Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
1 / 80

Grantwriting: Increasing Your Chances for Success - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Grantwriting: Increasing Your Chances for Success. Meredith Jones and Bethany Murray Maine Community Foundation March 25, 2006. With Our Thanks To. David Rappoport, senior program officer at MeHAF whose PP we “borrowed” to develop this presentation. Meredith Jones Bio.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about 'Grantwriting: Increasing Your Chances for Success' - matty

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

Grantwriting: Increasing Your Chances for Success

Meredith Jones and

Bethany Murray

Maine Community Foundation

March 25, 2006

Maine Community Foundation

With our thanks to

With Our Thanks To

David Rappoport, senior program officer at MeHAF

whose PP we “borrowed” to develop this presentation

Maine Community Foundation

Meredith jones bio
Meredith Jones Bio

  • Vice president of program development and grantmaking services at Maine Community Foundation

  • Economic development: strategic planning, fund raising, grant writing (foundations and CDBG), program development and management, communications

  • Long-term care: training and communications

  • Political work: fund raising

  • Community development

Maine Community Foundation

Bethany murray bio
Bethany Murray Bio

  • Grants Assistant at Maine Community Foundation

  • College of the Atlantic graduate

  • Has worked with several grass roots and non-profit groups in eastern Maine

  • Grass-roots and political organizing

  • Was a part time grant writer before joining the staff of MCF

Maine Community Foundation

Mcf commercial
MCF Commercial

  • Mission to strengthen Maine communities

  • Some discretionary, competitive grant programs (project grants and capacity-building grants)

  • Most assets in donor advised funds, scholarships and funds to support specific nonprofit groups

Maine Community Foundation

Outcomes for the day
Outcomes for the Day

  • Knowledge of resources available and how to find them

  • Clarity about elements of good proposals

  • Greater understanding of outcomes/goals/objectives and strategies

  • Greater understanding of budgets and how to develop them

Maine Community Foundation

Brought to you in seven parts
Brought to You in Seven Parts

  • Part I: Overview of where the money is (10 min)

  • Part II: Part II: Overview of foundations (10 min)

  • Part III: Resources available to help you find foundations (10 min)

  • Part IV: General tips for developing a good proposal (45 min)

  • Part V: Goals & objectives (5 min)

  • Part VI: Budgets (15 min)

  • Grant Review Exercise

  • Lunch; Wrap Up & Adjourn

Maine Community Foundation

Our approach to today
Our Approach to Today

  • Some talking at you

  • Some small group work and grant review exercise

  • Lots of questions (with a few answers)

Maine Community Foundation

Getting to know you
Getting to Know You

  • 15-second introductions:

    • Name, organization, grantwriting experience: A Lot, Some, or Little/None

    • What two things (count ‘em – only 2) do you want to know or be able to do at the end of this class

Maine Community Foundation

Part i show me the money

Part I: Show Me The Money

Who Has It

Maine Community Foundation

Today s fundraising climate
Today’s Fundraising Climate

  • There has been a 16,000% increase in the number of non-profits in the United States since 1940.

  • There has been a concurrent dramatic decrease in public funding of non-profits during the last 20 years.

    • The competition for charitable dollars is intense.

    • Grantwriting is rarely the first or only fundraising tool that should be used (More than 80% of funds donated each year are given by individuals)

    • Foundation support is a fraction of total revenues for nonprofits

    • Have realistic goals and expectations.

Maine Community Foundation


  • Public and private (Public charities, private family foundations, corporate foundations)

  • Corporate Foundations: MBNA, UNUMProvident, Bangor Savings Bank, Bank of America, TD Banknorth, etc.

  • National (Ford Foundation, Surdna, Pew)

  • NE Region (Jane’s Trust, Cox Trust)

  • State (MeHAF, MCF, Stephen & Tabitha King, The Betterment Fund)

Maine Community Foundation

How foundations work
How Foundations Work

If you’ve seen one foundation you’ve seen one foundation!

Wide variance in field but some commonalities exist:

  • Power (in a good way)

  • Rely on partnerships

  • Are successful because of relationships

Maine Community Foundation

Corporate support
Corporate Support

  • Two buckets of money are available from most for-profit enterprises: philanthropic dollars and marketing dollars

  • Marketing budgets frequently larger than philanthropic budgets

Maine Community Foundation

Individual donors
Individual Donors

  • Best prospect is current donor

  • MCF donor-advised funds

Maine Community Foundation

For most of you
For Most of You

  • Concentrate on local and regional funders

  • Conduct research

Maine Community Foundation

Part ii your foundation is your friend

Part II: Your Foundation is Your Friend

Everything You Need to Know But Were Afraid to Ask

Maine Community Foundation

Small vs large foundations
Small vs. Large Foundations

  • Generally, two types of foundations:

    • Smaller “informal” foundations

      • Often small family or corporate

      • Generally have no staff, single staff or volunteer staff

    • Larger “professional” foundations

      • May be local, regional or national

      • Larger asset base (in relative terms)

      • Generally have program staff

Maine Community Foundation

The philanthropic divide
The Philanthropic Divide

  • Grantseekers want general operating support.

  • Grantmakers want to make program grants.

Why is that?

Maine Community Foundation

What foundations think
What Foundations Think

  • Most foundations want to work with applicants in identifying good projects.

  • Foundations seek to be innovative but are also cautious.

  • They seek to use their limited resources effectively.

  • Widespread mission commitment and integrity.

  • Cultures, policies, procedures, and decision-making processes vary considerably.

Maine Community Foundation

Part iii finders keepers

Part III: Finders Keepers

Where to Find the $$$

Maine Community Foundation

Wishful thinking
Wishful Thinking

  • If you think a particular rich person or particular foundation ought to be giving you money, so do millions of other people!

Maine Community Foundation

Maine philanthropy center
Maine Philanthropy Center

  • Directory of Maine Grantmakers (Maine Philanthropy Center) is the most important resource in Maine.

  • Publishes hard copy and electronic

  • (Tel) 207.780.5039

  • Nonprofit memberships available: $50 - $250


Maine Community Foundation

Foundation center database
Foundation Center Database

  • Foundation Center is primary U.S. philanthropy library

  • Foundation Directory Online and Foundation Finder

    • Large electronic database of grantmakers (local, regional, national).

    • Free access (by appointment) at Maine Philanthropy Center (MPC) and its affiliated libraries.

    • Internet access for a fee ($19.95 per month) or can be purchased on CD-Rom.

Maine Community Foundation


  • 990s = non-profit and foundation tax returns.

  • May be only source of funding information, particularly for small foundations.


Maine Community Foundation

Other resources
Other Resources

  • Maine Association of Nonprofits

  • Regional Associations of Grantmakers (RAGs)

  • Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (Grand Valley State University)

    Information on starting, running, and funding an organization

Maine Community Foundation

Research tips
Research Tips

  • Search using many terms

  • Assess each prospect:

    • Does it fund in my program area?

    • Does it fund in my geographic area?

    • Do we meet other eligibility criteria?

  • Answer “yes” to all = key prospects

  • Call the funder

Maine Community Foundation

Internet sources
Internet Sources

  • The Internet has become a very useful fundraising tool during the last few years.

  • Search to see who is funding others doing similar work

  • Challenges include:

    • Evaluating the quality of the information.

    • Finding what you want on complex sites (such as Federal agency sites).

    • Accessing busy sites during peak periods (such as Federal agency sites).

Maine Community Foundation

Research public
Research – Public

  • Identify appropriate RFPs

    • Internet

    • Electronic and snail mailing lists

    • Professional publications

  • Assess each opportunity

    • Read RFP

    • Check web sites for related information

    • Assess competitive environment

    • Attend bidders’ conference (if possible)

  • Do likely benefits outweigh cost of application preparation?

  • Many foundations do not accept unsolicited proposals. If you feel they may be interested in you, put them on your mailing list for flyers, newsletters, etc.

Maine Community Foundation

Part iv your mother was right

Part IV: Your Mother Was Right

Secrets to Success in Grant Writing

Maine Community Foundation

Tips for successful grantwriting
Tips For Successful Grantwriting

1. Interpret guidelines narrowly and conservatively.

  • “Gives primarily in Vermont” means “rarely gives outside of Vermont.”

  • Make sure your project is a good fit.

    2. Check both what a funder says they fund and what they actually fund.

  • If there are one or two anomalies, ignore them.

  • If there are many, clarify their current giving interests with the foundation.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

3. Chain stores = small donations or in-kind

4. Generally, larger corporate gifts require:

  • Significant presence in your community (such as a manufacturing plant or back office location) or corporation is locally based or

  • Exceptional interest in your mission area and some presence in your community.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

5. Think of yourself as the funder

6. Know why foundations and corporations give money:

  • Public spirit

  • Recognition

  • Business locus

  • Fashion

    7. Clear, concise, organized, simple, accurate, realistic: say it with no jargon in 25 words or less

    Be clear! Don’t insult your reader’s intelligence, but don’t assume he or she knows your mission area.

    Spell out acronyms

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

8. Read and follow the guidelines

9. Your funder is your friend and you are each other’s customer. You have power! Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

10. Make precise statements and as appropriate, back them up with data. Compare:

  • “Last year, we served hundreds of developmentally disabled children.”

  • “Last year, we served 1,235 individuals between the ages of 10 and 16, or more than 27% of all developmentally disabled young people in Waldo County.”

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

11. Slick doesn’t count

12. Call if you’re unsure of something. Don’t assume. Funders cannot read minds.

13. Accurate budget; in-kind support a good thing (more about this later)

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

14. Do your homework: Know whether or not others are doing something similar and help the funder understand what’s unique about you

15. Do exactly what the funder asks in exactly the manner the funder asks.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success

16. If you’re successful, thank the funder

17. If you were not successful, call and find out why. Remember that foundations receive far more proposals than they’re able to fund and just because you didn’t get funding doesn’t mean the project is not worthy.

18. Use any opportunity you have to develop a relationship because in the end, people give to people

Maine Community Foundation

Application overview
Application - Overview

  • The most common form of grantwriting for most non-profits.

  • Applications are generally short (3-5 pages), sometimes in letter form.

Maine Community Foundation

The application
The Application

  • Cover Letter

  • Title Page

  • Summary

  • Introduction/Problem Definition and Need/Corporate Resume

  • Goals and Objectives/Program Activities/Timetable/Future Plans

  • Facilities and Equipment:/Staffing and Administration

  • Evaluation

  • Budget

Maine Community Foundation

Part v primer on goals objectives strategies and indicators

Part V: Primer on Goals, Objectives, Strategies, and Indicators

Maine Community Foundation

Why evaluate
Why Evaluate?? Indicators

  • Evaluation is a tool for learning

  • Evaluation can be a tool for sustainability and growth

  • Evaluation is a tool for accountability

Maine Community Foundation

The five key concepts
The Five Key Concepts Indicators

  • There are five key concepts in outcome-based evaluation:

    • Goals

    • Objectives

    • Output

    • Outcome

    • Indicators

Maine Community Foundation

Goals Indicators

  • A goal is a broad statement of policy. Generally, goals are ambitious and may not be fully achievable. However, they must still be realistic.

    • Goal (Good): To help individuals with diabetes to better manage their disease.

    • Goal (Bad): To end world hunger.

Maine Community Foundation

Objectives Indicators

  • An objective is a specific, measurable outcome achieved in a definite timeframe.

    • Objective (Good): During FY 2004, to improve diabetes self-management among 20% of clinic patients.

    • Objective (Bad): To help patients manage their diabetes better.

      • Not specific and no time-frame.

Maine Community Foundation

Output Indicators

  • Output = The amount of effort expended by the agency -- the goods and services produced.

    • During FY 2004, all clinic patients will receive individual counseling regarding disease self-management and five diabetes awareness educational presentations will be given.

Maine Community Foundation

Outcome Indicators

  • Outcome = the actual result of the agency’s work -- its impact on its clients or community served.

    • 20% of client patients will exhibit improved control of their disease.

Maine Community Foundation

Example i
Example I Indicators


    • During FY 2001, Homeless Services, Inc. will distribute 2,000 sandwiches at its soup kitchen.

      • This is output. It does not measure the program’s impact on people who are homeless or hungry. It measures the agency’s effort.

Maine Community Foundation

Example ii
Example II Indicators


    • During FY 2001, will improve the nutritional status of 25 people who are homeless as measured by assessments conducted at the beginning and end of the fiscal year.

      • The outcome (nutritional status improvement) is measured by an indicator (two assessments). This measures the program’s impact on clients.

Maine Community Foundation

The relationship is linear
The Relationship is Linear! Indicators

  • GOAL: To help individuals with diabetes to better manage their disease.

  • OBJECTIVE: During FY 2002, to improve diabetes self-management among 20% of clinic patients.

  • Activities: regarding disease self-management and five During FY 2002, all clinic patients will receive individual counseling diabetes awareness educational presentations will be given.

  • OUTCOME: 20% of clients will exhibit improved control of their disease.

  • INDICATORS:During FY 2002, 20% of clinic patients with current HbA1c levels >9.5% will reduce HbA1c levels to <7.0%.

Maine Community Foundation

A few words about logic models
A few words about logic models…… Indicators

  • A logic model is an illustration of the flow of materials and processes to produce the results desired by the organization or program.

  • The model can be very useful to organize planning and analysis when designing the organization and its programs or when designing outcomes-based evaluations of programs.

  • It can also be useful for describing organizations and programs (for example, in grant proposals).

Maine Community Foundation

Logic model template
Logic Model Template Indicators

Maine Community Foundation

Part vi budgets

Part VI: Budgets Indicators

1 + 1 = 2

Maine Community Foundation

Follow directions
Follow directions! Indicators

  • If there are specific guidelines, do exactly what you are instructed to do in exactly the manner you are instructed to do it.

  • If there are no specific guidelines, be simple, accurate and clear.

Maine Community Foundation

A basic budget
A Basic Budget Indicators

  • Two categories:

    • Revenues - $ coming in

    • Expenses - $ going out

Maine Community Foundation

Revenues Indicators

  • Line items should be logical for your organization.

  • May include:

    • State/Federal/Municipal Grants

    • Foundation/Corporate Grants

    • Individual Contributions

    • Earned Income (e.g.program fees, events)

    • In-Kind Contributions (e.g. donated supplies)

    • Investment Income

    • Other Income

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • When they give, funders are pack animals

    • They like to fund in groups and not be the only source of funding

  • Only one funder?

    • What about in-kind contributions?

Maine Community Foundation

Expenses Indicators

  • Line items should be logical for your organization.

  • May include:

    • Wages & Salaries

    • Benefits/Payroll taxes

    • Equipment

    • Office Supplies

    • Program Materials

    • Postage & Courier

    • Printing & Copying

    • Rent

    • Telephone & Internet

    • Travel

    • Utilities

    • Other

Maine Community Foundation

Salaries Indicators

  • Salaries are usually the biggest cost factor in any project

  • You may wish to split Expenses into two sub-categories:

    • Personnel Services

      • Wages & Salaries

      • Associated costs (fringe benefits & payroll taxes)

      • Independent contractors

    • Other Than Personnel Services

Maine Community Foundation

Prepare a list of objectives
Prepare a List of Objectives Indicators

  • Objectives = “specific measurable accomplishments”

    • May be broad…

      • Reduce the high school drop-out rate by 27% in York County.

    • Or narrow…

      • Provide a series of five basket weaving classes for 250 middle school students in SAD 57.

Maine Community Foundation

Estimate the costs of each objective
Estimate the Costs of Each Objective Indicators

  • Develop a list of resources and activities that will be required to meet each objective.

    • This may be a simple process…

      • Basket weaving classes

        • Space rental

        • Instructor fee

        • Materials

Maine Community Foundation

Estimate the costs of each objective1
Estimate the Costs of Each Objective Indicators

  • Or complex…

    • Reducing the drop-out rate.

      • Focus groups with at-risk youth and drop-outs

        • Space rental, Consultant 1

      • Develop intervention

        • Consultant 2

      • Implement intervention

        • Train guidance counselors (training materials, trainer fee, space rental, catering)

      • Evaluation

        • Consultant 3

Maine Community Foundation

Estimate the costs of each objective2
Estimate the Costs of Each Objective Indicators

  • Identify specific costs for each element

    • Space rental (basket weaving classes)

      • Rental = $25/class

      • Room capacity = 50 students

        • ($25/class x 5 classes x 5 class series = $625)

      • Instructor fee = $50/class

        • ($50/class x 5 classes x 5 class series = $1,250)

      • Materials

        • (1/2 ton tender shoots = $1,500)

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tip Indicators

  • Don’t know the cost of something or someone?

    • Check

      • Advertising (such as employment ads)

      • Web sites (such as computer retailers)

      • Appropriate data (such as employment data)

    • Ask vendors or colleagues

Maine Community Foundation

Estimate expected revenues
Estimate Expected Revenues Indicators

  • Compile a list of revenues associated with the program and each resource and activity.

    • Program fees

      • Basket weaving

        • $2/class x 5 classes x 250 students = $2,500

Maine Community Foundation

Compare revenues to expenses
Compare Revenues to Expenses Indicators

  • Basket weaving classes

Maine Community Foundation

Re think adjust as necessary
Re-think & Adjust as Necessary Indicators

  • Basket weaving classes

Maine Community Foundation

Direct indirect cost
Direct & Indirect Cost Indicators

  • Direct Cost

    • “Expenses that can be directly identified with the costing object such as a product and department.” (Barron’s Accounting Handbook, 1990).

    • Examples might include program supplies, program equipment, and wages and salaries for program staff.

    • Costs are usually presented on their own budget lines.

Maine Community Foundation

Direct indirect cost1
Direct & Indirect Cost Indicators

  • Indirect Cost

    • “Expenses that are difficult to trace directly to a specific costing object.” (Barron’s Accounting Handbook, 1990).

      • Examples might include rent, utilities, telephone, office supplies, etc. and other expenses incurred organization-wide (not program-specific).

      • Most often calculated using a formula and not presented on individual budget lines.

Maine Community Foundation

Direct indirect cost2
Direct & Indirect Cost Indicators

  • Indirect cost is often complicated.

  • Frequently negotiated with a state or federal agency.

  • Check with your financial manager!

Maine Community Foundation

Direct indirect cost3
Direct & Indirect Cost Indicators

  • No specific requirements? Keep it simple!

    • Present indirect costs as direct costs

      • For example, present Telephone & Internet as an individual budget line.

  • Calculate one of two ways:

    • Based on actual cost estimates

    • As an appropriate percentage of total organizational expense

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • Ask for help if you need it!

    • Involve financial managers or others with expertise (such as accountants).

  • Make sure proposal & budget agree!

  • Use existing budgets as templates

  • Be consistent with GAAP

  • Check your math!

  • In multi-year budgets, increase annual costs after year one to reflect inflation.

  • Budgets should pass the “straight face” test!

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting review exercise
Grantwriting Review Exercise Indicators

  • Review Guidelines and Application

  • Consider and Discuss the Following Questions

    • To what extent does the grant writer connect the project to what the grant program is seeking to support (i..e community building guidelines)? Does the proposal make the case that it’s a good fit?

    • Are the goals, objectives, strategies and measures clear? Would you change anything?

    • What about the budget? What does it tell you about the project? Is anything missing?

    • At the end of the day, does the grant writer make the argument that this project will have a sustainable impact? If it does, how?

Maine Community Foundation

Part vii public agency grantwriting

Part VII: Public Agency Grantwriting Indicators

Good Government in Action

Maine Community Foundation

Overview Indicators

  • Public grants are service contracts awarded by Federal, State and larger Municipalities.

  • Funds awarded in response to RFPs.

  • Most advice relating to corporate and foundation grants applies here -- such as clarity and following directions.

Maine Community Foundation

Overview Indicators

  • Key requirements for competitive public applications are:

    • Precisely follow instructions.

    • Know current trends and “best practices” in your field and reflect them in program design.

    • Support your narrative with appropriate models, citations and quantitative data.

    • Plan your application process carefully. Don’t overlook details.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • Public grants are cumbersome, confusing, time-consuming, expensive and stressful. Know this going in.

    • Assume 100 hours plus.

    • Can cost your organization many thousands of dollars in staff time and direct costs. Be selective about which RFPs you respond to.

  • Do the best job you can. The competitive environment is often worse than you think it is. BUT...

    • Find out if your grant is “threshold” or “competitive.”

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • Don’t be intimated by RFPs.

    • Skim the document, and identify the sections relevant to you.

    • Use a highlighter to note key points.

  • Ask for copies of successful past proposals from organizations with whom you are not competing.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • Use the RFP as an outline for your application. Follow and respond point by point.

  • If you are contemplating a collaborative grant, try and forge a relationship with your collaborators before you begin the application development process.

  • Public grants often require multiple forms and complicated financial attachments.

    • Sometimes, you may need signatures from people you don’t even know. Allow ample time to obtain needed signatures.

    • Allow ample time for preparation of financial material and for necessary internal approvals.

Maine Community Foundation

Grantwriting increasing your chances for success
Tips Indicators

  • Have technical applications (such as those involving science and medicine) reviewed by individuals inside and outside of your agency with appropriate knowledge.

    • Assume funder reviewers will have related but not necessarily exact knowledge of your area.

  • Where possible, match your internal reviewers with the likely composition of the funder’s reviewers.

Maine Community Foundation

Questions????? Indicators

Maine Community Foundation