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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Grant Proposals

How To Developing An Award-Winning Grant Proposal

What is a grant?

A grant is funding that most organizations and sometimes individuals receive to help them to put forth a particular thing or service they're providing. It's funding that comes from either private foundations or funding that comes from the government agency called public. It's normally giving that they normally don't have to pay back.

Who is qualified to get grants?

It depends on what the funder specifies. So if the funder says "We desire to fund youth programs or programs that help families or the homeless, or those that have special needs." The funder determines who qualifies for the funding. If it's a government grant, then the government agency determines who will receive the funding followed by…If it's a private foundation, they can determine what kind of priorities they will give to for the monies they issue out. It really depends on what the funder says.

Does it have to be a foundation or government that would provide a grant, or can some wealthy person decide they want to give a grant, or do they first have to become a foundation before they could provide those monies?

Anybody can give money, so it doesn't necessarily have to be a foundation or individual. But most of the time people who issue out grants are foundations or some kind of government agency. As the government, they don't really benefit directly from issuing out grants other than they are helping to put forth a mission to help resolve a particular problem, but for the individual who does it for a foundation, there are certain tax benefits that they get from giving out that money.

So the average foundation has to give out a certain percentage of money, and that percentage equals out to roughly 5% of their assets every year. So then they determine, these are the areas that we want to give out our money – to these particular priorities. So it's more beneficial for them to have 501c3 status that qualifies them as a foundation.

When you're going to get a grant, what are some of the tips so that you can win that grant. How does one do a proposal?

They can do a proposal in a number of different ways. But the thing I want to share that will be most helpful is that as you are developing your grant, first of all, make sure that you follow all the directions that the funder has provided. The funder normally says "this is what we want you to do to apply for this particular grant". And what happens is you'd be surprised that when people apply for a grant, they don't follow every single direction.  So what happens if they don't follow directions, think about it from the funders perspective: if you don't follow all the directions, then how are you going to use my money? They want to be sure that they give their monies to people who are well-qualified, that will carry out the responsibilities.

So the very first thing to develop an award-winning proposal is that you follow all the directions the funder gives you saying this is what we want. The proposal is essentially telling the story of what you are proposing to do and in doing that something that can really help your grant proposal is to make sure that what you're writing makes sense – that it's not too heady and it's not going to lose people as they read through it. It has to be very practical and it has to be logical. The proposal is not something that is done as a personal appeal but it's something that is logical, very concrete and very factual as well.

As you take that proposal and begin to develop a proposal, telling the story of what you're proposing to do in a very logical way then people are more readily to read it, and it should hopefully make sense to them. And there are some things you can do to add a little spice to it. Maybe adding some charts to it, some facts, some statistics that back up what you are proposing to do. They have to have a visual.  They want to see what the program is about so if you can do some things like adding graphs, charts and things of that nature.

What are the mistakes we need to avoid as we're doing this?

First, if the person writing the grant can avoid some of the jargon. A lot of times, you're writing and you think the person knows exactly what you know, such as acronyms like "our CDC is doing this" and someone on the other end, instead of looking at it as "Community Development Corporation" they may be thinking "is this the Center for Disease Control?" So avoid jargon and also avoid acronyms. If you need to use an acronym, use it, then spell out what it means at least once. Those are some things that will add spice and make sure that your proposal is done right.

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