Archive | December 2013

Lesson #15 – Online Applications

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Here we go, like taking a sled ride down the hill, remember those days? Today, we are on a ride to completing an online application. Online applications are very much like paper applications. To start you will have a url for a website. You will need to establish an account with a username and a passcode. Next, you may be asked a series of questions to ensure that you meet the basic requirements of the funder. One question could be “Are you a 501 (c)3 organization?” You simply answer yes or no to each question. If you meet all requirements, the computer program will present the online application on the screen. The information requested is generally under a series of tabs.

Look over the questions and print them if you can. If the program does not let you print the screen then take a picture of the questions using Jing, see Lesson 7. As with a paper application look all the information over one more time, check to see if there are any character or word limitations. Note that a space between words can at times be counted as a character for the total count.

Set time aside to complete the application in one sitting. Be sure to save your work several times. If you should need to stop your work, you will be able to save the work and log back in using the original url, password and username. Some programs will send an email to you indicating that your work is in progress.

The most annoying thing about online applications is that you must enter data into small boxes called dialog boxes that have a scroll feature where you cannot see your entire answer. I have found that constructing the answers to all the questions in a separate wordprocessing file makes it a lot easier to edit a document, say the chapter history that is too long and needs to be reduced to 100 words. When I have the answer then I simply “cut and paste” it into the dialogue box.

You will need to upload files, such as the 501 (c)3 determination letter to complete the application. Generally, there is a file size limit that needs to be met so the documents will go from your computer to the program over the Internet. If your documents are in MB instead of KB they may not go over. A good example of large documents is the audited financials. You may need to get one of your techie friends to help you reduce the file sizes.

The program will generally need data to be entered in a specific way, such as, phone numbers or financial numbers and if you do it wrong, the program will highlight the area where an error in inputting has been made. Be sure to save your work frequently.

Be sure that you ask someone else to review the application prior to submitting the document. Once you hit the submit document you will not be able to edit the application. After submission, generally an email comes that indicates the foundation has received your application. Print a copy of this receipt and scan it into a pdf so that you can add it to the proper Dropbox file. Be sure to enter the application on your chapter’s tracking system. Now the wait is on.

We have reviewed a lot of material over the last 3 months and made great strides in your understanding of grant writing. Take time to finish your holiday preparations and take a short rest from GrantLessons, which will return on January 8, 2014. At GrantLessons, we wish peace for all of us and hope you enjoy your time with family and friends during this holiday period. 😉

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

Lesson #14 – Funder Evaluation and Paper Application

Greetings from GrantLessons! And, I thought it was cold last week! Wow what a cold spell we are in! Sure glad the Internet is available to help with shopping this year. We are moving right along with our lessons.

With a funder profile in hand, we are now ready to do our last evaluation before we start writing. Here is what to do next. Look at all the information you have gained about the funder from GrantStation, their website, their Form 990-PF and any other intelligence you can gather. Look at it critically, is there a match between what they want to fund and one of your chapter’s programs? With a resounding yes we now can start writing.

There are a few differences between completing a paper application versus an online application. However, one issue is the same and that is having historical chapter program information to use in writing the applicationis required. For instance, if we use Operation School Bell we need to know how many children did we cloth last year, how many children have we clothed since the inception of the program, which year did the program start? If you do not have outcome measurements you will not be able to write a strong application. As the grant writer your job is to report the information. It is the job of others in the chapter to actually develop the measures, collect the data, and report the information at least annually.

Let’s say this is a paper application. Look to see if there are any guidelines for writing: size of paper, margins, single or double spacing, font type and size, etc. Using these guidelines set up your wordprocessing program. Give the document a file name and save it to the proper Dropbox folder. Now with the blank sheet of paper staring you in the face, start with the first piece of required information. The information requested is the name of the applicant. Type “Name of Applicant” and enter the information. Continue down with the next piece of information requested, working through each requirement. In making the headings use the wording that the funder uses. Answer the questions succinctly and be careful not to use redundant information. Edit whatever you write to the bare necessities. You will find that you have the chapter history, the program description, the audited financials, the program budget already in Dropbox. Actually, if you have completed your other 13 lessons, the process will go fairly quickly. Are there any questions, remember you can ask a question by selecting the “Leave a comment” button at the end of the post at http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com .

Okay if you are like me there is a lot to do, so let’s continue this discussion next week with more on this topic including making an online application. Stay warm wherever you are at and remember to carve out an hour or two in your schedule for your grant writing activities.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

Lesson #13 – Tracking Funder Profiles

Greetings from GrantLessons! Brrr it’s cold outside. Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was fun with family and friends. I hope that you enjoyed your rest from Grantlessons, but now it is time to get back to work 😉

Well the last lesson was long and this one will be shorter. It is important to keep track of the funders you evaluate. I use two Excel spreadsheets. The first one catalogues each of the foundations and corporations that are not a match for our chapter’s programs. On the second one, I put those foundations and corporations that I believe our committee will want to write a letter of inquiry or application. Go to http://www.grantlessons.wordpress.com and you find sample forms for both under Examples/Funding Sources/ Grantor Name Searched and Examples/Funding Sources/Evaluation Elements. Please take the time to check these out. If you have decided to use both GrantStation and Foundation Directory Online, be sure that you add a column showing which database you used.

While this may seem like an extra step, it is important to do since often times our committee members do not stay on the committees for more than a year or two. If you do not know how to set up an Excel spreadsheet, ask others in your chapter to assist you. Once it is developed, adding the data is a simple task. Remember to add these documents to your chapter’s Dropbox so that other members will have access to them.

I am looking at the calendar, there always seems to be so much that needs to be done at this time of the year. Keep carving out an hour or two each week for your grant writing activities, hopefully over the last couple of weeks you have found at least one new funder that you want to approach for funding ;-).

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon. Sandie

This entry was posted on December 4, 2013. 1 Comment