initial approach: Letter of inquiry by e-mail is encouragedBoard meeting date(s): QuarterlyDeadline(s): No set deadline; the trust reviews requests within 60 days of receipt
Your assignment: • Visit the Burton Barr library. • Search the foundation database using key words from your project. • Also, search for funding sources in Arizona. • Email possible matches to yourself so that you can research the opportunity in more detail and you have all the necessary contact information.
Step 6: Decide which funding opportunity to pursue. Now that you have identified some possible funding sources, you need to figure out which one(s) to prepare a grant application for.
Match interests and priorities. Most foundations and corporations will spell out their areas of support. Find one that matches your project. Do not apply if your project clearly falls outside of their interest area. Sample from Animal Welfare Trust: Purpose and ActivitiesThe purpose of the trust is to make a difference in the welfare of animals. Its grants program has a particular focus on helping grassroots efforts that have a compelling vision as to how they can make a unique contribution to the animal welfare cause. The entire EVOLVE narrative helps to illustrate a unique contribution by presenting a comprehensive plan of care, education, and adoption. Your assignment: Select a possible funding source whose priorities and interests align with those of your project.
Use 990 reports to research grant award amounts and previous grant recipients. Corporations and foundations submit 990 reports to the IRS. These reports detail their charitable giving so they are helpful in that they identify which organizations have received grants in the past, what their projects were, and what the award amount was. 990 reports can be accessed through links in the Foundation Center reports. The grant awards are usually listed near the end of the report. Read the 990 report to determine the recipients and past award amounts. See if they match up with your organization and project budget.
Your assignment: Review the most recent 990 for your possible funding source. Determine if your request fits with their past giving. Sample: the 2009 990 for the Animal Welfare Trust. This 990 shows support for organizations across the country – both locally and nationally based. It shows a giving range of $3,500 to $11,000.
Follow the guidelines and requirements specified by the funding source. Here are some key points from the Animal Welfare Trust: LimitationsGiving on a national basis, with some emphasis in Mamaroneck, NY.Use the 990 form to verify whether “national” means the scope of the project must be national or if their giving spans the entire country. Generally no support for local animal rescue/shelter and spay/neuter programs, or for wildlife management and conservation projects. As they specify “no spay/neuter,” the funding request would not be for that part of the EVOLVE program. It would be acceptable to present the entire program, though. Application InformationDeadline(s): No set deadline; the trust reviews requests within 60 days of receipt Be aware of deadlines and be sure to meet them.
Avoid the pitfall of changing your program to meet the grant specifications. It can be easy to be get distracted by grant opportunities. You can emphasize a specific part of your project to meet the grant criteria. However, stay true to the mission and goals of your organization. Example: While researching funding sources for the animal rescue, a grant opportunity to fund an animal food bank was found. Great idea, but not the focus or need of the group.
Step 7: Adapt the narrative to the required grant format. You will select the part (or whole) of your narrative that aligns with the possible funding source and provide the necessary detail.
Grant Application Formats The following formats are the most common: • Letter of Inquiry: In a formal, business letter format, you give background on the organization and an overview the funding need. • Proposal: Usually more detailed than a letter of inquiry, the proposal describes the organization and the project. A budget may also be required. • On-line: You complete the on-line form provided by the funding source. Preview the form so that you will know what information you will need in order to complete the application. There is a lot of variety in grant formats; so, the key is to follow whatever directions are provided by the funding source.
Carefully read the grant submission requirements given by the funding source. Your assignment: Complete this checklist. Has the proper contact person been identified? Is all requested contact information accurately provided? Has the requested financial information been provided? Has all program information been provided? Has all supporting documentation been provided? Is the application being submitted in accordance with the funding source’s directions – format, timing? Can pictures be added to enhance your presentation? Has your application been proofread?
Step 8: Complete all sections of the grant application. Prepare a complete draft of the grant application, including the following: contact information, financial information, and project narrative. Remember: The organization may share some private financial information with you in order for the grant application to be completed. Please honor the trust being given to you and keep the information confidential. Proofread carefully.
Step 9: Present grant application to organization for possible submission. A few More important reminders: Only a person authorized by the organization can submit a grant proposal. Funding availability is often a reflection of the current economic state. You may apply for many grants before you win one. Save a copy of what you submit.