Proposal Development

The Funding Research Process: Proposal Writing

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The Funding Research Process: Proposal WritingQ:  How do I write a grant proposal?Q:  What should be included in a letter of inquiry?Q:  Where can I find Common Grant Application forms?Q:  How do I write a proposal cover letter?Q:  What is the percentage of grant proposals that foundations actually fund?Q:  Where can I find demographic information about my community?Q:  What is a case statement? Where can I learn more about it?Q:  How should I cite sources in a grant proposal?Q:  What is an RFP?Q:  Where can I find technical assistance or a consultant for my nonprofit?Q:  Should fundraisers be paid a fixed fee or a percentage of the money raised?Q:  Where can I learn more about hiring a consultant?Q:  How do I become a nonprofit consultant or grant writer?Q:  Will foundations fund overhead or administrative costs for nonprofits? What is an acceptable overhead rate?Q:  Where can I learn more about nonprofit audits?Q:  How do I write a grant proposal for my individual project? Where can I find samples?
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Writing a great grant 2014 (Individual Artists)

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THE PRESENTATION FROM THE WORKSHOP DESCRIBED IS EMBEDDED BELOW. Writing a Great Grant: An Overview for Individual ArtistsLed by: Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Executive Director of Fresh Arts, with Christa Forster, author and 4-time winner of the Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist GrantFor individual artists Wednesday, October 22 @ Fresh ArtsJoin Fresh Arts’ executive director Jenni Rebecca Stephenson and 4-time HAA Individual Artist Grant recipient and author, Christa Forster, for a two-hour in depth presentation on best practices when composing and applying for artist project grants. Additionally, Houston Arts Alliance Grants Manager Shannon Teasley will be present to answer any specific question related to the Individual Artist Grant.Our goal with this workshop is to help local artists develop and refine their grant writing skills and to highlight some important and attainable grants administered locally, such as the Houston Arts Alliance's Individual Artist Grant and the Idea Fund. Even if you do not plan to submit any proposals this fall, this overview will be a fantastic opportunity to develop your strategies for framing your work and honing your grant-writing skills.Representatives from both the Houston Arts Alliance and the Idea Fund will be on hand to answer questions about these grant opportunities. Writing a great grant 2014 (Individual Artists) from Fresh Arts
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GrantSpace.org Skills Resources

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GrantSpace provides easy-to-use, self-service tools and resources to help nonprofits worldwide become more viable grant applicants and build strong, sustainable organizations.  GrantSpace is a service of the Foundation Center.Resource Skills Topics include:AccountabilityBoard DevelopmentCareer DevelopmentCollaborationCorporate FundingProposal WritingFinancial ManagementFind Foundation/Corporate DonorsFiscal SponsorshipFundraisingImpact, Outcomes & EvaluationIndividual GivingLeadership & ManagementOrganizational SustainabilityMarketing & CommunicationsSocial EnterpriseStartup & DissolutionVoluntarism  
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Writing a Successful Grant Proposal

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By Barbara Davis, courtesy of MCF, Minnesota Council on Foundations. NOTE:  This article was originally written as part of the Minnesota Council on Foundation's Guide to Minnesota Grantmakers. It gives an excellent overview of the key components of a standard grant proposal with tips on how to present your case effectively. And no, you don't have to be writing a proposal for a program in Minnesota. Everyone can benefit from the information presented here. . . . . A funder’s guidelines will tell you what to include in a grant proposal for its organization. Most funders want the same information, even if they use different words or ask questions in a different order. Some funders prefer that you fill out their own application forms or cover sheets. If the funder uses an application form, be sure to get a copy and follow the instructions. The following outline should meet the needs of most funders, or guide you when approaching a funder with no written guidelines. The outline is for a project proposal, and is most appropriate for a project that is trying to correct a problem, such as water pollution, school truancy or ignorance about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted. (See Variations on the Standard Outline on page 4 for guidance on other types of proposals.) The grant proposal as a whole, not including supplementary materials, should usually be five pages or less.  Consider using subheads for each section, such as “Organization Information,” to help you, and your reader, keep track of what you’re trying to say. SummaryAt the beginning of your proposal, or on a cover sheet, write a two- or three-sentence summary of the proposal. This summary helps the reader follow your argument in the proposal itself. For example: “Annunciation Shelter requests $5,000 for a two-year, $50,000 job training program for homeless women in south- western Minnesota. Training will be offered at four rural shelters and will include basic clerical skills, interview techniques and job seeker support groups.” Organization InformationIn two or three paragraphs, tell the funder about your organization and why it can be trusted to use funds effectively. Briefly summarize your organization’s history. State your mission, whom you serve and your track record of achievement. Clearly describe, or at least list, your programs. If your programs are many or complex, consider adding an organization chart or other attachments that explain them. Describe your budget size, where you are located and who runs the organization and does the work. Add other details that build the credibility of your group. If other groups in your region work on the same issues, explain how they are different and how you collaborate with them, if you do. Even if you have received funds from this grantmaker before, your introduction should be complete. Funders some- times hire outside reviewers who may not be familiar with your organization. Problem/Need/Situation DescriptionThis is where you convince the funder that the issue you want to tackle is important and show that your organization is an expert on the issue. Here are some tips: •            Don’t assume the funder knows much about your subject area. Most grantmaking staff people are generalists. They will probably know something about topics like Shakespeare, water pollution and HIV/AIDS, but you should not assume that they are familiar with Troilus and Cressida, taconite disposal methods or Kaposi’s sarcoma. If your topic is complex, you might add an informative article or suggest some background reading. •            Why is this situation important? To whom did your organization talk, or what research did you do, to learn about the issue and decide how to tackle it? •            Describe the situation in both factual and human interest terms, if possible. Providing good data demonstrates that your organization is expert in the field. If there are no good data on your issue, consider doing your own research study, even if it is simple. •            Describe your issue in as local a context as possible. If you want to educate people in your county about HIV/AIDS, tell the funder about the epidemic in your county — not in the United States as a whole. • Describe a problem that is about the same size as your solution. Don’t draw a dark picture of nuclear war, teen suicide and lethal air pollution if you are planning a modest neighborhood arts program for children. •            Don’t describe the problem as the absence of your project. “We don’t have enough beds in our battered women’s shelter” is not the problem. The problem is increased levels of domestic violence. More shelter beds is a solution . . . read more or download at MCF.org
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How to Get an Artist Grant

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Courtesy of Valerie Atkisson of ArtBistro Do you have a great idea, but can’t afford to make your dreams into a reality? You need an artist grant. Grants are a great benefit to artists. They help beginning creative professionals reach career goals; provide support while working on a specific project and can even enable artists to research for a piece or collection.Sounds great, right? Not so fast — grants are very competitive and the amount awarded, stipulations, and application procedures for each grant vary widely. Some grants are privately funded, while some are publicly funded. And, many are given for a specifically proposed project while some are awarded outright for the work done. But, as one artist/mentor advised me, “Don’t give up until you have applied at least ten times.”How to Apply...Jackie Battenfield, artist and business practices specialist has the following advice about artist grants:“If you aren’t in it you won’t win it. How many times have you rejected yourself by not following through with an application? If you are eligible for an artistic grant, then it is your responsibility to your work to apply for it. Don’t let this year’s rejection keep you from reapplying next year. Panel’s change, your work develops and you may become the perfect match for the grant.Guidelines Many grants are rejected because the applicant has not followed the guidelines. Read the guidelines carefully. If they are online, print them out and use a marker to highlight the most important information. Confirm that your application includes exactly what is requested . . . read more at ArtBistro.com
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Commissions and Grant Writing - Workshop Powerpoint

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By Dr. Michael Remson, American Festival for the Arts.A career seminar presented by Impulse Artist Series and Spacetaker. (Transcript of presentation is available on Slideshare website by clicking the "Commissions & Grant Writing" link belowCommissions & Grant Writing Commissions & Grant Writing from Fresh Arts
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Creating a Budget: How to Figure Out Your Real Project Budget

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Creative Capital prepared these notes for Creative Capital grantees, which may be useful for all grant seekers. Expenses:Pay yourself! This is a new concept for some artists, but it's smarter to figure out now what your time is worth, represent this time in your project budget, and raise money based upon these real costs than to underbudget the project and wind up maxing out your credit cards with expensive, last-minute charges and cash advances. Here are two ways to represent your time in your project budget: If this project is not the primary source of employment or income for you as its director, producer, coordinator, etc., you need to make sure that all artists' fees, including your own, are included in the project budget, and that your organization is "paid" for its services to the project. Organizations typically budget up to 20% of a project's total costs to cover administration and overhead (A), which includes a portion of indirect costs such as bookkeeping, fundraising, audit, and so on. So the A for a $50,000 project would be $10,000, and the "real" budget for this project would be $60,000 (direct costs plus A) . . . read more at  ChicagoArtistsResource.org   
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Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal

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By S. Joseph Levine, Ph.D., courtesy of Learner Associates This Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal was created to help empower people to be successful in gaining funds for projects that provide worthwhile social service. A major theme that runs throughout the Guide is a concern for the development of meaningful cooperative relationships - with funding agencies, with community organizations, and with the people you are serving - as a basis for the development of strong fundable initiatives. The Guide is built on the assumption that it is through collaboration and participation at all levels that long term change can be effected . . . read more at LearnerAssociates.net Proposal Section  TITLEWriting HintsExamplePROJECT OVERVIEWWriting HintsExampleBACKGROUND INFORMATION/ STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMWriting HintsExamplePROJECT DETAIL  - Goals & ObjectivesWriting HintsExample- ClienteleWriting HintsExample- MethodsWriting HintsExample- Staff/AdministrationWriting HintsExampleAVAILABLE RESOURCESWriting HintsExampleNEEDED RESOURCES  - PersonnelWriting HintsExample- FacilitiesWriting HintsExample- Equipment/Supplies/CommunicationWriting HintsExample- BudgetWriting HintsExampleEVALUATION PLANWriting HintsExampleAPPENDICESWriting HintsExample
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Proposal Development & Grant Writing Tips

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By Jacob Kraicer, Courtesy of HFSP, Human Frontier Sciences Program. Writing a successful grant application is an art. Although the science is primarily being evaluated, presentation and respect for the requirements of the funding agency are key aspects that can make or break an application. In this article, Jack Kraicer, former Director of Research Grants at HFSP provides guidelines on preparing grant applications from the moment of conception to the submitting the final proposal.  1. INTRODUCTION "Grantsmanship is the art of acquiring peer-reviewed research funding"The objective of these guidelines is to assist both new and veteran investigators to optimize their chances of successfully competing in a peer-reviewed grant application competition. It is a competition. With success rates falling to 50% or below, the difference between success and failure often results, not just from the quality of the science, but from the quality of the grant application. In all probability, the quality of science of the applications in the 10% below the cut- off for funding by an agency is not significantly different from that in the 10% just above the cut- off. "Grantsmanship" can make the difference. The art of "grantsmanship" will not turn mediocre science into a fundable grant proposal. But poor "grantsmanship" will, and often does, turn very good science into an unfundable grant proposal. Good writing will not save bad ideas, but bad writing can kill good ones.Why am I qualified to give advice ? First, I was successful in obtaining peer-reviewed funding and I served on a number of national and international reviewing bodies for some 30 years. But perhaps more relevant is the fact that I was responsible for the administration of a peer-reviewed research grants program for four years. During this time some 1600 research grant applications were processed.My comments, suggestions, and recommendations are based on this experience, plus documents and discussions listed in the acknowledgements. They are relevant to most peer-reviewed research grant applications to most granting agencies. The information required, formats, and review processes are generally similar.  2. BEFORE YOU START TO WRITE Read the Guidebooks, Guidelines, and Application Forms carefully and follow them exactly. Make sure that you have the latest versions.  - Make sure that your proposal "fits" with the mission of the agency and that your objectives match with those of the agency. Make this "match" explicit in your written application. - If you have any doubts or questions, contact the relevant granting agency person, who will welcome your questions and answer them. They really do want to help. - Find out the median funding level for the agency. This will allow you to formulate a reasonable budget. - Find colleagues who have served on, or have received grants from, the agency. They can give you "insider" information on how the agency works, and what "sells". Begin to formulate / clarify your ideas. - Do you have a clear, concise and testable hypothesis ?  - Are your objectives and aims coming into focus ? - What questions are to be addressed ?  - Can you define and design specific experiments that will test directly your hypothesis? Start the process early (see timetable suggested by Tutis Vilis (section 3.2), which I have modified slightly).Put together and write up your recent work and submit it to appropriate peer-reviewed journal(s). Do this well in advance so that the work can appear in your application as "published", "in press" or "a submitted manuscript". Most granting agencies will not accept a manuscript "in preparation". Your track record, as judged by publications, is an important criterion in the assessment. Carry out appropriate preliminary (pilot) studies, so that their results can be included in the application. This is especially important for new applications. It will also establish for you, and for the reviewers, whether the experimental approaches are feasible and where the pitfalls may be. Find and study previous grant proposals of colleagues that have been successful. Consider these as models.Find out, if you can, who are the members of the review committee and focus accordingly. Identify essential and appropriate investigators who wish to collaborate with you. Discuss ideas with colleagues in the same and relevant fields. Just going through the process of explanation and discussion will help to clarify and focus your ideas, and to identify possible gaps in logic . . . read more at HFSP.org

Grants: Proposal Writing Short Course

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Courtesy of Foundation Center.org The subject of this short course is proposal writing.  But the proposal does not stand alone. It must be part of a process of planning and of research on, outreach to, and cultivation of potential foundation and corporate donors. This process is grounded in the conviction that a partnership should develop between the nonprofit and the donor. When you spend a great deal of your time seeking money, it is hard to remember that it can also be difficult to give money away. In fact, the dollars contributed by a foundation or corporation have no value until they are attached to solid programs in the nonprofit sector. This truly is an ideal partnership. The nonprofits have the ideas and the capacity to solve problems, but no dollars with which to implement them. The foundations and corporations have the financial resources but not the other resources needed to create programs. Bring the two together effectively, and the result is a dynamic collaboration. You need to follow a step-by-step process in the search for private dollars. It takes time and persistence to succeed. After you have written a proposal, it could take as long as a year to obtain the funds needed to carry it out. And even a perfectly written proposal submitted to the right prospect might be rejected for any number of reasons. Raising funds is an investment in the future. Your aim should be to build a network of foundation and corporate funders, many of which give small gifts on a fairly steady basis and a few of which give large, periodic grants. By doggedly pursuing the various steps of the process, each year you can retain most of your regular supporters and strike a balance with the comings and goings of larger donors. The recommended process is not a formula to be rigidly adhered to. It is a suggested approach that can be adapted to fit the needs of any nonprofit and the peculiarities of each situation. Fundraising is an art as well as a science. You must bring your own creativity to it and remain flexible. Gathering Background InformationThe first thing you will need to do in writing your proposal is to gather the documentation for it. You will require background documentation in three areas: concept, program, and expenses. If all of this information is not readily available to you, determine who will help you gather each type of information. If you are part of a small nonprofit with no staff, a knowledgeable board member will be the logical choice. If you are in a larger agency, there should be program and financial support staff who can help you. Once you know with whom to talk, identify the questions to ask. This data-gathering process makes the actual writing much easier. And by involving other stakeholders in the process, it also helps key people within your agency seriously consider the project's value to the organization. Concept  It is important that you have a good sense of how the project fits with the philosophy and mission of your agency. The need that the proposal is addressing must also be documented. These concepts must be well-articulated in the proposal. Funders want to know that a project reinforces the overall direction of an organization, and they may need to be convinced that the case for the project is compelling. You should collect background data on your organization and on the need to be addressed so that your arguments are well-documented. Program  Here is a check list of the program information you require:the nature of the project and how it will be conducted;the timetable for the project;the anticipated outcomes and how best to evaluate the results; andstaffing and volunteer needs, including deployment of existing staff and new hires. Expenses  You will not be able to pin down all the expenses associated with the project until the program details and timing have been worked out. Thus, the main financial data gathering takes place after the narrative part of the master proposal has been written. However, at this stage you do need to sketch out the broad outlines of the budget to be sure that the costs are in reasonable proportion to the outcomes you anticipate. If it appears that the costs will be prohibitive, even with a foundation grant, you should then scale back your plans or adjust them to remove the least cost-effective expenditures.  Components of a Proposal   Executive Summary: umbrella statement of your case and summary of the entire proposal1 page Statement of Need: why this project is necessary2 pages Project Description: nuts and bolts of how the project will be implemented and evaluated3 pages Budget: financial description of the project plus explanatory notes1 page Organization Information: history and governing structure of the nonprofit; its primary activities,  audiences, and services1 page Conclusion: summary of the proposal's main points2 paragraphs  . . . view more
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