Steps to Writing a Grant Proposal
Steps to Writing a Grant Proposal
For all organizations funding can be an issue. Depending if the organization is for profit, they depend on loans and revenue to support them, building inventory, and expanding. While non-profits depend on grants and donations to keep their organizations running. The most important with non-profits is writing grant proposals to keep the financial aspects of the organization intact. Human services need to take great care in who is responsible of writing grant proposals for their organization. The important steps that must be followed in writing the grant proposal after finding the appropriate request for proposal or application is to write an abstract for the proposal, which would include a summary of the proposal with the agency name, type, purpose and objectives, interventions, target population, location, and relevance of the proposed program to the funding intentions (Terao & Yuen, 2003).
The next phase of the proposal would be the table of contents, which is a guide of the contents covered and their location within the proposal. Other important parts of the written proposal should be included within this proposal are the plans, background and significance, and needs and problem statement. Not only are these important they define the needs of the targeted population, demographics, the current state of affairs, and what will be needed to ease the problem. Discussing the barriers to service helps the funders decide if the goals meet their stated goals; these include accessibility, availability, awareness, appropriateness, and acculturation (Terao & Yuen, 2003). While it may seem that not all programs have all of these issues, most do in one way or another. Literature review helps to support the proposal request by identifying previous program results, data about the target population, and studies which are related to the issues.
Stating who the target population is for a program is very important for consideration by donors; they need to know who will be served, why they are currently underserved, and why they need to be served. Age, race, at-risk status, economic status, gender status, or other urgent needs are all aspects of target populations which should be addressed; as well as others, as appropriate. The approaches and methods section of the proposal tells the donor how you intend to address the problem as identified in other sections. Showing what your plan is, how you intend to intervene in the existing problem or situation, and how your program is unique to the current solutions which others are using. In effect, it is a summary of how your plan will work to “fix” the problem which presents itself in the target population.
The vision of a program is the ideal of what the situation will become if the mission, goals, and objectives come to be reality. Vision may seem to be a rosy view of what could be; mission, goals, and objectives lay out the plan that the organization will use to get as close to the vision as possible. The activities of intervention or service and the definition of the desired outcome help the reader to understand what your agency intends to do and how they plan on doing it. The next step is closely related to vision, mission, goals, and objectives; the evaluation plan shows the continuous ways that an organization can judge whether it is meeting the needs of the target population. The agency evaluation step is probably one of the most important aspects of a grant proposal; donors want to know how you will measure if your program is successful or failing in its mission.
The agency capacity and project management section of the proposal show the previous record of an organization; how well it has measured up on past programs, how well it managed past grants, and recommendations from other donors or people who sit in the public eye. The project management aspects address staffing, their responsibilities, the organizational structure, and how this program is related to past projects. The budget and budget justifications stage of proposal writing shows how the money requested will be spent and why it should be spent the way the detailed budget has projected. Items like the percentage to be spent on general expenses, salaries, staffing, and travel are all important to funders; if the largest percent of administrative salaries exist, the funder may require money be spent on other purposes. The other sources and amounts of funding which have been committed should be disclosed in this section of the proposal.
An ending summary which pulls together the plan, the desired outcomes related to mission, goals and objectives, the budgetary definitions, and how all interventions will best serve the clients involved in a situation where urgent or unique need has made the program important. Grant writing is a skill that will be developed with greater expertise through practice and experiences with funders. Great care should be taken to properly apply for grants related to specific programs and projects; otherwise, future submittals may be discounted because an agency has previously ignored the requirements of Requests for Proposals. Wasting the time of reviewers does not bode well for future applications. Being aware, attentive, and addressing accurately the requirements of those grants which relate to their programs will save the time and energy of grant writers which would be better served by applying for other appropriate grants. Section Two: Santa Rosa Philharmonic Youth Symphony
Needs and Problem Statement
Students in the Santa Rosa area who attend elementary and middle schools have recently lost opportunities to learn, appreciate, and gain practical knowledge of music due to budget cuts. They must wait to participate in music programs until high school or college; by then many have lost interest unless they have been taught privately. Few families can afford to sponsor private lessons for their children in this area. If there are not extracurricular activities available for students, they will find other avenues to fill their spare time; law enforcement, parents, educators, and social service professionals are concerned that gang activity, drug abuse, loitering, and other negative influences on a young person’s life may increase since there are less planned, positive, growth-related activities.
When a survey was taken of community members and leaders, they were concerned that the lack of essential music programs would set students behind others who attend school in districts which still support music and fine arts and another concern is without access to formal music programs, the youth of Santa Rosa will lose their appreciation, enjoyment, and participation in music programs. Since the costs associated with private lessons are beyond the reach of most families, they recommend development of a project which educates students and supports music education, appreciation, and leadership training.
There is a program in existence, The Santa Rosa Philharmonic Youth Symphony (SRPYS), which addresses all of these issues. Their mission, goals, and objectives will help to absorb students which have been excluded from musical experiences, but additional funding will be required to continue and expand the program. While not all students will be talented enough to perform in the major Philharmonic events, some will gain entry to the Symphony proper through auditions which are held each June. Those who are not chosen will still be able to participate in education and appreciation programs; thus, keeping them interested and exposed to different types of music while also aspiring to be accepted to the Symphony through practice and individual learning opportunities.
Terao, K., Terao, K.L. & Yuen (2003). Practical Grant Writing and Program Evaluation. Brooks and Cole/Cengage Learning, Florence, KY.