Writing Applications for Funding
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Writing Applications for Funding Participant Handouts Organizational Capacity Building Coalition 2007 Edmonton, Alberta Participant Handouts This series of documents is a full set of handouts to give to your participants. You will notice that the handouts are very similar to the trainer notes. However, the handouts include less detail and leave room for note taking. All you need to do is simply photocopy and handout each set of workshop handouts. Please feel free to add or omit any material you feel is necessary. Participant Handouts Session 1 – Introduction to Proposal Writing Where do I start… with my idea? Strengths: Weaknesses: with a funding opportunity? Strengths: Weaknesses: All programs, services, or activities need to fit with the mission of your organization. Develop a file of ideas for programs, services or activities. Four “P‟s” of Proposal Writing A proposal is a polite promise to perform. It is important to remember that you need to implement the program or service you described in your proposal. You must use the funds received as you described you would. If for some reason you cannot fulfill this commitment, you MUST tell the funder this as soon as possible. Caution - Passion about your idea might be misinterpreted as anger or aggressive behaviour. Types of Projects that Can Receive Funds Capital – funds to support the building, buying or renovating of a building. Sometimes can include buying equipment, vehicles or land. Emergency – funds to help an organization in an emergency situation. Endowment – a fund to help the organization over the long term. Only the interest is spent on a yearly basis. Equipment – funds for the purchase of equipment. Matching – funds that „match‟ monies raised from other sources. Operating – funds that can be used to pay staff, rent, utilities, etc. Pilot (demonstration) – one-time funds to support a new idea. Program – funds for an activity that has no completion date. Project – funds for an activity that has a completion date. Research – funds for research projects. Start-up (Seed) – funds to help a new organization or new project. Technical Assistance – funds to support computer purchase, training, etc. Some organizations will only fund certain types of projects. You need to match your project to the funder‟s priorities. What is the Difference between a Grant Application and a Proposal? Grant Application – application form, often regular submission periods Proposal – may be in response to Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) -May specify format in great detail or may be “free form” Remember to answer all questions on a grant application or Request for Proposal. Grant Applications – “Top Ten” Tips 1. Locate the correct form (current version) 2. Be aware of the time lines for submission 3. Understand the submission review process 4. Understand the purpose of the funding 5. Speak with a contact person 6. Find out what was previously approved 7. Find out what has been previously declined 8. Know what parts of your idea will not be supported financially 9. Gain support for your idea 10. Follow all instructions An incomplete application could be rejected. A late application will be rejected. Where Can I Find Resources for My Idea? Foundations – National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Private Foundations – such as the Muttart Foundation Family Foundations – such as the Stollery Charitable Foundation Community Foundations – such as the Edmonton Community Foundation Municipal Government, Provincial Government & Federal Government (i.e. City of Edmonton Community Services; Government of Alberta-Victims of Crime; Government of Canada - Canadian Heritage) Corporations - Suncor, Syncrude, Imperial Oil, Shell Local Businesses – such as Hole‟s Nurseries National or Regional Companies – Bank of Montreal, EPCOR International companies - IBM Other Organizations Service clubs – Knights of Columbus, Kinsmen United Way – usually restricted to member agencies. Always “keep your eyes open” for new supporters. Deciding Whether to Proceed: Grant Application or Proposal Decision-Making Score Sheet Project Name: Funder: Due Date: Rate the following elements from your organization‟s perspective: 1. Fit with organization‟s mission, goals, values /15 2. Previous experience -With a similar project -With this funder /15 3. Depth of knowledge or experience with this program, service or audience /10 4. Contract value -Enough for costs of project? -Organization can manage these funds? /10 5. Possible competition -Can we compete with others? -Could we work together with competition? /5 6. Value-added features -What can organization do that others cannot? -What could we provide at no cost? /10 7. Proposal writing capacity -Do we have someone to write the proposal? -Is there enough time to prepare the proposal? /15 8. Proposal writing costs -Do we need to hire someone to write the proposal? -Are there other costs (copies of reports, videos, etc.)? /5 9. New business opportunities -Do we want to continue this program/project? -Could we receive future funding for this program/project? /10 10. Other factors /5 If the total score is less than 70, you need to consider whether or not to proceed with your proposal or grant application. Sample – Request for Proposal The ABC Foundation is interested in funding programs and or services that will support the success of junior-high and high school age youth from Aboriginal families. ABC Foundation is interested in supporting one-year pilot projects to discover successful interventions for Aboriginal youth facing challenges in adjusting to school life in Alberta. Programs that include other family members will also be considered. Funding Limits: The range for project funding is from $5,000 to $25,000 per project. Service Area: Must serve those living in the Greater Edmonton area. Language of Service Provision: English. Traditional languages may also be used to supplement the delivery of programs/services. Use of Funds: Funds can be used for: Costs of program/service delivery Purchase of equipment, resources Rental of facilities, equipment Administrative costs (not to exceed 15% of total budget) Applicant Status: Organization must have Charitable Status. A host agency agreement will be considered for those organizations that do not have Charitable Status. Proposal Submission Date: Within one month. Weighted Criteria Used for Proposal Selection: Previous experience in delivery of related programs/services 25% Demonstration of understanding of community need 20% Connection to target community 15% Support from community partners 15% Clarity of proposal 10% Plan for sustaining program/service beyond one year 15% Activity 1A – Describing Your Idea You are crossing the street with a representative from a local Foundation. You have a one- minute opportunity to discuss a project idea that needs funding. Describe your idea in one sentence. The Foundation representative is interested in your idea and decides to stop and listens to learn more about your project idea. Describe your idea in three to five sentences. Activity 1B - Understanding of Need - why do we need this program? What is the problem? What data shows the problem exists? How will your project/program help solve the problem? Why does your organization care about this problem? Why is your organization the best organization to respond to this problem? Participant Handouts Session 2 – Preparing the Elements of a Proposal Building and Maintaining a Relationship with a Funder Before applying for funding Review website of funder Review annual report of funder Visit the offices of the funder Ask others about the funder (ask about their experiences, what they think are the priorities of the funder) Make an appointment with a representative from the funder to discuss your idea Prepare a written one to two-page summary of your idea Provide the funder with information about your organization (annual report, newsletter, etc.) Invite a representative from the funder to visit your organization. (Attend a celebration or graduation, attend a board meeting, attend an Annual General Meeting, etc.) After receiving funding Write a thank-you letter to the funder Invite representatives from the funder to events (open house, graduation, cultural ceremony etc.) Send copies of annual reports, newsletters, evaluations reports Let funder know about your successes (awards received, new programs/services, donations from other funders, letters from satisfied clients, recognition from Aboriginal community etc.) After not receiving funding Write a letter thanking the funder for the opportunity to submit an application for funding Speak with a representative from the funder to learn how you could improve your proposal or grant submission Keep the funder aware of „what‟s new‟ by sending newsletters, annual reports, etc. Long-term – continue to build a relationship with the funder What You Need to Know About Your Organization 1 The basic information you will need to know: The Act under which your organization is incorporated (if any); Charitable status with Canada Revenue Agency (if applicable); Past experience with this program or service; Mission, mandate, and vision of your organization; Level of community support for the idea; Statistics (number of members of organization, number of people served, number of activities, amount of funds raised); Partnerships (current or planned); Volunteer involvement (number of volunteers, number of volunteer hours); Organizational structure; Affiliations and memberships; Capital or infrastructure (buildings, equipment, etc. that are owned, rented or leased); Funding history (past sources of funding); Operating budget; Annual report; Financial statements; Staff (and their qualifications); How your organization is different from other organizations providing similar programs and services. Know your „competition‟. Your application for funding will be compared to applications from other organizations. You need to demonstrate how you are different and you are the best candidate for the job. 1 Adopted from a Guide for Non-Profit Organizations on Proposal Writing, Alberta Community Development, February 2004 Cover Letter Key things to remember No more than two pages in length Address the letter to the person who will receive it It needs to be provide information and create excitement Use your organization‟s letterhead or plain white bond paper Have a leader in your organization sign the letter (such as the Board Chair or another Board member) Provide the name and contact information for someone who can answer questions about the proposal (usually a staff member or volunteer) What to include in the cover letter o Some information about your organization o The need for your project/program o Who will benefit from your project/program o How this project/program will support the mission of your organization o How much money you are asking for o Refer to any conversations or meetings you have had with the funder about this project/program This will be the last thing that you write for your proposal or grant submission. Make sure you have time (and energy) to prepare the cover letter and proofread it carefully. Also, you will need to allow enough time to get it signed by the appropriate person. This is your first chance to get the interest of the funder. Remember, the person who signs this letter needs to understand the proposal. Rationale for Your Idea (Problem Statement) You need to clearly define the problem(s) that your project/program will solve. Name the issue(s) that are present Whom does this issue affect? What evidence do you have about the issue? Provide specifics of how your project/program will solve this issue How long will it take your project/program to make a difference? What would happen if the problem/issue were not attended to? What is your organization committing or providing to respond to this issue? Has this project/program been successful in another community? Funders are more likely to support ideas where the organization is „investing‟ their own resources in the project/program. This is your first chance to get the interest of the funder. Remember, the person who signs this letter needs to understand the proposal. Ways to Gather Data for My Proposal It is a good idea to list possible sources of data and persons who can help you find this data (a librarian, a government employee, etc.). You also need to know there are certain times of the year when collecting data will be more difficult (such as during summer vacation or holiday seasons, etc.) Type of Data Data Source Key Contact (Who Timing (Qualitative, (Where will I find can help me (Any quantitative) the data) access the data) considerations) What is My Agency, Organization or Community investing in this Project? When you are asking for funding, often you will be asked what support your agency, organization or community is giving. This is a way for the funder to see if you are truly committed to the idea. Remember to value your volunteer hours at $10/hour unless the funding application provides a higher rate. If you have space that is donated for your use, how much would it cost you to rent this amount of space? Type of Source Period of Time Monetary Value Investment Volunteer hours Physical space Equipment Supplies Staff time Food Transportation How Does Your Proposed Project/Program „Fit” with Your Organization? The funder will want to know: The mission and mandate of your organization The history of your organization The people your organization serves Have you received funding from this funder in the past? Your organization‟s previous experience with similar projects/programs If this is a new area for your organization, why you are confident this project/program will be a success? The resources your organization has (staff, volunteers) Your governance structure (Board, advisory committee, etc.) Linkages or partnerships your organization has (this is helpful if you have not previously received funding from this source but the partner organization has) It is important to maintain your positive reputation with a funder. Defining Goal, Objectives, Outputs and Outcomes Goal: A broad description of what will happen when the objectives are reached. Goals need to „fit‟ with the mission of the organization and respond to a need. Objective: A measurable step toward achieving a goal. Objectives can show: o A change in human behaviour o Improved performance of a skill or standard o Development of a product o Development of a process Objectives are more specific than goals. Objectives can be measured. Output: Can be measured or counted (such as number of workshops held, number of hours of counseling provided) Outcome: Can be measured in terms of change or improvement in a person‟s life during or after participating in a program/project. Can also measure outcomes as changes in conditions (such as quality of environment) What gets measured gets done. Activity 2 – Developing Your Proposal Start to write the first four sections of your application for funds. Description of your idea (2 to 3 sentences) Rationale for your idea (problem statement) (8 to 10 sentences) Describe how your idea „fits‟ with your organization (8 to 10 sentences) Participant Handouts Session 3 – Completing the Proposal Process Program Logic Model Requirement of many funders It is a „road map‟ for your program or project It takes time to develop It is good to include those who will benefit from the project/program in developing the program logic model Can help you monitor progress Very useful for evaluation Helpful Resources University of Wisconsin - Extension Website http://www.uwes.educ/ces United Way of America (1996) Measuring Program Outcomes: A Practical Approach (contact your local United Way office to order) Program Logic Model Template Inputs Outputs Outcomes Activities Participation What we invest What we do Who we reach Short-term results Medium-term Impact (change Staff Conduct Participants (learning) results (action) in conditions) Volunteers workshops Clients Learning Action Conditions Time Conduct Agencies Awareness Behaviour Social Money meetings Decision- Knowledge Practice Economic Research Deliver makers Attitudes Decision-making Civic Materials services Customers Skills Policies Environmental Equipment Develop Opinions Social action Technology products, Aspirations Partners curriculum, Motivations resources Train Provide counselling Assess Facilitate Partner Work with media Assumptions External Factors Program Logic Model Template Inputs Outputs Outcomes Activities Participation Medium-term What we invest What we do Who we reach Short-term Impact (changed Results (action) Results (learning) in conditions) Methods – How You Will Get Your Program/Service Operating Key things to remember Need to break down the work to be done into manageable tasks. This will show the funder you understand the work that needs to be completed. Show a work plan, including timelines for the work to be done. You can create your own or use project management software. If more than one task is being done at the same time, show how many people are doing the work. This way the funder will not think that one person is doing everything. Show what you will do if there are delays (bad weather, low registration) Clearly explain when tasks will be done shows that you are organized. This will make the funder more confident in you. Have someone else review your methods and work plan to check if it makes sense. Did you miss a step? Does it seem “do-able”? If your work plan is well developed, the funder might use it as a schedule or appendix to your contract. Remember to include data gathering and evaluation in your work plan. Reporting your progress Keeping the funder and other people in your organization aware of progress. It is also important to let the funder and others know when the project/program is not “rolling out” as planned so the necessary actions can be taken, quickly! This is an opportunity to show the funder how professional you are. Project Work Plan – Planning Sheet Activity/Task Who is Time Amount of Cost Responsible Line Time Required Building a Budget for Your Program/Service Key things to remember Be very clear about the priorities for the funder (i.e., what values & issues are sensitive to the funder). Be aware of the mission and mandate of the potential funder. Know how much funding that the funder usually gives Know whether you need to “match” the funds you receive. You can approach more than one funder at the same time. Be honest and let funders know that you are doing this. FUNDERS TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT PROJECTS! List other sources of support such as volunteer time and in-kind donations. Be realistic in building your budget. Include documentation to illustrate your anticipated costs (salaries for staff, quotations from suppliers, lease agreements, rental costs, etc.) Describe how you will manage the funds you are given (independent project account versus “blended” account). Sometimes funders want you to set up a separate bank account for the program/project. Find out if the funder wants audited financial statements from you. This will be an additional expense for your project (and could cost several thousand dollars) Sometimes funders will look to your Board members as evidence that you can manage the funds. Are your Board members well-known and well-regarded in the community? What to do if… The funder does not give you all the funds that you requested. The funder refuses to support certain costs of your project/program It is important that you use the funds as you said you would. Building a Budget for Your Program/Service (Continued) Expenses usually include three categories: 1. Personnel expenses include costs directly related to the project/program including front-line staff, some supervisory staff (some funders will not cover these costs), support staff, volunteer labour, honouraria, training costs, consulting services, etc. 2. Direct project expenses (non-personnel) expenses include advertising and promotion costs, equipment lease or rental costs, costs of materials, postage, costs of accommodation and food, transportation costs, photocopying costs, etc. 3. Administrative/overhead expenses include pro-rated (a portion of) the operating costs such as utilities, office space, insurance, accounting services, etc. Funders usually set a limit for these costs (such as 10%). Costs need to “match” the work to be done. Do not overestimate or underestimate your costs. Remember to include what your organization will contribute to the project/program. Revenues Include all confirmed and anticipated sources of revenue. Notify funder when another revenue source is confirmed. Some funders will delay a decision until other revenue sources are confirmed. Adapted from A guide for non-profit organizations on proposal writing. Alberta Community Development, February 2004. Revenues and expenses need to balance! Budget Planning Sheet Budget Item Cost In-Kind Volunteer Costs Costs Over Donation Hours Covered Covered Duration by Funder by of #1 Funder Project #2 Salary Manager/Supervisor Salaries Front-line staff Salaries Support Staff Employee Benefits Facility Rental Postage Photocopying Office Supplies Photocopier - Lease Equipment Rental Utilities Insurance Marketing/advertising Telephone - rental Telephone – long distance Transportation - client Food -client Child care costs Project evaluation costs Administrative costs Total Communication - Reporting your Progress Keeping the funder and other people in your organization aware of progress improves confidence. Providing regular updates on your progress is important. It is also important to let the funder and others know when the project/program is not “rolling out” as planned so the necessary actions can be taken, quickly! The key questions to answer are: Who should I keep informed about this project? What is each person‟s preferred communication style? How often should I communicate? You can use the “Sample Communication Schedule” below or the “Project Activity Report” handout to communicate with your funder after you get the money. Sample Communication Schedule Person Medium Message Date This is an opportunity to show the funder how professional you are. Ask would you like to communicate with your funder? Project Activity Report This form uses some of the same information in the Project Work Plan – Planning Sheet that you completed earlier in this workshop. This report can be updated once or twice a month. You can e-mail or fax this report to the funder to update about the progress you are making or any delays or challenges you are experiencing. This supports honest, open communication. Who is Time Line Project Status (achievements, Activity/Task Responsible delays, challenges, etc.) Community Support for Your Program/Service Need to identify potential community partners Need to identify nature of relationship Need to commit time and energy to maintaining the relationship. Coordination – working with other groups to ensure that you are not „getting in each other‟s way‟ Some examples -not compete for same client, learner -coordinate scheduling of sessions Cooperation – working together to reach a goal Some examples –referrals to programs -advertising together Collaboration – working together in shaping the project/program and sharing risk and reward. Sometimes means forming a new organization that is outside the existing ones. Be very clear about the nature of your relationship with others involved with the project/program. True partnerships take time to develop and sustain. Future Funding and Sustainability Tell the funder how your project/program will continue after the current funds are used. Remember some funding has a “sunset clause” (is only given one time). Do not try to “bully” a funder into supporting your project/program. Be open to new opportunities for support! Activity 3 Develop your answers to the following questions: 1. Who are possible partners for your project/program? What might these partners contribute to this project/program? 2. Describe the steps you will need to complete to plan, implement and evaluate your program/project. 3. List the costs for this project/program. 4. What resources do you have to support this project/program? What other resources might you gather? Who can donate their time or other resources? How will you keep this project/program going after the funds you are applying for are finished? Sample Workshop Evaluation Skill Building in Proposal Writing Workshop Evaluation Form Please rate each of the following statements with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. 1. The workshop materials provided (handouts, checklists, tips, etc.) were good for today‟s topics. Poor Excellent 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 2. I feel more confident and excited to apply for funding. Poor Excellent 1 2 3 4 5 Comments: 3. My favourite or most useful section/activity was (please write one section): Why? 4. My least favourite or least useful section/activity was(please write one section): Why? Sample Workshop Evaluation 1. What information is new for you? 2. What did you learn in this workshop? 3. What did you like about this workshop? 4. What would you change or improve about this workshop? 5. What things would you like to plan for your community this year?