Monday, April 21, 2014

Grantwriting 101

Out of cash? How about going after a grant? ONE TRILLION DOLLARS of free money out there...

This outlines my recent research into the world of Grant makers and seekers. I'll add more as I get smarter about the subject...
Grant Management
1. Grants.Gov

This site is rather comprehensive.
It outlines (rather simplistically) the four steps required to apply for and manage grants:
STEP 1: Download a Grant Application Package
STEP 2: Complete the Grant Application Package
STEP 3: Submit the Completed Grant Application Package
STEP 4: Track the Status of a Submitted Grant Application Package
The site offers links and tools for each of the four steps.
I would offer the following step as perhaps more fundamental:
STEP 0: Find a grant for which you wish to apply.
This is accomplished by examining, internalizing, and systematizing the following comprehensive link:
There are a number of filters that can be applied, appearing in the left panel, for which I suggest:
  • Funding Instrument                                             All
  • Eligibility                                                              City or Township Governments
  • Category                                                                All
  • Agency                                                                   All
This still gives 36 pages of possible grants. So as I said: time consuming.

2. Wikipedia
gives a good overview of the grants management process. The following is a synopsis of its key points:
  • Grant management software is a program or application that assists fund-seeking organizations such as non-profits and universities in administering and automating the grant process. Functions can include grant discovery, budget planning, peer collaboration, regulatory compliance, proposal submission, administrative reporting and project tracking. Available as self-hosted programs that are installed on the organization's servers, or as web-based cloud applications that are hosted on the provider's servers, grant management software helps grant managers, principal investigators, researchers and other individuals ease grant-related administrative burdens.
  • Grant management software market
Many nonprofits, schools and universities rely on grant funding. Each year, all U.S. grant sources give an estimated $1 trillion in grant money.[7] The federal government alone spent $489 billion in grant funding in fiscal 2006.[8]
  • Grant discovery
Grant management software can help customers find grants by automatically searching known funding sources and alerting users when applicable grant opportunities are available.
  • Grant collaboration
Preparing for award submissions, finding funding opportunities, and managing grant projects takes considerable collaboration.[11] Some grant management software offer collaboration solutions to make this process easier. Collaboration solutions can help users review grant opportunities, vote on opportunities to apply for, and communicate with other project peers.
  • Grant tracking and reporting
Organizations that receive funding often have to track grant-related activity and report results to grantors.[13] These tasks can include creating and maintaining award documentation, preparing budgets, and ensuring fund use is within grantor compliance. Grant management software can offer solutions for these tasks. It can record who participates and manage grant-related documents such as letter templates as well as export data to programs such as Excel for easier reporting.
3. Grants Manager Network
Grants Managers Network is a national association with a mission to improve grantmaking by advancing the knowledge, skills and abilities of grants management professionals and leading grantmakers to adopt and incorporate effective practices that benefit the philanthropic community.
It seems to be oriented more toward the grantmaker than towards the grantseeker.
4. Software
There are a number of options for grants management software:
This link describes many options. Most are online or require payment.
by eCivis. eCivis is the leading online provider of federal, state, and foundation grant information and grants management tools for local governments and nonprofits.
This is an open systems (free) GPMS.
The Grant Proposal Management System (GPMS) is a web-based workflow tool that streamlines the submission and review of grant proposals for non-profit and government organizations. At its core, GPMS is designed to allow people to import applications, score them, and then create a docket to present to a board. Behind the scenes, algorithms are built to support rules-based work assignments across the user base. These configurable, intelligent business rules allow for the deployment, routing, and tracking of approval processes that align with the organization's unique daily operational needs.
Sounds great, but the website has been hijacked by a DNS vendor and it is admittedly in ALPHA
This product will get you started crafting a formal project proposal or creating a contract for your organization and you'll find that Proposal Kit makes the process fast and easy. 
Proposal Kit Professional is a suite of business proposal and contract management products that help all kinds of organizations focus on the business end of what they do. 

No comments: