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- About the NFF – congressionally chartered organization etc…Funder and grant seeker – wear 2 hats!!! Come at it from both angles…
- Taking on a project just to prepare an RFP will be evident in the proposal AND in implementation of the project.don’t want to get held up on a permit issue when the clock is ticking on the grant timeline…
Foundations are non-profits too! They have missions, strategic priorities, boards they have to respond to etc…Foundations are made up of people – just like you and me. Don’t call to ask questions that are clearly laid out in the RFP!!! Call with nuanced questions…Don’t expect them to tell if you if your project will get funded…
Jon always reviews my proposals… esp. good to have someone who’s not familiar with the project…Letters of recommendation – give writer more than the day before the grant deadline.
Send relevant updates, photos, etc. that would be of interest/use to the funder.Honest is best – EVEN if it means you don’t get funded…
Writing a Successful Project Proposal by Kathleen Dowd-Gailey
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO…WRITE A GOOD PROJECT PROPOSAL?
EVALUATE THE OPPORTUNITY• Two categories of consideration:I. Organizational & programmatic evaluationII. Practical considerations and RFP componentsBefore you even begin to prepare a proposal: “You’re starting with No…”
KNOW YOUR ORGANIZATION…• Beware of mission creep! • Does this proposal fit w/in our mission? • Do the goals of the proposal fit w/in our projects? • Be careful not to create a project/program just to try and compete for a grant…• IF it fits with our mission… • Is the project ready to go? • Designs, permits, environment clearance. • Can the organization handle the new project? • Staff capacity?
KNOW THE FUNDER…• Research the Foundation • What have they funded in the past? • What size have most of their grants been? • What are their priorities?• Remember - Foundations are non-profits too!• Build a relationship with the funder • Call with good questions • OK to ask for feedback, not opinions
KNOW THE RFP• Read the entire RFP before starting the application!• Follow all instructions (not just those that are easy).• Understand exactly what is being asked and what the program requirements are. • If unclear call for clarification.• Know what type of funding requests are allowed • Program/project • Admin costs?• Clearly explain your project – don’t assume reviewers know details you haven’t told them…
WRITING THE PROPOSAL• It’s an art, not a science…• Have a compelling story to tell.• Why would the foundation want to fund your organization? • How does it meet their mission, not yours…• ALWAYS have a second person review the proposal (more if possible/needed) • Spell check; fact check; does story make sense?• Letters of recommendation – • ONLY if asked for OR there is a compelling need. • Plan time to obtain • Offer to draft
MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS• The relationship doesn’t end with the ask• An honest relationship is the best• Ask for feedback if proposal isn’t funded• “No” isn’t the end of the relationship – it’s just the beginning!