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Grantwritings as an Organizing Tool

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Since 2000, Louisiana Democracy Project has otained information and offered grantwriting classes to members and supporters.  Here are a few tidbits.  Should you wish to eastablish a grantwriting project, please contact us. 

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Grant Wrting has 8 basic proposal components. 

1. Introduction

2. Social Problem Statement

3. Project Objectives

4. Methods and Work Plan

5. Evaluation Methods

6. Future Funding Plans

7. Budget

8. Project Timeline.

Grant writing is an art not a science. However you need to be systematic in planning and writing.  Louisiana Democracy Project recommends you form a committee with at least 4 people who are dedicated to working through the process.  Set a regular date and time that you will meet.  It at all possible have a commuter available.  This is not a fly by night activity and we suggest that meet regularly every other week for 18 months.  On the weeks you do not meet assignments should be compleated.

The well written grant has three qualities: its clear, its precise and its persuasive.

Clarity: The person reviewing your application must understand two things: the need in your community and how you propose to address that need. The plan you propose must also be clear.

Tell about  your community, your needs population. Use simple language and sentence structure. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Read the application and understand it before you begin.  Read everything about the foundation you are applying to and their requirements.

 Precision: Triple check your numbers. An error on your budget detracts from the credibility of your entire proposal. 

Common elements of a private foundation proposal.

Cover Letter: The cover letter is a concise summary of your proposal. It says why you chose this funding agency, your organizations capability to complete the project, and the amount you are requesting. It should be signed by your CEO, but should include a contact name and telephone number.

Cover Sheet:  Keep it simple with the title of your proposal, your organizations name and address, the date you submitted it, and the agency and program you are applying to.

Summary: For a longer application, a summary is a good idea. The summary can also be sent to the media and elected officials to keep them informed.

Introduction: Give the funding agency a brief overview of your service area and client population. Tell them who you will be serving and explain the significance of the project.

Problem Definition and Need: In quantitative and qualitative terms define the problem. This is where you paint the picture of need in your client population. For every problem you define, you will need to develop a corresponding goal and objective.

Goals and Objectives: Now that the funding agency has read about your need, outline the goals of your proposal.

Program Activities: What will you do and how will you do it? This is the time for specific actions, with exact numbers of persons served, units rehabilitated, etc.

Future Plans: How will the project continue on after the grant funds are expended? Will you generate revenues to be self-sustaining or will the project solve the problem avoiding the need for future grant dollars.

Facilities and Equipment: For every element you list in your program activities, you need to show that you have the facilities and equipment, or that youve requested funding for them.

Staffing and Administration: Like the previous item, for every program activity, you need to identify a staff person, currently on-board or to be hired with grant funds, to complete the task.

Timetable: A schedule with milestones should be provided. For more sophisticated projects, a chart showing the critical path may be necessary.

Evaluation Method: How will you know if your project has been a success? Tell the funding agency what measures you will use, in quantifiable terms, to determine if you accomplished your goals. The evaluation method may be used to fine-tune an ongoing program. Meeting or exceeding these goals may be the basis for refunding from the same source down the road.

Budget: Every item in your staffing plan and facilities and equipment list must show up on your budget. Be sure to include any revenues generated by the project.

Corporate Resume: Tell the funding agency about the accomplishments of your firm. Your mission, experience, total budget, staff qualifications, etc. should be included. You want to establish a confidence level with the funding agency that you can complete the project if funded. This section can be standardized and used for different applications.


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