Grantwriting for youth services librarians
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Grantwriting for Youth Services Librarians. Deborah Hopkinson Vice President for Advancement Pacific Northwest College of Art Author: What We Will Cover . Overview of the Grantseeking Process Program Planning Research Potential Library Funding Sources

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Grantwriting for Youth Services Librarians

Deborah Hopkinson

Vice President for Advancement

Pacific Northwest College of Art


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What We Will Cover

  • Overview of the Grantseeking Process

  • Program Planning

  • Research

  • Potential Library Funding Sources

  • Writing the Proposal

  • Submitting Your Proposal

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Overview: Grant-Seeking Process

  • Program planning: Why, what, and how much do we need?

  • Research: Who are our potential funding partners and what are their requirements and needs?

  • Cultivation: Building a relationship with funders

  • Solicitation: Preparing and Submitting a Proposal

  • Implementation: Administering the grant

  • Stewardship: Recognition and Acknowledgement

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Research Funding Sources

Further Questions

Develop Proposal

Site Visit

Initial Contact and Cultivation

Submission of Proposal

The Proposal is Part of a Process

Planning and Priority Setting


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1. Program Planning

  • Program planning: Why, what, and how much do you need?

  • Assessment of resources: Do you have the staff/volunteers to write and manage a complex grant?

  • Use of other staff and volunteers: Who needs to be involved in the program planning process?

  • Collaborate and connect: Connect with others who have done similar programs; find partners

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What Funders Look For…

  • High-quality programs that meet a real need in the community

  • Track record of effective program delivery

  • Capable leadership

  • A strong organizational and financial infrastructure

  • Collaborators and diverse group of supporters

  • A good match with funders’ needs and requirements

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2. Research: Overview of Funding Sources

  • Foundations – family, independent, community, corporate

  • Corporate Giving Programs

  • Publicly-funding agencies and programs (NEA, IMLS, Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Cultural Trust)

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What Is a Private Foundation?

  • Nongovernmental, nonprofit organization

  • Has its own funds or endowment

  • Managed by its own trustees or directors or family

  • Established to aid educational, social, religious, scientific, or other charitable activities through the making of grants

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Types of Private Foundations

  • Independent

  • Company-sponsored

  • Family

  • Operating

    ~ 5% payout requirement

    ~ Must disclose total giving and grants through

    Form 990-PF (Available through

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Other Types of Grantmakers

  • Corporate Giving Programs

    • Marketing, corporate or company-sponsored foundations

    • Companies may sometimes use marketing dollars for sponsorships or cause-based marketing;

    • company foundations may also have recognition requirements, such as use of logo or sponsorship recognition

  • Federal, State, and other public agencies

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Making a Match

  • Who funds in my area of interest?

  • Who funds in my geographic region?

  • Who will provide the type of support I need?

  • Why, what, and how much do we need?

  • Has the grantmaker funded organizations like mine?

  • How much does the grantmaker give to organizations like mine?

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Research Resources

  • Print directories and grant guides

  • Foundation Center databases

    • Foundation Directory Online

      • Search Grantmakers

      • Search Companies

      • Search Grants

      • Search 990s

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Other Research Sources

  • National


    • Government Grants:

    • Institute of Museum and Library Services

  • Other Organizations

    • Library Grants blog:

    • Foundation Center:

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More Grantmaker Information

  • Grantmaker Web sites

  • Grantmaker documents

    • Annual reports

    • Newsletters

    • Guidelines/brochures

    • RFPs

  • IRS filings (Forms 990-PF and 990)

    • Look for list of grants awarded

  • News articles

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Grant Publications

  • Grants for Libraries

  • Grants for Libraries and Information Services

  • National Guide to Funding for Libraries & Information Services

  • Fundraising for Libraries: 25 Proven Ways to Get More Money for Your Library

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  • Stephanie Gerding & Pam MacKellar

  • Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians with Multimedia Tutorials and Grant Development Tools, published by Neal-Schuman Publishers in August, 2010.

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List of Specific Resources

Please check all websites and RFPs for

Current eligibility and availability

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  • The Alibris Collection Award

  • The Alibris Collection Award is an annual grant of books to an academic, public, special, or K-12 library supporting specific collection development projects that advance the mission, priority areas, and goals of the selected library. The purpose of the Award is to help provide materials for libraries with replacement projects, retrospective collection-development projects, or routine collection building needs.

  • Procedures and deadline for award applications

  • To apply for the award, please do the following:

  • Create an online wishlist of desired titles.

  • Send an e-mail to [email protected], notifying us that you would like your wishlist to be considered for the Alibris Collection Award. Include a brief statement of interest concerning the desired collection and needs of your particular library.

  • Award applications should be submitted via e-mail to [email protected], and must be received by December 1, so that the winning library can be selected and the award announced the following January.

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  • *ALA Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War Grants

  • Deadline: April 19, 2011

  • The ALA Public Programs Office and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced an increase in funding for the Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War reading and discussion program grant. Following the application process, 50 selected public, academic and community college libraries will receive a $3,000 grant to support the reading and discussion series in their library in addition to books, promotional materials and other programming support. Applications are available at

  • .

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  • Barnes & Noble[]

    • Deadline: Applications are welcome at any time. Please allow 60 days for a decision.

    • Barnes & Noble's corporate contributions program supports non-profit organizations that focus on literacy, the arts or education (K - 12).

  • Early Reading First Program[]

    • Deadline: For pre-applications March 23.  See website for full details.

    • This program supports local efforts to enhance the oral language, cognitive, and early reading skills of preschool-age children especially those from low-income families, through strategies, materials, and professional development that are grounded in scientifically based reading research.

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  • Better World Book’s LEAP Grants for Libraries

  • Deadline: March 25, 2011Better World Books is providing grant opportunities to libraries to significantly impact local literacy efforts. Successful applications will use funds to advance a compelling model literacy project. $75,000 in funding is available.Interested libraries should submit a short two page project overview. The best proposals will be selected for a 30 minute conversation where they will pitch their idea. Better World Books will select the winners whose projects are most viable and ready to go. Selected libraries will then be asked to complete a more detailed project plan in coordination with Better World Books. Selection criteria and more information is available on the Better World Books' LEAP website.

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  • The Follett Challenge for School LibrariesDeadline: June 1, 2011The Follett Challenge invites the education community to promote the role that school libraries play in encouraging and developing information literacy and student engagement. Demonstrate how your program makes use of technology and content to engage students and improve information literacy.Six winning libraries will be rewarded with the cash-equivalent of products and services from Follett. Five prizes, including a $35,000 first place prize, will be awarded by a panel of judges. A sixth $10,000 prize will be awarded based on online voting for the best video. The application consists of a detailed program description, a written endorsement of support from the school's administration and a 3-5 minute video as a creative representation of the program's impact. For more information on the Follett Challenge please visit:

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  • Giant Step Award[]

    • Deadline: March 5

    • Gale and School Library Journal give this award annually to recognize outstanding school and public libraries that have created innovative programs that have an impact on children and young adults. A total of $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

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  • *Hasbro Children's Foundation[]

    • Deadline: April 1 through June 1

    • The Hasbro Children's Foundation is committed to improving the emotional, mental and physical well-being of children, birth through age twelve, through the support of innovative direct service programs in the areas of health, education and social services. Small grants are available to direct service programs that meet a need of disadvantaged children in a local community in an innovative way. Funding decisions are guided by the principles of caring, opportunity, and joy and may be sought to seed a new program component, or help make an existing program more efficient or effective.

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  • Giant Step Award[]

    • Deadline: March 5

    • Gale and School Library Journal give this award annually to recognize outstanding school and public libraries that have created innovative programs that have an impact on children and young adults. A total of $10,000 in cash prizes will be awarded.

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  • *Home Depot Grants[]

    • Deadline: Applications are welcome at any time.

    • Home Depot focuses it's giving in four areas: affordable housing, at-risk youth, the environment, and disaster preparedness. It's focus on at-risk youth is: "Established programs that help to develop leaders and encourage young people to become contributing community citizens through job readiness training, leadership development and volunteerism are specifically of interest to The Home Depot Foundation. Grants are directed toward programs that target youth, ages 12-18, residing in under-served communities. "

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  • *Jack Kent Cooke Foundation[]

    • Deadline: October 15

    • Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Innovation Fund provides grants to nonprofit organizations to spark the creation or expansion of innovative education programs in a particular field. For 2005 grants, the Foundation invites proposals from non-remedial, out-of-school programs in critical reading and/or writing for elementary or middle school students. Programs should be designed to help students build high-level reading and/or writing skills to help them excel in rigorous academic environments as they mature. Programs must operate in the United States and serve low-to-moderate-income students. The Foundation encourages applications from rural communities, small towns, and other underserved areas. Each grant will total between $100,000 and $200,000 and may cover one or two years of program work. The Foundation anticipates awarding three grants, which will be announced in March 2005.

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  • *Libri Foundation[]

    • Deadlines: Postmarked by March 15th, July 15th, and December 15th

    • The Libri Foundation is a nonprofit organization that donates new, quality, hardcover children's books to small, rural public libraries in the United States through its Books for Children Program. Of particular interest are rural libraries that serve a population under 5,000, have a very limited budget, and have an active children's department. In order to encourage and reward local support of libraries, The Libri Foundation will match any amount of money raised by a library's local sponsor(s) from $50 to $350 on a 2-to-1 ratio. Thus, a library can receive up to $1,050 worth of new, quality, hardcover children's books. After a library receives a grant, local sponsors (such as formal or informal Friends groups, civic or social organizations, local businesses, etc.) have four months, or longer if necessary, to raise their matching funds.

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  • * McKenzie Foundation []

    • Deadline: Requests for $5,000 and under will be considered at any time.

    • "Generally, The McKenzie Foundation looks for creative projects or programs which can serve as catalytic agents in their fields and that can have an impact that will continue after the specific project has been completed. The McKenzie Foundation seeks proposals that support the most effective and promising approaches to make a significant difference in the initiative areas and are well matched to the size and capabilities of the organization making the request." The Foundation offers grants for projects focusing on early childhood development, education, the environment, arts and culture.

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  • *Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award []

    • Deadline: December 1

    • "An annual award consisting of $3,000 and a citation of achievement recognizes either a school or public library which demonstrates excellence in library programming by providing programs which have community impact and respond to community needs...Eligible programs or particular interest for consideration includes: support of educational programs, library programs for children and adults, reading and literature programs for children, library programs for young adults, programming for multi-ethnic groups, community outreach, literacy programs and providing programs and services for persons with disabilities.

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  • Meyer Memorial Trust

    • Sample grant:

    • Hood River County, Hood RiverAwarded: $61,000To provide the new Hood River County Library District with staff for re-opening the local library

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  • *Marshall Cavendish Excellence in Library Programming Award []

    • Deadline: December 1

    • "An annual award consisting of $3,000 and a citation of achievement recognizes either a school or public library which demonstrates excellence in library programming by providing programs which have community impact and respond to community needs...Eligible programs or particular interest for consideration includes: support of educational programs, library programs for children and adults, reading and literature programs for children, library programs for young adults, programming for multi-ethnic groups, community outreach, literacy programs and providing programs and services for persons with disabilities.

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  • *Milagro Foundation[]

    • Deadline: Applications are welcome at any time.

    • The Milagro Foundation offers grants ranging between $2,500 - $5,000 to community-based organizations that work with children and youth, especially those at risk and disadvantaged due to such factors as poor health, illiteracy, or insufficient educational and cultural opportunities. The focus is on projects which address health education, literacy, and arts and culture education. Examples of projects that have been funded recently are reading and cultural enrichment programs in Spanish for community residents & children; and artists fees and materials for the Multicultural Arts Summer School serving children in the Mission area of San Francisco.

  • .

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  • * Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. Deadlines: February 1, August 1

  • Distributes proceeds from the sale of products related to the band Phish to support music education for children. MFI is interested in targeting children eighteen years or younger, but will consider projects which benefit college students, teachers, instructors, or adult students. MFI is particularly (though not exclusively) interested in programs which benefit disenfranchised groups, including those with low skill levels, income, or education; with disabilities or terminal illnesses; and in foster homes, shelters, hospitals, prisons, or other remote or isolated situations. MFI is particularly interested in projects that encourage and foster creative expression in any musical form (including composition, instrumentation, vocalization, or improvisation), but also recognizes broader and more basic needs within conventional instruction. MFI encourages applications associated with diverse or unusual musical styles, genres, forms, and philosophies. Education may include the provision of instruments, texts, and office materials, and the support of learning space, practice space, performance space, and instructors/instruction. MFI is particularly interested in projects that foster self-esteem and free expression. Grants from $50.00 - $5,000 are available.

  • .

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LSTA Competitive Grants in generalEach year, the Oregon State Library makes around $800,000 in competitive grants in the state to legally estsblished libraries, or non-profit entities serving libraries.  Public, academic, and special libraries are eligible.  School libraries are also eligible, but school library grants should be high-profile and coordinated with the Oregon Association of School Libraries.  The grant guidelines have more detail.  The State Library does not make grants to individuals.  One of the main criteria in awarding a grant is if it supports the state's LSTA Five-Year Plan.Grant projects can be small or large as the project scope demands,  but smaller projects generally have a better chance of being funded.  Projects may be funded for up to three years by a series of competitive one-year grants.  Projects with a one or two-year duration are viewed more favorably than a three-year project.  The LSTA grant program won't replace personnel or other operating costs, fund building projects, or purchase books or equipment without a strong programming component.

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  • *Ronald MacDonald House Charities[] Deadlines: December 29 and August 1 for letters of inquiry. Full proposals will be invited.

    • The Ronald McDonald House Charities award grants to support programs that improve the health and well-being of children, ages 0-18. Programs should address a significant funding gap or critical opportunity, have long term impact in terms of duplication or reach, and produce measurable results.

  • .

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  • *Rosie's For All Kids[]

    • Deadline: Applications are welcome at any time. Disbursements of funds occur in March and October.

    • The Rosie O'Donnell For All Kids Foundation provides financial support to nonprofit programs serving economically disadvantaged and at-risk children and their families. Priority is given to programs serving low-income, urban areas.

  • .

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  • *Starbucks Foundation[]

    • Deadline: April 1, October 1

    • The Starbucks Foundation awards grants to local nonprofit organizations that serve low income, at-risk youth between the ages of 6 and 18. These grants support innovative programs that enhance culture diversity and involve families, schools and neighborhood organizations, particularly in traditionally underserved communities. Grants are concentrated on two areas of interest: the Power of Literacy, which focuses on programs that stimulate personal development and encourage commitment to social equity, justice and environmental awareness through writing, literacy and the promotion of the voices of youth in public forums, and Leaders in Diversity, which focuses on programs that teach the value of societal diversity, with an emphasis on the development of leadership skills to build bridges of understanding between individuals, groups and communities. Preference is given to programs that offer opportunities for Starbucks employees and stores to be involved. Grants range from $5,000 to $20,000.

  • .

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  • *Target Community Giving[]

    • Deadline: Applications accepted March 1 - May 31. Applications will be reviewed as they are received; therefore, you are encouraged to apply early.

    • Target will donate between $1,000 and $3,000 to programs in their market communities. Their funding interests are in three areas: early childhood reading (birth to third grade), the arts and family violence prevention.

  • Verizon Foundation Grants Program[]

    • Deadline: Applications are accepted January 1- November 30.

    • Focuses on technology and programs in literacy, the digital divide, women, economic development, and community development. Average grant sizes range from $5,000 - $10,000.

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Other Sources

(Courtesy of Katie Anderson, Oregon Center for the Book)

Oregon Community Foundation

Meyer Memorial Trust (local)

The Ford Family Foundation (local)

Library Services and Technology Act competitive grants (local):

Oregon Foundation DataBook

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy

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Other Sources

(Courtesy of Katie Anderson, Oregon Center for the Book)

Education and Literacy Grants

National Institute for Literacy

US Department of Education Grants

WHO Foundation (Women Helping Others)

The Big Read

Innovations in Reading

American Library Association Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

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Useful Websites

  • Training Videos -

  • The Art of Grantsmanship -

  • The EPA Grant Writing Tutorial -

  • The Foundation Center -

  • Writing Winning Proposals, the US Department of Energy -

  • Association of Fundraising Professionals -

  • Oregon Community Foundation Grantwriting Resources


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TRAINING Foundation Center Free Webinars – 60 minutes

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3. Cultivation: Building Relationships

  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send

    an email to ask questions

  • Make use of volunteer board members, library foundation

  • Consider setting up an ad hoc volunteer committee to help with funding

  • Increasingly, public organizations and agencies must close the gap with private funding

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4. Solicitation: Preparing & Submitting a Proposal

  • Gather background information on the need to be addressed

  • Identify project needs

    • Staffing

    • Equipment

    • Supplies

  • Sketch a rough draft of the budget

  • Determine who will write the proposal

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Getting Started

  • Start early and pay attention to deadlines

  • Review the guidelines and required format carefully

  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions

  • Form a working group; get all required internal permissions and review

  • Make sure budget and program plan are realistic

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Proposal Components

  • Proposal order should conform exactly to what funding source specifies

  • Sample Components of a Proposal:

    • Cover letter (if required)

    • Executive Summary

    • Introduction/Organizational Background

    • Statement of Need or Opportunity

    • Project Description and Plan

    • Evaluation and Sustainability (Future Funding)

    • Budget

    • Conclusion

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Proposal Component:Executive Summary

  • Proposal begins with an executive summary

  • Answer: who, what, how, how much

  • Why is there a need?

  • What are you going to do to solve this need?

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Proposal Components: Introduction/Background

  • Establishes who is applying for funds

  • Describes applicant organization’s purpose and goals

  • Describes agency programs and background

  • Describes clients or constituents

  • Provides evidence of accomplishment

  • Offers statistics and endorsements to support credibility

  • Leads logically to problem statement

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Introduction/Background (cont.)

  • Describe your organization

  • What makes your organization unique?

  • Describe services or facilities

  • Detail any support provided by partner organizations, library, university etc.

  • Any other source of funding

  • Letters of support

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Proposal Component: Statement of Need or Opportunity

  • How do you know there is a need?

  • Research your/other organizations’ efforts

    • What is being done currently?

      • Did it work?

    • What has been done in the past?

      • How will your project be different?

  • How will the project address the need or opportunity?

  • Remember: Institutions don’t have needs, communities have needs

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Need/Opportunity (cont.)

  • Relates to purposes and goals of organization

  • Is of reasonable dimensions

  • Is supported by statistical evidence

  • Is supported by statements from authorities

  • Is stated in terms of clients or beneficiaries

  • Is developed with input from clients and beneficiates

  • Doesn’t use jargon

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Proposal Component:Project Description & Plan

  • What do you want to accomplish?

  • List goal and objectives to reach goal

  • Be precise and provide specifics where possible

  • Use action words: increase, reduce, expand

  • This is where you describe what you expect the results of your project will be, in a detailed and quantitative manner.

  • Who will you serve? How will you serve them? How many? By when?

  • Who will be responsible for making sure this happens?

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Project Description: Who is being served?

  • Identify target group

  • Identify geographic area

  • Use background data (examples, statistics)

  • Be as specific as possible:

    • Demographics

    • Socioeconomic data

    • Census information- Populations

  • Statement of need and/or opportunity

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Project Description:How will you do it?

  • Provide rationale for the stated objectives and plan of work for achieving them

  • Include any experience with methodology, areas of anticipated difficulties or unusual circumstances


    Provide an activity-based timeline corresponding to objectives

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Project Description: Who will do it?

  • Identify all project personnel and volunteers

  • Include a narrative summary of qualifications as they relate to the statement of work and project responsibilities

  • Evidence of organization’s ability to handle a project of similar scope

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Proposal Component: Budget Project Description:

  • Is your budget realistic?

    • Tip: Consider the period of performance of the project, in relation to the amount of recurring expenditures, e.g. reproduction, supplies, communication, travel

  • Don’t cut yourself short

  • Ensure that your figures add up correctly

  • Ensure that your proposed budget does not surpass the total funding amount

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Budget Project Description:

  • Highlight each item in the narrative that will appear in the budget

    • Tip: Conversely, every item that appears in the budget must be described in the narrative

  • Break down each item into parts; be specific



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Budget Project Description:

  • Ensure that the specific funding you request is allowable (staff, equipment, travel, etc.)

  • Tip: If you include items not listed in the budget section of the RFP, contact the funding institution and ask in advance.

  • In-kind contributions or waived fees must be stated or discussed in the proposal

    • Tip: Be as explicit as possible in all descriptions in the narrative. Reviewers are not as familiar with your concepts or environment as you are.

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Estimating Costs Project Description:

  • Research process

  • Remember that costs go up

  • Costs should be:

    • Reasonable

    • Complete

    • Realistic

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Recap: Steps to prepare a project budget Project Description:

  • Step 1 – Know your project

  • Step 2 – List the various components of the project

  • Step 3 – Obtain reasonable cost and income estimates for each component

  • Step 4 – Be sure you have included everything, including overhead if allowed

  • Step 5 – Find out what format the funder prefers if any

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Budget Recap Project Description:

  • Step 6 – Prepare a spreadsheet/summary of costs according to the funder’s specifications

  • Step 7 – Make sure that your budget is neat and mathematically accurate

  • Step 8 - Consider whether a budget narrative is appropriate and if so prepare one

  • Step 9 – Be sure to have your budget and budget narrative reviewed by another person who is familiar with the project

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Budget Narrative Project Description:

  • This is where you describe why you need what you said you were going to buy in the Budget Description.

  • How will a scanner help you accomplish your objectives? If you need that 36 in. high resolution monitor, say why.

  • Be consistent, give the explanations the same numbering system or name as the Budget Description.

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Other information often requested: Project Description:

  • Audited financial statements

  • Organization-wide budgets for recent years

  • List of supporters and other funding sources

  • Budget narrative

  • IRS 990

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Proposal Component: Evaluation and Sustainability Project Description:

  • Must be measurable and quantifiable

  • Use baseline data

  • Evaluate each goal and objective

  • How will you report the final results?

  • What is the impact?

  • How did you measure from the inside? How did you measure from the outside?

  • How will you know to make changes for improvement?

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Evaluation Project Description:

  • Covers product and process

  • Tell who will be performing evaluation and how evaluators will be selected

  • Defines evaluation criteria

  • Describes data gathering methods

  • Explains any test instruments of questionnaires to be used

  • Describes the process of data analysis

  • Shows how evaluation will be used for program improvements

  • Describes evaluation reports to be produced

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Sustainability Project Description:

  • Will the project be continued after period of funding ends?

    • Indicates recipient’s belief in the project

  • What will be done with the information gathered during the project?

  • Important to foundations, non-profit organizations, private funders

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Proposal Component: Conclusion Project Description:

Final Appeal and Summary

  • What you will accomplish

  • Why it’s signifcant

  • Financial summary

  • Who will benefit

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Proposal Recap Project Description:

  • Summary: clearly and concisely summarizes the request

  • Introduction: describes the agency’s qualifications or credibility

  • Problem Statement documents the needs to be met or problems to be solved by the proposed funding

  • Objectives: establishes the benefits of the funding in measurable terms

  • Methods: describes the activities to to achieve the desired results

  • Evaluation: presents a plan for determining the degree to which objectives are met and methods are followed

  • Future Funding: describes a plan for continuation beyond the grant period and/or the availability of other resources necessary to implement the grant

  • Budget: cdelineates costs to be met by the funding source and those to be provided by the applicant or other parties

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Finishing Touches Project Description:

  • Did you proofread?

  • Did someone else proofread?

  • Does your math work?

  • Have you met the deadline for submission?

  • Do you follow directions precisely?

  • Did you keep a complete copy?

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Proposals: Writing Tips Project Description:

  • Keep Narrative Clear and Simple

  • Tell the Reader a Story

  • Use Action Words and Active Tense

  • Make a cohesive, persuasive case for support

  • Avoid jargon

  • Proofread and re-calculate your budget

  • Do not assume prior knowledge of your organization

  • Demonstrate success and credibility (quotes, other support, letters of cooperation)

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5. Implementation Project Description:

  • Reporting requirements include reporting on the actual costs vs. budget

  • Variances often require approval

  • Your budget is something to be considered throughout the grant period

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6. Stewardship Project Description:

  • Say thank you and submit reports on time

  • Invite funders to events and provide newsletters/informal reports

  • Say thank you again!

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Contact Information Project Description:

Deborah Hopkinson

Vice President for Advancement

Pacific Northwest College of Art

503 821-8886

[email protected]

Forthcoming books: Titanic, Voices from the Disaster

A Boy Called Dickens

Annie and Helen

Knit Your Bit!