Julé C. Colvin, President of Grant Pathways, recently joined us for a webinar in which she showed the key components of a successful grant proposal. She also shared examples of key sections of winning grant proposals, focusing on the need, collaboration, outcomes and budget sections.
If you are new to the grant-seeking arena or are looking for ways to improve your grant proposals, this webinar is for you.
In case you missed it, you can watch the full replay here:
Steven: Hello Jule, are you still with us?
Jule: Yes, I am.
Steven: Cool. I have got 1:00. Do you want to go ahead and get started?
Jule: Yes, let’s do it.
Steven: All right let’s do it. Well, good afternoon everyone, if you are on the East Coast, and good morning if you are on the West Coast, or somewhere in between. Thanks for being here for today’s webinar, An Introduction to Grant Writing. And my name is Steven Shattuck, and I am the VP of marketing here at Bloomerang, and as always, I will be moderating today’s discussion. And before we begin, I just want to go through a couple of housekeeping items. I just want everyone to know that we are recording this presentation, and I will be sending out the recording a little later on this afternoon so if you want to review some of the content or maybe share it with a colleague or a friend, you will be able to do that a little later on this afternoon.
I will also just be resending the slides just in case you didn’t get them from me earlier. And I want to encourage everyone listening today to please use the chat box right there on your webinar interface for any questions that you may have for our guest, any comments. We are going to have a Q&A session a little later on towards the end of the presentation. So please do use that; don’t be shy. We are going to save some time for questions at the end, and that’s usually a pretty fun part of the webinar so don’t be shy about that at all.
And I just want to say a few words about Bloomerang; maybe this is your first Bloomerang webinar. If you are not already familiar with us, we are a fundraising database software program, so if you are not using something or maybe you are not happy with your current provider, please do check us out, some really great software there in addition to all the great educational programs that we do every week including today. So I want to go ahead and introduce today’s guest. She is Jule Colvin. Hi there, Jule, how is it going?
Jule: Hey fantastic, thank you so much.
Steven: Yeah, thanks for being here. This is really exciting. We have had a lot of requests for presentations on grant writing, so this is really great of you to be here. And for those of you who don’t know Jule, she is President of Grant Pathways. She is also a certified coach. She is a trainer and a speaker through the International John Maxwell team. Actually, in her career, she has raised many millions of dollars over the past 30 years for a wide variety of charities through her grant writing skills. And she has also served as a career counselor, a program manager, a volunteer manager, director of development and as executive director for several non-profits, so she is not just a talking head; she’s actually been there and done the work, and that’s really reflected in her presentation.
I had a chance to look through some of the slides, and really excited about it. This is going to be a lot of fun. And Jule, I don’t want to take any more time away from you, so why don’t you go ahead and get us started?
Jule: Well, thank you such Steven for the introduction, and for this really great opportunity to present this part of what I have learned about grant writing over the past 30 years to everyone here today, so thank you so much. And then hello to everybody on the webinar. It would be great if I could see where everybody is located around the country. I am talking to you from sunny Tampa, Florida. I will try not to rub that in too much, but we haven’t had too much snow yet or any of that, so. But thank you for joining me for the next hour, and I have really been looking forward to this time I am sharing with you today. I wrote my first grant 30 years ago, and it was a federal grant for $90,000, and it was for a runaway youth shelter in a rural area in Ohio.
And I would like to say I had just turned 10 years old, but no, that wasn’t the case. Thirty years ago I just graduated from college, and I had a wonderfully empowering boss who believed in me and coached me through the writing of that, and when we won that I was just really hooked. I loved the way I could take my writing skills, my attention to detail and organizational skills and just reap such great rewards for charity as a result of that, and certainly had no idea that 30 years later I would have been able to help raise millions of dollars for charity in a way that I could not have from my own pocketbook of course.
So while grant writing is certainly laborious, it can be fraught with disappointment, it really is still that chance of winning and getting greater impact for good that really keeps me going after all these years, and I am sure that those of you who are on the line, that desire to make a big impact is why so many of you are on the call today. So today, we are going to be, as you could imagine, trying to get too deep into grant writing over a 45 minute period of time, is not possible. So we will be taking kind of a $30,000 foot view of the keys to winning grants. We will occasionally dive deeper into more of the micro view as we move along, but as you know there are just so many components for a successful grant seeking that we cannot possibly cover all of them in less than an hour.
So I am so glad this is being recorded, and that you also have the opportunity to go back and look at some of the slides because I will be talking quickly and moving quickly through this so we will have time for questions at the end, and then you will have an opportunity to review. So we are going to jump right in, and I wanted to start just simply with the definition of what a grant is so we make sure we are all on the same page. It’s simply a gift of money from an organization, usually a foundation, and there are lots of different types of foundations. There are family foundations, individuals, communities and corporations or some type of government entity whether it’s something at your local city level or all the way up to the federal level. It’s not an individual donor, and it does not have to repaid, so that’s the great part about the grant.
They are given to nonprofits for costs or wide variety of costs such as administrative, programs, on capital purchases, equipment, capacity building, training, building and rehab. And as some of you may already know, the administrative piece and getting grant money for the administrative cost or overhead of staff tend to be the most difficult to get, but not impossible. Now next I’d like to talk just kind of a generality of what funders are generally looking for, and this kind of gives you a philosophical look from the funder’s perspective.
The bottom line is that funders are social investors, so if you think of… if any of you watch the Shark Tank and you see how the sharks approach how they are investing, you can draw some similarity between social investors and Shark Tank investors because they want to know is your agency capable of doing what you say, will you handle their money well, and most importantly, will you have a social ROI, will you have a social return on investment for their money. They are looking at making an impact either in the subject area, perhaps cancer research, on in their geographic area, and so they want to know what’s the ROI going to be, and they are comparing your application to other applications that they are considering, they are thinking of that also, which is going to have the greatest impact here.
Now, in terms of what they are looking for with a program, they want to see programs that incorporate measurable outcomes, which we will talk about a little bit later in the presentation, best practices, a good use of resources including in kind, volunteers, collaboration. That collaboration is the piece that I have seen really grow in its importance with funders over the last 30 years. And I will mention also, if you are not aware of what in-kind is, I imagine those people on the line are, I will be talking about that a little bit later also. They are looking in terms of your program; do you have a qualified staff running the program? What are your success rates and your success stories?
Now, for those of you on the call who maybe you are just getting started with grant writing and you say “Okay, we are a new organization; we really don’t have our success rate and stories yet,” don’t be too concerned about that because there are funders out there who are interested in start-up and seed funding. So not all is lost with that, but certainly your chances are better if you have had some experience behind you and success rates and stories there. Then do you have a component in your program that you are evaluating what you are doing and you are following up to see past the immediate, past the numbers of people that you are serving, past the immediate impact what is more of some of the longer term impact. I mean that can vary all the way from a year from now to five years from now.
And then the next thing they are looking for is, is there some innovative piece in here, and I know that’s not always the case that you are able to do that, but what makes you unique and then what is kind of the innovative part of what you are seeking funding under. And then at an agency level, they are looking for a sound agency that shows a board that gives and is active. And I want to stop there for just a moment because this is something that’s been interesting as I have watched the grant writing world and funders over the last 30 years, is that more and more you will find on grant applications the question “What percentage of your board is giving personally financially to the organization?” And then sometimes they will go as far as to ask “What percentage of your budget is given personally by your board?”
Now we could spend half an hour just talking about that, but briefly I want to say that your goal should be to make yourself the most competitive in the grant world, is to have a board that is giving, of its own personal finances, 100%. I won’t go into more detail about that because it gets into a lot of philosophy that I like talking about, but we will move on to the next thing. Then under a sound agency also they want to see that you have solid financials. They want to see that you have a sufficient balanced budget. We will talk a bit more about budgets later, but the interesting thing here is that you want to show a balanced budget, but you want to show a need, but you also want to make sure that you are not showing too much of the need so they think you might close next week. So that’s where that sufficient part comes in.
So that’s really kind of a dance there with your budget piece, and again, we will talk about that in a few minutes. They want to look at what has your past funding been, have you had funding success, who have you had funding from and what were your successes there. And then the next bullet is what are your funding sources in general, are you solely relying upon grant, are you relying heavily upon grant or would this grant fund that whole project. What they would prefer to see is that you have a deep and wide funding base that consists of what I am sure most of you on the line understand, probably all of you. It consists of several components, grant writing being a part of it, fundraising events, donors and major donors and perhaps some social enterprise and maybe some fee-based things, but that is the key component certainly that they are looking at.
And then the next thing has to do with administrative versus program spending. If you have ever looked at the Better Business Bureau and the keys for the charitable accountability standards, you will see that their recommendation is that your administrative cost not be more than I believe it’s 25% to 30% is how they outline that. And we have seen so much reporting unfortunately because of such a small percentage of nonprofits who do things that are fraudulent. But there are those there that the administrative percentages are very, very high as compared to programs, and so a funder wants to see that you have a good balance there and that you are spending more money on programs than you are on your administrative cost.
And then another thing there is the sound record keeping that they know you are going to be able to report back to them well once you have won the money. And then they are looking of course for a well-written proposal that’s clear and succinct, that follows directions to the letter, that has a heart and a head focus. And my team, I have a team of writers that works with me, and what we look at is how are we presenting a good strong case for the brain, but also how are we pulling on the purse strings and the heart strings so that there is some type of a balance there. And then kind of going hand in hand with that, are there some stories included as you are able.
I am sure you are all familiar with all of the For Dummies books that are out there, and there is a grant writing for dummies that was written by Beverly Browning, who I had the opportunity to meet with her, have a little personal conversation several years ago, and attend one of her workshops. She told about how in all of her proposals she includes some type of story that is actually in the narrative or perhaps in a little text box on the site. She includes scripture sometimes, and she has even done that in a Federal grant. She’s like whatever I can do to kind of catch people off-guard and get their heart involved in this also.
And then obviously the final thing is that this proposal shows that you want to help the funder achieve their goals. So they have goals that they want to achieve with their dollars, and what we always do is make sure that we work to use their language, that they are using, back into our proposal so that we see that we are helping them to achieve those goals.
A quick little side trail here is that before you actually get started writing grants we have a tool box. Now one of the things that has amazed me over the last 30 years is there is a colleague of mine who made the statement once that I just love, she said “If you know one foundation, you know [inaudible 00:15:53]” because they all are very different. They have different focus on what they are looking for; some of them are very approachable, they want you to approach them; some of them, you can’t even find a phone number; they don’t want you to approach them. So there are a lot of different personalities involved in that, and are different formats.
Some of the times they will want a letter of intent because it’s kind of a free application, which I love, because it gives you an opportunity to share what you are doing and hear back from them of whether they want a full proposal or not before you actually go through all the trouble of putting something together. Sometimes you … a letter proposal that maybe is typically two pages long. Other times, there is an online process that might take you 20 hours, and to go through a federal grant, it can be 40 to 60 hours that it takes you to put that together. So there is not only the different formalities and different focus, but there are also different types of applications that go with that.
But if they are going to be asking for attachments, so it’s good to have attachments and kind of some basic information that you have got at your hand before you ever get started. And with all the clients that we work with, we use Basecamp to oversee all of our projects, and so we take all of this information with our clients and we put it on Basecamp so that we can then have that handy as we are preparing applications to them.
So the first thing, a board list, and what I recommend is that not just the board list but just a list of names and their positions on the board, but that it also includes their contact information and the experience that they are bringing to the board, that it includes their gender and their race. And the reason I say that is because there will be funders who will ask about it, and so instead of trying to scramble at the last minute to pull all of that together when you are putting something out there, have all of that together, and then if you don’t need to share all of that information, then you don’t worry about that. Don’t share all of it and do a base report, but at least you will have that to pull from.
The next slide, two years of financials, typically would be an attachment. And if you are a start-up and you don’t have that, and they take applications from start-ups and seed money, just give them what you do have. Job descriptions for your staff. Having agency budget and then program budget, now of course not knowing exactly the organizations that you are working with, and some of you may have an agency that the program is for agency. So, for example, one of our clients has a shelter for pregnant teens and women, and that’s all they do, so their agency budget is the same as their program budget. But if you are an organization that has an overall budget and then separate programs, it’s important that you delineate those out and separate them out into separate programs so that you can easily be able to pull out, if you have a funder who is interested in one program that you do but not necessarily interested in another that you can quickly pull that out.
Support letters and collaboration, this is of your collaboration, and let’s say that you are an organization, you are a grant writer but you are not talking one-on-one with program staff and know exactly who they have collaborations with, making sure that you get an understanding of that because as you will see when we talk a little bit later on here how important those are. Of course your 501(c) (3) letter, staff resumes, understanding of your other funding sources and working those out, past successes, you have written out some stories if you have those. And then the written plan refers to having a strategic plan for you might call it a business plan, most nonprofits call it a strategic plan, but often times a funder will ask for that for at least it’s something that you can be looking into to what you are planning for in the future. So that’s just a little bit of a basic tool box. I am sure you will want to add other things as you move through the process.
Now these are some of the key elements of a successful grant proposal. Again, when I said you know one funder, you know one funder. This will vary. Sometimes I still get amazed at new questions that I am asked after all these years, but here are some of the basics. Stating the need and the problem, identification, there is that collaboration word again, sharing who you are collaborating with, of course the description of your program that you are asking the funding for, the capabilities and history of your agency, trying to incorporate unique and innovative answers, your budget and that [inaudible 00:21:04] just a minute; we will be going into this a little bit later.
But the budget, often times we will find that a grant writer, especially since we are more word-oriented typically than we are numbers-oriented, are like “I have got to get all this narrative done because [inaudible 00:21:20], and oh gosh, I have got to get this budget done.” Well the important thing is to remember that the budget is really key to your grant application and not to do it hurriedly. It really is meant to be the proposal in numbers. In the past, as I served as a reviewer for federal grants, one of the things that we did through those as reviewers was to start by looking at the budget. We should be able to review… if someone’s looking at your proposal they should be able to look at that budget and say “Oh now I have got an idea of what I should be seeing in that proposal, in the narrative portion and vice versa.”
And the in-time part, and so what I’m referring to with in-time, is tracking your volunteer hours, donations that you get of goods and services. So the importance of this is that this can often be used as matching money in grants. And if it’s used as matching money, it gets to be the opportunity to show that we are a for-profit company and we were feeding the hungry for example in our community. It would cost us this amount, but because we get all of this donation of volunteer time and materials and services, we are able to do it for this amount so they can really see how you are getting a bang for your buck.
And I would say with the in-kind, with the tracking of the volunteers, there is a rate that you should be able to just do a simple Google search for kind of what the going rate is for a volunteer in your state. Here in Florida, it’s somewhere between $18 and $20 an hour, and so what we will do with our clients when we are working on a budget, and you will see this when we show an example, we will show here is the in-kind amount, $18 an hour times X hours times X volunteers, and we are able to explain what that is. So that’s a really key part. Then the next little block there is your volunteers, being able to describe about your volunteers, and we use some measurable outcomes, which is a huge component, and then evaluation.
Now of course we don’t have the time today to go to all of those so I have pulled out just some key components out of that list. Then I would like to share with you some critical components, and then show you an example of each of these different types of sections that we will be talking about.
So, here are critical components of the needs section. Now, for those of you who have been writing perhaps for a while, this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list but just a general kind of overriding most important parts of the needs section. Certainly you want to use statistics in these needs section, and we make sure that it’s something that makes sense, that you are not just throwing out some statistics that don’t really relate to what you are doing. If you are writing for a local funder that you are using local statistics as much as you possibly can, that they are up-to-date, so especially if you have been writing for a while, and we do this as we have been writing for a year for a client. We make sure we go back and look at okay do we have updated statistics for them, keeping those current.
Another interesting action is intertwining story and testimony if it’s possible in that needs section, and that might be something like a particular student, this at-risk student, this is what their life looks like now, what their life looks like and then showing the need and then relating it to how you were able to help through that. Making sure that you address every area that the funder requests, so there are times that this needs section will get very, very specific in what the funder is looking for, so making sure that you address every [inaudible 00:25:33] and detail that they are asking for there. Telling how the need is going unmet, and then working to make the need critical to the funder.
So let’s take a moment now and look at a sample needs section of a winning grant that we put together for one of our clients. Now few years ago we were able to help them with a federal grant that they have now been receiving for several years, and this is through a Citizenship Instruction and this is for United Methodist Cooperate Ministry, a large ministry here in the Tampa area. In fact, I will skip through this. I won’t read word for word, and hopefully you are able to read this well. There is a critical need for Citizenship Instruction, and we mentioned the two counties here in Florida, a state ranked 4th in the nation by the Department of Homeland Security for its number of LPRs.
Now I gave a little sidebar here is when you are writing, and if you are writing kind of to a general foundation about your program, you want to be careful not to use acronyms and abbreviations and kind of wording that only your funding area or your area of concentration might know. But in this case we put LPRs because that is the language that was be used by the funder, and it stands for legal permanent residents. So, the state ranked 4th in the nation by the Department of Homeland Security for its number of LPRs. These two counties are home to a large and growing number of immigrants from multiple countries as is evidenced by the following statistics, and then we share those statistics.
The Hispanic/Latino population increased by 71.3% from 2000 to 2010 in Pinellas County. Wow, that’s a very interesting statistics there. But then what we did is instead of just putting a percentage we also put what is that number, what is the total population then. Then we mentioned Clearwater, which is the 6th largest city in Florida, also located in Pinellas County, saw a 93% increase in other types of immigrants and refugees, and then we give another statistic there.
Then as we go on to the next bullet, we say that a language other than English is spoken at home by 38,739 Manatee County residents. Now the reason also that we wanted to make sure we put that number in there is when you put 12%, that may not seem like a large number, but if you look at it in terms of the total number, wow, yeah that’s significant. And then you go on to the next, which is 12% in Pinellas County, but that’s over 100,000 residents. And then we say 44% of the residents, which this is also an important statistic reported speaking English less than very well in that county. Then we say according to a recent Center for Immigration Study, the foreign language-speaking countries that supplied the largest number of new immigrants in the area, and then we spell all of those out, we mention all of those that are showing there are wide variety of immigrants and refugees we have here.
Then we said unfortunately, growing number of LPRs in these two counties, the options for comprehensive, student-focused Citizenship Instruction are limited. Now there is where we use the language of the funder. They are looking for comprehensive student-focused Citizenship Instruction, so we mention that there. And then we have who the other organizations are in the area that are providing that, and we show that they are only one of the other organizations that’s only serving 100 clients, and the other is only serving 46 and there are some budgets cuts involved in that. So that makes it even more critical.
And the final paragraph here is in Manatee County who are the other organizations that are providing similar types of work, and then the limited number, and we are able to look back up to the vast need there and how limited the need is being met. Now there are some applications you will do that this needs section will be much smaller. In this Federal application it’s ten pages total. It’s double spaced, so this was the amount of space that we had in there.
Now we move on to that collaboration section. This is providing the details of who you collaborate with, being as descriptive as possible about the specifics of the relationships, describe agreements that you may have, and then some of the funding applications you will get, they call those MOUs, Memorandums of Understanding. Sometimes you will have to submit those with your application. Describing your referral sources if you have the ability to do that, how in your collaborations with other organizations you are referring back and forth with clients, and then explaining how your agency is unique in its contributions to those collaborations and what it brings to that.
Now, you will probably have difficulty getting all of this into a collaboration section, so we have a little space as you will see, but here is a sample section that we did. This is Alpha House of Pinellas County which is a housing for pregnant teenagers and women. And it says “Alpha House works in collaboration with numerous agencies and entities throughout the area to assist in service provision.” So that’s letting them know we are really connected, and that’s important. They have a collaborative agreement with Family Resources, who provides the residential program, and it has details there with a case manager, and they tell this is through a Department of Health and Human Services grant.
And then they say “We have collaborations with two other organizations, Lighthouse Credit Counseling and USA 100,” and how those organizations help to provide some life skills classes to the organization. The agency has a collaborative agreement with Operation PAR, and they get very detailed about what that involves. And then at the end, they say “In addition, Alpha works closely with,” and so that’s different than, as you see, this is more of a loose type of arrangement and how they work closely with those different organizations, an idea how you want to do all that collaboration section.
And then critical components of the outcomes section, this has indeed become one of the most important parts of your grant application. From my part of the world, when I started writing 30 years ago, outcome measurements were really not even a part of the language that we were using, and then, and in my personal experience, in the late ’80s early ’90s as I was in Ohio, the United Way there really began this big push for measurable outcomes and doing a lot of explanation of what that meant and what a logic model was. And so it’s really more and more since those years has become critical to successful grant writing, making sure you have measurable outcomes. And so, one of the ways to make sure that you have measurable outcomes is that they are SMART. They are specific, they are measurable, they are achievable, they are reasonable, and they are timely, but you know, I am sure you have heard kind of interchangeable with goals, we want to have smart goals.
The second key thing here is being certain that as you start to write down what these outcomes are that your team believes they can achieve these. The last thing you want to have happen is you win this grant, and you had put down these lofty numbers and the team says “Well, we can’t do this.” What is worse than not getting a grant is getting the grant and not being able to perform so that’s a key part there. Of course, being logical in your description, and I mentioned the logic model so really thinking through the logic of how this all fits together, using numbers and percentages and being certain that the outcomes are a good match with the funder’s goals, and I will explain that in a minute here in one of my examples what I am referring to there.
So here is an example, an application for one of our clients that is a foundation from a bank, so the bank has its own foundation, which many banks do by the way, and they focus on early childhood development and are especially interested in kids getting into kindergarten at a good rate, and they also told us you could only have up to three goals here. So we said “At least 85% of enrolled children will exhibit an increase in school readiness skills each year. Each child is assessed for kindergarten readiness at key touch points throughout the year, and ABC will continue to successfully transition at least 85% of the children in our care successfully on to kindergarten.”
Now the writer on this one kind of put two outcomes in there. Perhaps they might have done a better job by doing three, but this one, so the funder must have been happy with it. But they are showing… what you see that’s key there is that they are showing the specific percentages and then how they are going to measure that. They are going to measure it through these key pre and post test throughout that, and then seeing that children actually can be documented to successfully making it on to kindergarten.
Now the next goal here is “75% of the enrolled children will show an increase in technology awareness, successfully manipulating iPads and Smartboard in the classroom.” This is kind of a secondary outcome that we wrote in for this funder because this grant application, actually part of it was to purchase iPads and a Smartboard for this classroom, it was particularly a pre-school for low income children and so we included that as a part of it also. And we could have said there would be a pre and post test in there, but it really wasn’t important to do that, and this is where kind of you get into the art and science of grant writing. We knew that it would be fine with the funder that that is the way that we worded it based upon what we were asking for. So that’s one example on a simple application of an outcome.
Another example here is for a program that is after-school program BEST called Brain Explorations for Science and Technology, something like that. And we said here “40 students will attend the BEST Program.” Years ago in grant writing, we might have stopped there, but now it’s like okay, we are serving 40, but of the youth who attend the BEST program 90% will successfully complete the entire curriculum, and of the youth who complete the entire curriculum, over 85% will demonstrate an increased knowledge and understanding in science and health disciplines as measured by pre and post test scores. I will quickly go through the next ones here because I am a little bit past where I wanted to be at this point, and I want to make sure… I see there are lot of questions that are rolling through so I want to make sure I get a chance to answer some of those.
The next is sometimes when you are putting together an application, this happens to be of a city grant application in St. Petersburg. They will actually give you the chart that you have to fill out in order to talk about your outcomes. And so here you will see they want to know what are the objectives in the first column, they want qualitative and quantitative, then they want to know how you are going to measure it and what tools you are using in the second column, and then if you were… the year before how did you perform. And what I like about this, and hopefully you will be able to use this as you are devising outcomes for your grant application is it’s just a good tool to use to say even if I am not required to use this in my grant application, this is how I can outline okay, what is it that I am measuring and how am I going to measure it and what tool am I going to use.
The second part of that on the next page then is they asked about process objectives. And so on this page, we were able to go through and talk about what the process was to how this would be, how they would follow up, and you will see there it says that “50% of St. Petersburg residents that we served will remain stably housed after six months of receiving assistance from this client.” And then the next column says “We use program records, we use TBIN records, which here is called our Tampa Bay Information Network,” which probably most of you have networks like that in your area, and then the staff would be conducting a follow-up. So that’s touching, that’s that 30,000 foot view of outcomes measurement there.
This next one again is just kind of restating how in that Citizenship Instruction federal grant that I showed you early on we showed that we were going to serve 200 of the LPRs, 160 would demonstrate improved knowledge based on standardized pre and post test, 100 would make application for citizenship, 50 would pass the citizenship test, and 48 become naturalized citizens. So you can see how that narrowed down into what those results would be.
Now the final section we want to take a look at here real quickly is the budget section, and again, the reason I wanted to mention this is because it is so important that you not just look at the narrative part but really focus also on this budget. We want to make sure that you follow the directions very carefully. Be sure that the budget shows a need for the grant. Be sure that the budget is balanced. Show in-kind in the budget if you are able. If they say don’t show in-kind, exclude in-kind, then exclude it, but if you are able to, certainly put that in there. Be sure it follows with your program description and narrative that I mentioned. This should be telling a story just the things your narrative holds, and then just making sure that all your costs are allowable, making sure that you are not asking for staffing cost if it says they won’t pay for staff, so making sure that that is a component. Make sure you double and triple check your numbers, and if at all possible, get an outside reviewer to take a look especially when you are doing a larger grant that has a lot of moving part to it in the budget.
So what we would like to do next, and Steven, if you could help me out with this, we want to review some sample budgets real quickly. The first one we want to take a look at is, and this is again where you kind of get to the art and the science of grant writing and kind of knowing what the funder is referring to. And this funder asked me for a project budget, and sometimes you can think “Oh they need a program budget,” but for this one what they are wanting is just the budget for the money that you are asking for, just for this particular thing that you are doing.
So in this example, this is very simple. We were asking for $7,500 for playground equipment for a low income preschool for homeless and low income children, and so the cost of that was $7,500. As you see there at the top, the Community Foundation of Greater St. Petersburg was asking you for $7,500. But then what’s key at the top is that we want to show them we are not just asking you for all of that, this is what we are bringing to the table. This particular program we call the Family Village, and we are going to provide five volunteers for eight hours at $18 an hour to install the playground equipment. And so that becomes kind of the match in that, and then you give the total income amount of the $8220.
Then when you go down to the project expense, you have the purchase of two separate pieces we explained which that would be shown in the narrative, and then again, we balance out with the in-kind volunteers, the 720, and then that balances out that budget. And then if you could go to the next budget, which I think should be called program budget, if I remember correctly. So here we have an example, and this just shows a very different type of budget you can get involved in.
This is an example of a budget that is for actually the Emergency Food and Shelter Program that the federal program that comes down to the local level, and it’s to help provide food and shelter in the community. What’s your prior year actual numbers? What is your current year budgeted, and what is the proposed change and then what is the proposed budget at the end. And so you can see here again, this is very program specific. We are not talking about the organization as a whole but just specifically. So the contributions here we see are $13,400 and what we see at the end, I will go just to the end column, is $16,000. And we are showing the in-kind food, so this particular client gets food donated that is a match to this value that is $8320.
And then the in-kind volunteer labor that helped with this program and then the in-kind rent, and it shows all of that as being what this particular client is bringing to the table. And then you go down at the bottom, they give the operating expenses and how all of this balances out. Again, I wish I could spend much more time on this, but this gives you just an idea of some of the things you might come up against as you are preparing budget.
And then if you could go to the total agency budget, [inaudible 00:45:19] again, this is a form that was budget of this particular client. It’s their prior fiscal total, their projected program and then the outside agency that they are asking for the funds from. In this case where it says local foundation and $20,000, that is the organization they are asking $20,000 from. And then you see that the ask is for $7,500 in salaries and wages, $2,500 in benefits and $10,000 in specific assistance to individuals, and in this case, I think that includes things like potentially cost for GED tests and all of these kind of wrap around services that they are providing for this particular product.
Then the very last thing I want to show under this budget section is what a budget narrative should look like. Sometimes you will get an application that they will want the narrative. The form will actually be “Here is the budget, and right next to it we want you to detail the narrative,” and sometimes you will do it right there right beside the numbers. But in this case, this is one where you work… this is that federal grant that I talked about early on, and it shows how we detailed very, very specifically the in-kind cost associated with it. I won’t go in detail a whole lot, but you can take a look at that later as you get a chance to see this when it’s emailed to you. Then you see there is personnel involved there, and it goes into detail of that. Then we detail office supplies that would be needed, and other direct costs that are involved in this. So you see that when they ask you for a narrative, you want to get a narrative part of the budget, you want to get very, very specific with that.
All right, I think that’s the end of those particular documents, so if you want to exit those out of here. I believe we are at the point for some questions and answers and maybe we could take… I hate to say five minutes but…
Steven: Yes, it was too much good stuff, that was awesome.
Jule: Yes, yes, yes, and certainly people can feel free to e-mail me their questions. I will be glad to do that. Also, you can e-mail me at ju[email protected]
Steven: Yes, and I will share that with everyone because there are so many good questions here, probably way more than we can get to. But there was one from Sarah that a lot of people seemed to think was a good question, and I wanted to jump to that one really quickly. Let me see if I can find that again. Yeah. So Sarah asked Jule, “What are your thoughts on writing multiple proposals to a handful of foundations for the same project? Is budgetary overlap inevitable or should you carefully balance the content and deployment of the requests?” What do you think about that?
Jule: Yeah, that’s a great question, really great question. There are lot of things that will play into that answer. Certainly if you are just getting started with putting applications out there, your chances of success are smaller, so you might go ahead, and it’s okay, I can send out several here. If not, and you know you have some history and you think there is some really strong possibility that you are going to be funded, I would agree about maybe putting out a couple of applications at the same time for a particular need. I would be concerned about sending out more than a couple.
Now the other side of that is though that is a funder like… You certainly have the ability to go back to them, and say, “Well, we just found out that we have received funding for this, maybe you had partial, maybe part of it was funded of what was requested, would you still consider funding this other component,” and perhaps then starting relationship with them saying “We did receive this, we do have some other needs that we have, would you entertain receiving that from us?” We have certainly had that happen with a client. So I think really early on, and when you are just getting started you can probably put a few out there, but as time goes on and you have had more success under your belt, I would try to limit it to a couple at a time.
Steven: That’s good advice. There is one from Jim here, I thought was interesting. Jim is wondering “Are there some hot button phrases that should be added or maybe avoided when doing a federal grant proposal, any phrases that you should definitely put in that maybe will jump on page at someone or something you should avoid there?”
Jule: Oh I love that question because having served as a reviewer of federal grants, these grants will be most of the time reviewed by a panel and then they will go to the staff. So they will go to the staff to make sure they are meeting the general requirements, then they go out to a panel of experts, and then they go back to the staff again. And so when that happens, when you are a reviewer, I will get a box, a box will be delivered to me, and I am going to be spending the next ten days reviewing application. And as I am doing that, and I am looking at the guidelines and the scoring sheet because that’s really where I am going, I am going to read it through once, then I am going to go to the scoring sheet and I am going to start looking for the specific language that we asked you to use in that request.
And the easier you can make it for me to find it, the better it’s going to be in your score because if you happen to look and look for it, you might miss it. So my answer to that would be regurgitate the language that you hear the application asking for, just go right back regurgitating that language that they can easily see that you are addressing what they have been requesting.
Steven: Cool. Here is one from Lisa that I like. And I apologize I am just kind of jumping to the questions that kind of pull out at me. This is from Lisa. She says “More recently I am seeing online/interactive grant applications and reporting on grant fund [inaudible 00:52:19]. What is the environment like, and how is it trending as far as like Word docs versus PDFs versus online apps? Where do you kind of see that going? Do you think everything will be kind of done online through forms or through paperwork, physical paperwork? What’s that kind of look like right now?”
Jule: Yeah absolutely we will see it move. I have seen it move more and more and more towards the online applications, and I can’t imagine that that would change. I am actually kind of surprised at the number that has been slow to do that, even like doing a local community development block grant application for one of the local cities here I was amazed that okay, you are really making this more difficulty for us than it needs to be. It’s like you have got all of these, and literally, I am not joking, I had to wheel the box in with all of the copies from my client because it was so heavy, there was not a way I could just… so it’s crazy. So using that online system I see happening more and more.
But I will tell you a little, kind of beware of that. One of our clients, they were under a 501(c)(3) of the general United Methodist Church. Now they are applying for separate 501(c)(3) now, but they were under that general funding, and we had trouble because these automated systems will look at your 501(c)(3) number and you have got to get in there, and they kept picking us out because it wasn’t a match, and so that was part of why we finally convinced our client to get a separate 501(c)(3) because there are numerous applications we can’t get into because of that. Some will let us move around it, but others won’t, so.
Steven: Interesting, cool. Well, I know we didn’t get to all the questions, and I just want to give Jule the last few minutes because she has got some cool offers for you. But I know she did state that she would answer questions by e-mail. So I will be sharing her e-mail address so that folks can e-mail her directly. I would definitely encourage you to do so because she is obviously a wealth of knowledge, and I want you all to get your questions answered for sure. So Jule, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you have got going on here in your organization and how folks can find out more about you?
Jule: Great, great. Thank you. Thanks so much, and yes I look forward to getting those questions. Yeah, our website www.grantpathways.com, so I certainly at a minimum would love for you to visit our website and see all that our company has going. We are not just about grant writing, but also about a lot of capacity building, leadership training type of services, so would love for you to visit there. And if you scroll down a little bit, the freebie there is on the right hand side, a free report, “10 Keys to Winning Grants,” and you will get that by signing up, and then we promise we won’t inundate you with the e-mails that you will find out about other trainings and workshops and special offers that we will have, and then tips for grant writing too that we can also share with you. So that’s the freebie of it.
But I really wanted to offer to everyone today a couple of really special discounts. As I thought about the type of people that would be here on this Bloomerang webinar, that you would see two types of people. One, the individual who is just getting started in grant writing, and perhaps you are in a smaller nonprofit and all of a sudden they said “Hey, we think you are a good communicator; would you start writing some grants for us?” So you become an accidental grant writer, even as really I kind of became 30 years ago, and so you are really thinking well how do I get more information, how do I expand my knowledge. And then the other is the organization, that you have been writing, you have been having some success, so you want to take your success to a new level, or perhaps you would like to say “Hey, we would like to get involved with a team that can help us get to the next level.”
So what I am offering today for the organizations, and this is separate from the individuals, but for the organizations who would like to get to that next level, is to take this first step with us, and it’s not saying that you have to move forward with us after this; certainly, you can do these things and then stop, but is to get a free grant readiness assessment today. [Inaudible 00:56:55] that is $275 that we charge to send out a questionnaire for you, you send it back to us, and we give you a report about the things that you need to do to help improve your grant readiness.
And then the second thing on top of that is a reduced price grant research project, which is normally $500, and for today only, well [inaudible 00:57:18] next 24 hours so when I say today, that’s 24 hours. And what we do is we belong to the Foundation Center, we pay several hundred dollars to belong to that, and with that and other tools we will work out the specifics of your organization and give you a very detailed foundation prospect list that isn’t just a name of an organization but detail about their application deadlines, what kind of things that they will fund, who are their board members, how much money do they have, what do they typically give out, and we will make that very specific for you.
And so for the next 24 hours to the first 25 organizations that sign up for this we will do that for $350. Now this will not include government grants, statewide or national or an organization that is statewide or national. If you are interested in us doing that for you, please certainly e-mail me, but this report is meant to be for foundations. And the way you get in on that, and being one of the first 25 in the 24 hours to do, just e-mail at [email protected], and then we will get back with you, and let you know if you are one of the first 25.
Then the next offer is for those for you who are individuals, and this again is for the next 24 hours. It is $125 off our exclusive on-line eight hour, which is four two hours of grant writer training course that we are starting in January. The dates will be on the website; you will be able to see that. What I love about this is that I know we are doing that’s unique above any others that are out there that I am seeing is this is really in the trenches teaching and an experience with our team of six writers. So every month, we are putting out at least 10, 15, 20 grant applications, and as I mentioned to you earlier, we are doing those on Basecamp.
What we will do with you in this session is we will dive deeper into building a successful proposal in each of those sessions. You will be reviewed; those writing [inaudible 00:59:31] would be reviewed by our staff. We will give you a sample, we will allow you to view a sample of a grant that we are currently working on. So as you already saw today, there are all different types of proposals out there, and we are working with all different kinds. So we will give you access to a certain part of Basecamp so you can go on and see, here is something in process that we are working on, and be able to take a look at how all of that is [inaudible 1:00:00].
It really will be one of a kind of experience. We are only accepting ten participants into that. Regular cost is $500, which is a great value in and of itself, but for the next 24 hours it’s $375, and there are payment options for that. Please go to www.grantpathways.com for this, and on the top left-hand side you will see a Coming Soon tab, and when you hit that Coming Soon tab, you will then see how you can sign up for the grant writer training course. So we would love to have you involved. And if we get, which I imagine we will, we will get more than ten participants or ten people that will sign up, then we will schedule the next session. So go ahead and sign up, and then we will just schedule the next session for that. So, that’s all I have today, Steven. Thank you so, so much everyone, and thank you for the opportunity Steven.
Steven: Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with us for about an hour, and thanks everyone for listening, and taking an hour out of your day to hang out with us. We do do these webinars every Thursday. We have got a really great one coming up a week from today. Erica Waasdorp is going to talk about recurring donors. She literally wrote the book on recurring monthly giving; it’s sitting on my bookshelf right next to me actually. So don’t miss that. Erica is super smart. That’s going to be a great presentation. So check that out on our webinar page right there. You can register for that. It’s going to be totally free and totally educational. And we have got a few other webinars on that page as well scheduled out actually now into 2015 so you may see another topic there that interests you.
We have also got our blog; we have got our podcast; we have got our newsletter. You can look at all that stuff on our resources page. So thanks for hanging out with us. This is great Jule. Thanks again. This was a lot of fun.
Jule: Thank you, yes. Thank you. It’s as funny as grant writing can be, I don’t know.
Steven: Oh yeah. It’s pretty fun. I am kind of a nerd so I enjoyed it.
Jule: Yeah good, good.
Steven: But yeah, I will be sending out the recording in just a few minutes as soon as it’s finished uploading to YouTube as well as all those resources that were shared. So look for an e-mail from me, and we will talk to you hopefully next week. So have a great weekend, and we will see you soon.
Jule: Goodbye. Thank you.