The Ins & Outs of Grant Writing. Amita Patel. BSAFE. BSAFE is Building Security through Assets and Financial Education is an Individual Development Account, which is a matched savings account program for domestic violence survivors
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The Ins & Outs of Grant Writing Amita Patel
BSAFE • BSAFE is Building Security through Assets and Financial Education is an Individual Development Account, which is a matched savings account program for domestic violence survivors • Missoula BSAFE has 3:1 match, so for $1 saved by participant, we match it with $3 • Save up to $2000, receive total match of $8000 • Match can go toward education, business, home, car • Take a financial education program (budgeting, credit basics) as well as an asset-specific course (homebuyer’s class) • Right now, we need money for the match!
My Ideas Came From… • The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need by Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox • The Joy of Writing Grants by Don Myers • The Foundation Guide to Winning Proposals (excellent book of different grant proposals that were accepted)
Grant Basics • What is a grant? • How do I know if I need a grant? • Define problem, solution, and how much it costs • Who are the funders? • Local, state, and federal government • Private foundations and corporations • Regional association of grantmakers • Montana Community Foundation
Researching Grants • Foundation Center (www.foundationcenter.org) • Grantsmanship Center (www.tgci.com) • Big Online USA (http://www.bigdatabase.com) • Federal government (grants.gov) • Mansfield Library Guides to Grants at the University of Montana • Ex. Funding Sources for Community and Economic Development. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press “Less than 10 percent of the proposals my foundation receives fit our guidelines—and the ones that don’t fit are rejected”
Letter of Interest • Letter of Interest should include: • Introduction • Description of organization • Statement of need • Methodology • Other funding sources • Final summary • Private foundations and corporations often require letter of interest before full grant
What’s In a Proposal? • A typical proposal includes: • The organization’s qualifications • Statement of need; assessment • Goals and objectives • Methodology • Evaluation • Future and supplemental funding • Budget • Appendices (letters of support, brochures, flyers)
1: Document Everything • Document everything you say to evaluators • Usually goes in the appendix • Examples: brochures, flyers, checklists, evaluations, education program materials, testimonials • Evaluators like to see what you do
Documents Usually Required • Mission statement • Certificate of incorporation • 501(c) (3) letter • EIN • DUNS number (for government grants) • List of board members • Staff members and job descriptions • **Budget**\annual report • List of current funding sources • Appendix (usually there are limits)
2: KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) • Use simple sentences with no word garbage or flowery text • Evaluators have little time to review applications • Create an outline • Use subheads and be consistent • Don’t exaggerate • No value judgments and no sense of humor
Be Very Specific • Strong needs section (include testimonials, results from focus groups) • Goals and objectives—are they measurable? • Ex. Objective 1: Reduction in Violent Incidents. By the end of the basketball project, participants will demonstrate a 50 percent decrease in violent incidents as measured by school incident reports. • Create a program plan • A sample time line that includes every activity that you must undertake to establish or implement the program
3: Learn their Buzz Words • Buzz Words are language used in guidelines or sections in Request for Proposal (RFP) • Funders spend a lot of time on guidelines • Ex. Mobilize those who have been disenfranchised and excluded from resources, power and the right to self determination
4: Become the Evaluator • Put away grant for a few days and then read it as if you were the evaluator • Is it visually appealing? • Is the narrative logical? • Are there charts and graphs that you can use? • Also, have others review it too!
Odds & Ends • Write a cover letter on organizational letterhead • Table of contents and appendix can be useful • Read and reread guidelines • If you can’t follow the guidelines, how are you going to administer a grant?
Comments from Funders • “I sometimes read a proposal and can’t see where it’s going.” • “I like to see some anecdotal data about how a program touched the lives of people, along with some relevant hard data and statistics.” • “No matter what kind of group you are, diversify your funding.” • “I hate it when budgets make no sense. And I loathe the ‘blah-blah-blah syndrome’ . . . When grant writers sort of go blah, blah, blah instead of just telling us directly what they plan to do with the money.”
Common Mistakes to Avoid • Don’t wait until the last minute • Don’t force the grant into the funding source • Don’t be too wordy • Not being able to see and describe the “big picture” • Don’t expect the evaluator to know or help you
If Your Grant Was Not Accepted… • Get feedback on why your grant was turned down • “Very few groups call when they’re not funded. I’m impressed when a group calls and asks, ‘Can we do something different?”
My Own Experience • Very frustrating! • Ask other organizations for grants that were accepted, especially if the projects are similar • Talk with the evaluator to see what s\he thinks about your program • Figure out what the funder really wants by researching previous grantees