Thursday, April 22, 2010

CLiC 2010, Dan Lawrence on 'Grant Writing: Tips, Tricks, and the Deep Six'

Goals of this Workshop:

  • Identify key people, processes, and structures to have in place before starting to write (or not write) a grant;
  • examine key sections of a grant app, w/an emphasis on SMART objectives;

Some General Funding Trends
  • Moving from funder to investment approach
  • fewer, but larger grants
  • continuing to fund current grantees
  • not as many grants to small organizations, but more to consotria of small organizations
  • suggesting diverse funding sources (e.g. matching or fund raising requirements)

Before you commit: Read, read, read!
  1. Read for guideleings, check due dates, # of awards, average size of grants, eligibility.
  2. Reread: for any technical requirements of application, preapproval guidelines, needs for letters of support, etc.
  3. Reread: for narrative content.

Tips for Getting Started

Impose a structure on the process early
organize a planning group, layout some tasks and get volunteers
work backward from due date to rough out timeline of deadlines (wyou will be behind)

Sample Scoring Guide - 100 pts.

Minimum Responsiveness Criteria (required)
Narrative (30 pts)
Capacity 5 pts
Action Plan 30 pts
Evaluation Plan 10 pts
Budget 25 pts

B. Narrative
Summary: Get attention and state your case
Needs Statement: define the problem (data)
Gaps: current lack of services or programs in area
Program Description: must match funder priorities, address your problem, be directly related to action plan

C. Capacity
  • aka: why you can trust us with your money
  • who we are
  • how we're qualified - e.g. history, governing structure, mission, primary activities, relevant partners, audiences, and services.

D. Action Plan
  • Use language of the strategies endorsed by funder (logic models?)
  • goals and objectives reflect those of funder
  • create a timeline that makes sense
  • activities should be specific and in chronological order
  • all activities relate to objectives
Goals vs. Objectives

Goals: Objectives
Broad Narrow
General intentions precise
intangible tangible
Abstract Concrete
Can't be validated as is Can be validated

Goal: Community members understand the value of libraries to their lives.

Objective: by june 30, 2010, 50% of the community will be able to name 3 primary library services

Describe the steps toward accomplishing a goal
show priorities
provide targets for progress and accountability

SMART Objectives
S=Specific (who? What?)
M=Measurable: It tells you How Much change is expected
A=Achievable: It can be realisticall accomplished given current resources and constraints
R=Realistic: It addresses the scope of the plan and proposes reasonable action steps
T=Time-Phased: it provides a timeline indicating when the objective will be met.

Things you're going to do to make sure you accomplish the objective
Convene advisory committee to discuss community perceptions of the library
(Example: Activity -- Implementation Timeframe -- Measure of accomplishment -- job title of person responsible)

E. Evaluation Plan
How will you asses what you're

F. Budget
  • Complete budget sheet if provided
  • Budget Narrative
  1. Personnel
  2. Direct Operating
  3. Contractual
  4. Travel
  5. Indirect (if allowed)
  • Double-, triple-, quadruple-check numbers match between budget sheet and narrative!
The Four P's of Preplanning
  • Processes
  • Permission
  • Planning
  • People
  • Read up on Grants and writing process
  • Grants for libraries; neal-schuman, 2006
  • The only grant-writing book you'll ever need, 3rd ed.; basic, 2009
  • grant writing for dummies, 3rd ed.; Wiley, 2009

Permissions: Know people, processes and rules for grants for your library
  • Who is allowed to work on grants?
  • How can you recommend a new project?
  • What are your board/municipal/etc. processes for approving or receiving funds?
  • 'Evergreen' file (documents and boilerplate)
  • Concept Paper
  • Funding Development Plan
  • Library Director / Leadership
  • Staff and Board representatives
  • Grant Coordinator
  • Community Advisers
  • Researcher
  • Writiers, editors, proofers
  • Implementation team
  • Subject matter experts
  • partners
Researching Grant Opportunities
See Locating Grand and Funding Opportunities on pg. 6 of handout
Free basics training and access to databases at Foundation Center Cooperating Collections. See: