|Course Introduction||Course Syllabus|
|1.1: What is a Nonprofit Organization?||The Role of the Nonprofit||
Read this section to learn about the roles and purposes of nonprofit organizations.
|1.2: How Grant Funding Supports Organizations||What is a Grant?||
Read this definition of grants.
|1.3: Planning Your Approach – The Grant Application Process||The Grant-Writing Process||
The last step in the process is to apply for funding, which most likely involves writing a grant proposal. Read this article for an overview of the grant proposal process and a sample budget from the perspective of academic research. Your approach will often depend on the requirements the grant-funding agency has outlined in its request for proposals (RFP).
|Get Your Project Approved and Funded||
Read this description of types of grant proposals to help determine how to approach your search for grant funding. The article also offers a useful overview of the typical sections of grant proposals.
|Grant Lifecycle Timeline||
Read this page for a big-picture overview of the grant lifecycle.
|2.1: RFP Guidelines||RFP Example 1: Eligibility Requirements||
Read this RFP from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pay close attention to the eligibility requirements here. You should always study eligibility information carefully to make sure your project and organization are eligible to apply before you invest too much time in your proposal.
|RFP Example 2: Instructions||
Read this RFP from the National Science Foundation. Notice the succinct instructions on proposal preparation.
|RFP Example 3: Details||
Read this article which reminds you to pay close attention to every detailed requirement listed in the RFP. Even basic text formatting can make a difference in the success of your proposal.
|2.2: Submission Deadlines||Using Deadlines Strategically||
Read this article, which reinforces the importance of planning for deadlines.
|2.4: Grant Application Review Process||Writing Tips for Grant Reviewers||
Read this article, which explains what reviewers look for in a proposal. As you write, think about how reviewers could perceive your proposal.
Read this section of an RFP from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for National Leadership Grants for Libraries. It gives applicants information about how proposals will be reviewed.
|2.5: Scoring Matrix or Rubric||Scoring Systems and Procedures||
Read this example of a scoring rubric. Note in particular the different potential categories of scoring (impact, criterion, and so on).
Read this next example of a scoring rubric, which guides grant reviewers through the scoring process by posing a series of questions about the grant proposal.
|3.2: Principal Investigator (PI)||Principal Investigator||
Read this brief description of a principal investigator (PI) for a grant-funded project.
|3.3: Abstracts and Project Descriptions (Executive Summary)||Writing a Grant Abstract||
Read this article, which describes the basic components commonly requested of a grant abstract.
|Project Summary/Abstracts Guidelines||
Read this document from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which provides tips for writing project summaries/abstracts and two sample abstracts. The text states, "the narrative must not exceed one-page, single-spaced, and should briefly describe: 1. the needs that will be addressed, 2. the proposed services, and 3. the client population group(s) to be served".
|3.5: Organizational Information or Institutional Narrative||Best Practices in Grant Writing||
Read this article, which describes what to include in the organizational information section of your grant proposal.
|3.6: Statement of Need||Developing Your Statement of Need||
Read this overview of grant proposals. Focus particularly on the advice for developing your statement of need.
|Sample Need Statements||
This page gives examples of strong and weak need statements. Think about the consistent characteristics of the better need statements.
|3.7: Goals and Objectives||Objectives, Outputs, and Outcomes||
Read this short article, which succinctly differentiates between objectives, outputs, and outcomes.
|Implementation Objectives vs. Outcome Objectives||
Read this short article to see the difference between implementation objectives and outcome objectives.
|Aims vs. Objectives||
Read this article for its distinction between aims and objectives. It also provides useful advice on "what not to do" with aims and objectives.
|SMARTER is better than SMART||
A good rule of thumb is to use the SMARTER management framework for writing your objectives. Make sure the objectives of your project are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound, evaluated, and recognized.
Read this article which was written to help managers prepare to implement a company-wide strategy. Its guiding principles also apply to writing a grant proposal.
|3.8: Implementation, Operation, or Management Plan||The Planning Cycle||
Read this article about the stages of project planning. Planning should be ongoing and iterative.
|3.9: Project Timeline||Timeline Examples||
See these examples of a simple table timeline and a chart timeline from Unit 1.
|Method, Schedule, and Qualifications||
Review the following method, schedule, and qualifications sections of this article we read in Unit 1 to reinforce some best practices in project planning.
|Example Implementation Plan||
Review this detailed implementation plan for a project at a hospital. It provides a good, concise example of laying out steps, team members, and their responsibilities.
|3.10: Budget Summary, Narrative, and Justification||Preparing a Clean Grant Budget and Justification Narrative||
Watch this video for guidance on how to create a budget and justification for your expenses.
|Budget Justification Tips and Hints||
Read this article for more tips on how to justify your budget. The section on common mistakes specifies a few pitfalls to avoid.
|Indirect Cost Overview||
Indirect costs (also called facilities and administration) are expenses your project will incur that are not directly part of the project operations. For example, indirect costs may include the amount needed to maintain your physical plant, computers, library resources, or general administration. Grantees usually calculate these costs as a percentage of the project's total direct costs. Be sure to read the RFP carefully, since some funding agencies have precise restrictions on which indirect costs are allowed.
Read this article for detailed definitions of direct costs, indirect costs, and cost-sharing.
|Work Plan and Budget Plan||
As you create your budget, be sure to include all of your expenses, including taxes and shipping charges. For example, if you need to buy computers or technology equipment for your project, remember to include labor and maintenance as indirect expenses. Many include an additional 10 percent overage to account for these added costs.
These elements are typically included in a standard budget:
Read this article on how to plan and present a budget. Though different grant proposals may require specific budget formats, this article gives several formatting examples.
|3.11: Project Evaluation||Planning Your Project's Evaluation||
Read these articles, which offers several experts' advice on planning for your project's evaluation.
|Including Data Analysis in Your Grant Evaluation Section||
Read this article for an overview of data analysis for your grant evaluation section.
|Assessing the Impact and Outcomes of Projects||
Watch this video, which provides program-specific training on the importance of evaluating projects and demonstrates ways to provide low-cost evaluation.
|Hiring an Outside Evaluator||
In the United States, many federal agencies require their grant-funding programs to hire an external or outside evaluator to review the projects they support to make sure they meet their stated goals and objectives. Remember to build these costs into your budget.
Read this article with advice on how to choose an evaluator. It covers a number of factors, including the complexity of the evaluation and professional versus volunteer evaluators.
|3.13: Partnering Organizations||Memo of Understanding (MOU)||
When other partners are involved you should provide specific, detailed information about the role they will serve in your initiative. For example, include a copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) – a business document that details the scope, monetary and other contributions, and work they will perform. These details will lend further credibility to your agreement and demonstrate you plan to work together to achieve your project goals. Funders want to see that partners are truly participating and not just lending their name because they are your friends or have similar interests.
Read this definition of a memo of understanding (MOU)
|3.14: Outside Letters of Support||Writing Good Letters of Support for Grants||
Read this article for additional advice on specific features for letters of support.
|3.16: Award Letters and Funding Announcements||Grant Award Letter||
Read this example of a grant award letter that lists some specific requirements for accepting the grant.
|Sample Grant Annoucement||
Beyond sending out personalized award letters, grant-making organizations frequently distribute press releases and other announcements to publicize your program. This announcement brings attention and recognition to your organization. It can also demand a level of scrutiny and transparency to your organization, which some may find intrusive.
Read this example of a press release that lists grant recipients for the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, which the United States Department of Education and Department of Labor awarded in 2011.
|Write Your Application||
Read this page for a thorough overview of the grant process from the perspective of health/science projects.
|4.1: Funding Organizations – Individual Donors||Key Facts on U.S. Foundations||
Read this overview of funding data from foundations in the United States. Useful infographics present data on different types of foundations, which issue areas receive the most money, and funding by geographical location.
|Creating Sustainable Funding for Your Nonprofit||
As part of your search, consider cultivating a relationship with an individual in your community who might help fund your project or organization. It is worth looking for someone with appropriate financial resources and who knows or can relate to the people who will benefit from your project.
Watch this seminar, which describes a systematic process for engaging individual donors and building lasting relationships.
|4.2: Funding Organizations – U.S. Federal Government Agencies||Federal Grants in the United States||
Read this article for an overview of federal grant opportunities in the United States. Notice in particular the different types of grants, such as block grants and earmark grants.
|Locating and Choosing a Funding Source||
This document has a list of different funding sources, including government agencies, foundations, associations, and research centers.
How do you and your organization maintain contact with your elected federal, state, and local government representatives? Their staff can provide invaluable guidance on how to navigate the government funding process and alert you to available grant funding opportunities.
Your government representatives may be able to introduce you to those who work at grant funding organizations or help monitor the progress of your proposal. As we mentioned in Unit 2, these local politicians may write a letter on your behalf, describe the good services your organization provides their constituents, or otherwise support your grant application.
While the U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) prohibits nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations from getting involved in political campaigns, you can "educate" your political representatives about your activities and describe how you help their constituents and contribute to your community.
Read this notice from the IRS which outlines the restrictions on nonprofit organizations' lobbying activities.
|4.4: Funding Organizations – Foundations||Philanthropic Foundation||
Read this listing for more details about the definition, goals, and types of philanthropic foundations, along with several examples of prominent foundations.
Here are some examples of some popular foundations that demonstrate a wide range of philanthropic and charitable goals.
Candid provides training for grant writing and publishes a directory of thousands of foundations across the United States. These books are not freely available, but you might be able to find copies in your local library. You can also access the directory online at varying levels through a subscription service, or for free at some public libraries.
|The Basics of Grant and Prospect Research||
Read this article for tips on how to research foundations and other types of organizations that offer grant funding. The article lists several tools for both grant research and management.
|4.5: Building a Relationship with a Grant-Funding Organization||How to Write a Letter of Introduction||
This article presents a brief overview of what a letter of introduction to a grantmaker should include.
|How to Write a Letter of Inquiry||
Read this article for a list of the necessary components of a letter of inquiry. It can be used as a kind of template for a letter of inquiry (LOI).
|Establishing Relationships with Grantmakers||
This article gives five basic steps in establishing a relationship with grantmakers. It also offers advice on how to maintain that relationship after the initial contact.
|5.1: Grant-Writing Tips||Writing Research Grants||
Watch this video that offers ten tips for successfully winning grants. It focuses on proposals for scientific research, but you can apply its advice to most grant programs.
Read this brief summary of grant writing that gives reminders on how to identify funding sources and put together your proposal.
|Ten Key Ingredients for Writing Research Grant Proposals||
Review this academic article that specifies ten key ingredients for scientific proposals, which are relevant to grants in other fields as well.
|Twelve Steps for Writing Competitive Grant Proposals||
Watch this video on of how to write a competitive grant proposal. The video walks you through a step-by-step process, with useful advice at each stage.
Watch this short lecture with a practitioner's advice on good grant-writing.
|Best Practices in Grant-Writing||
Read this article, which offers additional general grant-writing advice. It is a short review of many of the most important points we have covered.
|Successful Grant Proposal Writing Tips||
Read this article for some useful big-picture practical advice before you start and after you finish writing your proposal.
|5.2: Proofreading, Revising, and Finishing Touches||Proofreading and Revising||
Read this article for a step-by-step process to follow as you revise your work. It has useful advice for carrying out multiple rounds of proofreading.
|Giving and Receiving Criticism||
When you are satisfied with your corrections, print a copy of the revised rough draft. Recruit a friend, family member, or colleague to read it and give feedback. Most writers solicit feedback from peers before they submit their work to a magazine. Think of this step as a way of doing that.
Read this article to share with your critic to help your friends or colleagues provide you with constructive feedback. Note in particular how to take into account different cultural attitudes toward criticism.
|Course Feedback Survey||Course Feedback Survey|