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Has your community identified a health problem and a strategy for addressing it, but reached a roadblock to action because of inadequate funding? Whether you have never contemplated writing a grant proposal and feel intimidated about how to begin, or you have written grant proposals in the past but feel a bit rusty and want to enhance your capacity, this is the tool for you! A grant is a sum of money given to an agency or individual to address a problem or need in the community. You want to start a new project (for example, you have identified a need in your community, and documented that no support services or related programs exist to address the need). You want to expand an existing project and costs cannot be covered in your current budget (for example, you have a program that serves families living at 150% of the Federal Poverty Level, but you want to expand it to serve families living at 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, thereby increasing enrollment numbers and the need for staffing, supplies, etc.).
You know of a granting agency that makes awards to pay for the program or initiative that you envision for the need or problem that you have identified. You know that you meet the eligibility standards for awards available via grants (for example, some grant awards are limited to educational institutions). You are able to commit the time, energy, and other resources needed for the grant-writing process. Where can you find Calls for Proposals, Requests for Proposals, Requests for Applications, Notices of Funding Availability, or Program Announcements? An important note: While all of the suggestions below for finding potential grant sources are still good ones, there have been some changes since this section was originally written. The Foundation Center provides an online directory of grant makers, philanthropic news, and other information relevant to finding resources for community programs. Special regional centers with walk-in libraries such as Associated Grantmakers, with offices in major U.S.
And, if the aforementioned resources still don't yield what you are looking for, you can always ask around. A grant proposal is often a labor-intensive undertaking that requires a commitment of resources devoted to producing a document as long as 15 - 50 pages or more in a relatively short period of time. At the same time, because readers often have to wade through a large number of proposals, a well-written one often can receive more attention and even a higher rating.
While some Requests for Proposals may include unique requirements that you must read carefully and follow, many grant proposals follow a similar structure. Research numerous state and national statistics about women, infants, children, adolescents, and children with special health care needs at the Title V Information System website of the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration. Access the full range of Federal Government statistical information available to the public, with links to 70 federal data sources at FedStats. For example, your community may have experienced a lot of growth in population and housing developments in the past five years.
Finally, as you research the approaches or solutions that have been implemented to date, think about whether your grant proposal will be building upon existing efforts, introducing a unique strategy, or some combination of both. There is no right or wrong way to present the information within the standard grant proposal sections as long as it is in a logical order that is easy to read. If the addition of tables or graphs will make your needs statement more persuasive, definitely include them. Once you have captured the attention of the reviewers by clearly and effectively documenting the need for funding, you get to present the details of how you plan to implement your program.
Do not be discouraged if you find it difficult to write objectives that meet each and every one of the criteria listed above. Building on the example goal of eliminating disparity among Medicaid enrollees' and privately insured consumers' use of prenatal care in Fertile County, below are two examples of how a related objective might be written. It is specific - 50 postpartum Medicaid enrollees and 50 privately insured clients will be surveyed prior to discharge from the hospital. It is measurable - information can be collected because it will be collected in person (unless patients do not give their consent to participate). Once you feel comfortable drafting objectives, you should determine whether or not they are "process" versus "outcome" objectives. A process objective measures the accomplishment of tasks completed as part of the implementation of a program. How will you document how many pamphlets have been distributed, and which staff will be responsible for that? Understand that the timeline is meant to be used for planning purposes and may be revised over time. The purpose of the evaluation plan is to show how you will measure the completion or success of process and outcome objectives. Documentation of this objective should be straightforward, but it is surprising how difficult it can be to get health care facilities and staff to adopt a new data collection form or task and assure that those who interact with patients are recording data consistently and correctly. The most important thing to remember about outcome measures with this structure is that you should already have baseline data – current statistics that describe the percentage of men between the ages of 30 - 50 with high blood pressure living in Coronary County. The fact that you are including the objective in your proposal means that you should have data to back up the need to address it. When you evaluate the impact of your program, you will re-measure (or research statistics in an existing surveillance system) the percentage of men between the ages of 30 - 50 with high blood pressure living in Coronary County, in order to compare pre- and post-program high blood pressure statistics.
Let's assume that you assess the percentage of 30-50 year old men with high blood pressure before you implement your program, then three years later.
For example, let's say a different community-based organization in Coronary County received a grant in the same year that you did. One purpose of your evaluation would be to determine whether or not the percentage of men ages 30 - 50 with high blood pressure decreased because you educated men about ways to prevent heart disease, or because half of the men who participated in another program adopted a regular exercise regimen. Once you have drafted the detailed information for your goals and objectives, methods, and evaluation plan, you will have the foundation for your budget request.
Fringe benefits may include half an employee's social security and Medicare payments (public agencies are exempt) and voluntary benefits such as medical, dental, disability, life insurance, and retirement plans. Otherwise known as overhead, indirect costs are defined as an attempt to compensate the organization for the cost of housing a project.
An in-kind line item will not add any costs to the project because it is paid for or absorbed by the agency applying for the grant. In the Budget Justification, be sure to clearly describe the need for each line item total requested.
Example Budget Justification for a travel line item of $2115: The Project Director will present project findings at a total of three national conferences in year two of the project. If you are required to submit budget projections for multiple years, remember to include a cost of living raise in staff salaries and allow for inflation among supplies, utilities, etc. If you are inexperienced with a proposed activity (such as conducting focus groups), talk with someone who has done this to gain insight as to how much to budget for. For example, say you have proposed to conduct three focus groups with low-income parents of children with special health care needs (ages 0 - 3) in your county over the next 6 months. Will you offer an incentive (e.g., money or on-site child care during the sessions) for focus group participation?
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but you can see how one proposed activity has many planning and implementation details tied to it. Use this section of your proposal to convince the reviewers why you should be funded rather than someone else. Emphasize agency strengths and current contributions to the field or community in the topic area for which you are requesting funding.
Federal or state agencies often want to see a long-term plan for the self-sustainability of a project.
Some initiatives will need to be in place for years to come if they are to have a long-term impact on outcomes such as health status indicators.
For example, you cannot expect to get 25% of smokers to quit smoking within a two-year grant cycle, but perhaps after a decade of persistent programming, smoking rates will drop substantially.


While you cannot guarantee that your proposed program will be self-sustainable, it is important to make your best case for sustainability and describe a plan. If the answers to these questions are "yes", discuss the strategy and time line for establishing the revenue-generating component of the project. In these times of shrinking state budgets, the numbers of grant proposals submitted far outweigh the number of grants available. So, once you have identified a need or problem within your community, done your homework and documented the problem, and presented a credible and persuasive strategy for addressing the need or problem, what else can you do to ensure that your grant proposal is "top notch"?
A grant proposal is a labor-intensive undertaking that requires a commitment of resources devoted to producing a long document in a relatively short period of time. If you are intimidated by the writing element or do not want to manage it alone, solicit the help of a colleague or someone collaborating in your effort to secure funding. Guidelines for grant writing from the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance address preparation for and writing of a grant. The Foundation Center provides an online directory of grantmakers (by subscription), philanthropy news, and other information relevant to finding resources for community programs.
The Grantsmanship Center provides information about federal, state, community and international funders. The Internet Nonprofit Center publishes the Nonprofit FAQ, a resource of information provided by participants in online discussions about nonprofits and their work. Ohio Literacy Resource center provides links to grant writing information and funding information on the Internet. Philanthropy Journal Online is an electronic publication of the Philanthropy Journal of North Carolina. The Virtual Foundation is an online philanthropy program that supports grassroots initiatives around the world. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. What about you?  Do you find the pace of work becoming more and more demanding?  What time management strategies and tools work for you?
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A grant can provide that much-needed funding and enhance the community's capacity for change.
This discussion primarily covers how to apply for grants available through the public sector, but many of the strategies can be applied to foundation grant proposals as well. The written document that one prepares as a means of requesting or applying for this money (funding) is a grant proposal. Organizations or individuals can use grants to accomplish their stated purposes, objectives, within their own policies and guidelines.
In the public sector, money is raised via taxes and other government revenue, and then allocated through legislation to address social issues. Congress established an abstinence education program as part of welfare reform legislation. A great deal more information is now available online, and many public funders actually require electronic, rather than paper, submission of grant proposals. While sometimes a little more difficult to locate online, state contracts registers include RFAs for contracts available with government agencies.
The online directory of grants available requires a $9.99 one-month subscription fee for access to thousands of grant opportunities for researchers, students, artists, and other individuals.
Talk with colleagues locally and nationally and with other people you know who have grant writing experience. When a Request for Proposals is released by an agency, the deadline for proposal submission is often as little as one month away. While grammar, spelling, and cohesion are certainly important elements of a well-written proposal, substantive elements (such as identifying the need for funding for your topic or population of interest) are ones in which you can be creative in how you present the information. If there are no good writers within your organization, find someone who is willing to edit your proposal and turn it into elegant prose. The cover letter should be on agency stationery and signed by the appropriate organizational official. This is where you really grab the reviewer's attention and make your case for the need for funding. For instance, you might consider using census data for your county, or other existing sources for your area that provide indicators of the behaviors or outcomes you are addressing. If you locate existing county level data, it is also good to research comparable data at the state and local levels, because your argument that the current situation in your area is a problem will be more effective if you present it in relative terms. Some reviewers may be searching for that fresh, innovative approach to a problem that has been well documented but not yet addressed effectively. Just remember that your grant proposal is your first opportunity to effectively communicate the need for funding for your special interest or population to a specific foundation or other agency, so make it count.
This section of your proposal should guide the reviewer step by step through all activities needed to accomplish your goal(s) in a way that will continue to engage the reviewer's interest and excitement.
Objectives are specific statements that will indicate to the reviewer exactly how you plan to achieve your goals. Information concerning the objective can be collected, detected, or obtained from records (at least potentially).
Not only are the objectives themselves possible, it is likely that your organization will be able to pull them off.
Your organization has a clear understanding of how these objectives fit in with the overall vision and mission of the group.
Your organization has developed a timeline (a portion of which is made clear in the objectives) by which they will be achieved.
They stretch the group to set its aims on significant improvements that are important to members of the community. The next step in the proposal writing process will be to break down each objective into a series of activities needed to achieve it.
You have a process objective for distributing 500 copies of the patient education pamphlet, "Heart Disease Prevention" to men between the ages of 30 and 50 in Coronary County. If yes, briefly describe it, the credibility of the organization that developed it, and include a copy in your appendices. This chart is used to present a detailed list of all activities and their projected date of completion.
Be sure that your plan includes details about how information will be collected and analyzed. So, as part of your evaluation plan, you would need to design a system that would yield appropriate documentation of the distribution of the pamphlets.
The other program targeted men ages 20 - 40 with education about the importance of daily cardiovascular exercise.
Unless you can afford to budget for an evaluation consultant, design the evaluation plan within the strengths and limitations of program and staff resources. You will now need to assign corresponding dollar amounts to staff positions and activities.
A person working 20 hours a week will be listed at .5 FTE, and the actual amount for salary requested in the budget will be 50% of the proposed salary for that position.
In kind services might include paying for rent (perhaps a separate grant within the agency already covers this, so the agency can afford to not request rent as a line item of the budget in the new grant proposal). In one or two sentences per budget line item, show the reviewer exactly how you arrived at the total for an item.
And each detail potentially increases the amount of money that you need to request in your line item budget.


Obtain letters of support (or letters of participation) for the proposal appendices from the same collaborators you mention in this section. Therefore, if a foundation or other agency can only afford to fund this particular issue for two years, it may want to know how you plan to continue tobacco use prevention efforts in your community over the long term. As a rule of thumb, most projects rely entirely on the funding source in year one, as this is the year that planning and implementation activities are accomplished.
Letters should be signed by an Executive Director or Chief Executive Officer of the collaborating or supporting agency. Organizational and community leaders seeking funding for special interests or populations must therefore prepare grant proposals that are superior to their competitors'. Listed below are some things to consider as you complete the final, comprehensive review of your draft proposal.
Have you shown that you have the capacity to access primary data [data that you collect via interviews, surveys, or focus groups] or secondary data [existing data such as census data]?
Pay attention to funder criteria regarding margins, text spacing, and single- versus double-sided pages, bound versus stapled, etc. Make a plan to stay organized, noting essential pieces of information (such as the deadline for submission, mailing address, number of copies to be submitted, etc.). Screened projects are posted on the website where they can be read and funded by online donors. Concept of time management and generating ideas has been displayed in this power point template diagram.
Contracts are legally binding, and represent an arrangement in which contracting agencies (federal or state government, for example) buy services from organizations or individuals in order to fulfill obligations or responsibilities. Congress pledged $50 million annually for five years to state administrative agencies, which were then given autonomy to determine programmatic priorities and award community - level funding to entities such as community organizations, local health departments, and faith based organizations. The first place to look, generally, is online, using Google to search for something like “grant for [the area in which you’re looking for funding].” An advantage here, in addition to speed and the fact that you’re likely to find several potential funders, is that the websites you find will usually contain a great deal of background information about the funder, names of contact people, clear guidelines for eligibility and proposal writing, and a large amount of other useful information. So be prepared to work hard on the development of a grant proposal, keeping in mind that the hard work is finite – only a few weeks – for potentially multiple years of funding to address your identified problem or need.
In fact, innovative or creative approaches can enhance a grant proposal's likelihood of success!
There’s often an assumption on the part of the reader or the agency – and it’s often true – that if you don’t take care in writing your cover letter and proposal, you won’t take care running your program, either.
Therefore, it is helpful to have a clear purpose, identified need, and some idea as to your strategy for addressing that need ahead of time. An RFP may include a limitation on the number of pages that an abstract can be, but a good rule of thumb is no more than two pages. You want to keep the reviewer interested enough to read on and learn more about your important ideas. Furthermore, you will refer to it time and time again over the course of program implementation. The methods section describes in detail how you propose to carry out your goals and objectives over the course of a project. In the Methods section, you need to show reviewers that you have carefully considered the steps necessary for planning and implementing this objective. If yes, include a discussion about how you plan to solicit and involve local physicians in your effort.
One cannot train staff members until the staff is hired; if the hiring process takes four months versus two, the training timeline will also need to be adjusted. Most likely, you will use a combination of both approaches depending on the types of objectives you draft.
Remember, too, that the system needs to be "user friendly" so staff will use and follow it. 50% of the men exposed to that intervention adopted a regimen of 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times per week.
For three trips averaging three days and two nights each, the total request for travel is $2115 [$1200 airfare, $315 food, and $600 hotel].
It is better to discover those before you submit your grant proposal than after you are working within a set budget that could require that you reduce the total number of activities or exclude some altogether.
While reviewers may need no convincing that the issue is important, timely, etc., they have a limited amount of funds to award. But by year two, you may be able to include some revenue-generating activities in your time line.
You may want to draft the letters for each collaborator (in fact, they may request that you do this), but make sure that each letter is unique to your working relationship and shared interests.
Have you clearly indicated whether or not you will be evaluating implementation versus short- versus long-term outcomes, or all three? Once again, if there’s no one in your organization who can write or edit well enough to make sure that the proposal is grammatical and well-organized, find someone who can to help you.  It’s important enough to take some pains to get it right. Searching for grants and submitting proposals online is now probably the best – and preferred – way of finding possible grants.
If that search does not yield results, you may need to access funding opportunities more indirectly by going to state government agency home pages. You should really have those things in mind anyway as you conduct research for RFPs so you can identify which agency missions and grant opportunities match your interests.
Therefore, you can interview school administrators, parents, subdivision residents, and students as a means of documenting the problem. Even if program staff changes over time, the project description should provide a road map for anyone to understand and follow.
Process evaluation assesses the implementation of a program, emphasizing activities to be completed (for example, "distribute 500 copies of a flyer"). Those same men are part of your evaluation sample three years after you implement your program. Maybe funding for a special interest will only be available until elections bring in new legislators with different fiscal and policy priorities.
Highlight the significance of the proposed collaborative relationship in the context of proposal goals and objectives. Highlight key or essential elements (such as the deadline for submission, mailing address, number of copies to be submitted, etc.) as you read through the RFP. Other factors such as competing programs may have been solely responsible for the percentage change, or may have indirectly enhanced the impact of your program. Also summarize your and your collaborating agency's capacity and strengths for addressing the problem or need identified in the proposal.
One source notes that 50% of proposals funded are resubmissions that were denied the first time. For example, for every four dollars awarded, a grantee (you) may be required to contribute matching funds of two dollars. If you are intimidated by the writing element, solicit the help of a colleague or someone collaborating in your effort to secure funding. You can also contact the agency soliciting grant proposals and request some samples of previously funded proposals.



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