Frequently Asked Questions

Greetings from GrantLessons!

Beautiful weather in Reno, no smoke! Good day to drive up to Tahoe, just may do that!

Here are some frequently asked questions(FAQs) regarding the application writing process.

How do I save a document to Dropbox?

Answer: When you desire to save a document to Dropbox the first time, you must use “save as” which will open your list of files on your local computer. Go to the Dropbox icon and when you select it you will see the list of files established for your chapter’s Drobox. If you want to create a new folder, right click and a list of options comes up. Select “new” and give the folder a name, and open the folder. You can now save your file to that folder.

How can I grab small sections of information displayed on my screen?

Answer: You have just found information in a Form 990 that you want to share with your committee members. You can use Jing which is a free program from TechSmith at which allows you to draw a square around the data you want and take a picture of the screen. So instead of sending a whole document like a Form 990 you can just send the portion that you want others to see. You just copy and paste into your email, I find this does not work well with Yahoo accounts! I use this program every day.

Finding Funding Sources
How much should I request from the funder?

Answer: If you are applying to a corporation there is not as much information available to review. If you are applying to a foundation, simply go to their Form 990, which you can access through a free account on GuideStar. Towards the last of the document you will find a list of organizations and the amounts they received. Look at the nonprofits and find those that are similar to Assistance League. You are now better armed with data to make a decision.

How do I develop a good case statement or narrative?

Answer: Writing a compelling description of your programs needs to be done by a couple of individuals working together. In writing you want the funder to get a quick and concise picture of your program. So following the who, what, when, where, how format is a good way to start. What is the program? When was it started? Where is the program conducted. Who conducts the program? How does the program work? Lastly if you have outcome data about your program be sure to include.

How am I able to see all the data in the little dialogue boxes in online applications?

Answer: It is best to craft your response in Word and then cut and past into the dialogue boxes in an online application, especially for long responses. Also be sure to keep the working document used for future applications in Dropbox so you do not have to keep rewriting original material.

How do I get a copy of the online application for the files?

Answer: Prior to submitting an online application, there is a review option to ensure that you have inputted the data correctly where the whole application is displayed on the screen. Print the application at this point prior to submitting. Scan the document and save as a “pdf” in Dropbox as well as putting a copy of the working document in Word into Dropbox. You never know when you can use the information again!

When can I call and check on whether a decision has been made on my application?

Answer: Funders will often guide you as to when you can check to see if a decision has been made on your application. Do not call prior to those instructions. If you do not find a time element in your research, wait at least 90 days from time of application to making that call.

Committee Development
How do I get people to join the Grants Committee?

Answer: I wish I had the majic answer to this question? First, one needs to understand that it is not hard, writing federal and state grants are complex. Writing applications for foundation grants and corporate contributions is no harder than filling out other applications. Second, it is fun to make money sitting at a computer in your home. Lastly, when there are several people on the committee, the work can be distributed amongst many and no one gets overburdened. Have you ever thought of having a Grants Committee representative presenting at one of your chapter’s orientation meetings. Believe it or not that is how I got interested in doing application writing for the local chapter and working on the National Resource Development Committee. As one could say it is all Nancy’s fault that I am doing what I am doing! 😉

The name of the game is finding funders through research and then having others who are ready to complete applications using all the data saved into Dropbox. And doing it over and over and over. If you have other questions, select comment and ask away. 😉

Know that your work is the start of being able to bring relief to those living in your communities that are in need and who are suffering. With that purpose in mind, you will find that there is a little added spring to a grant committee member’s walk!

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


4 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I have a question I haven’t seen the answer to.

    If we apply to some of the same foundations year after year, how much do we need to change our cover letter, application and narrative? Some of the information (history, goals, et cetera) don’t change that much. Do foundations compare current applications with previous applications and letters?

    Thank you for your help.

    • Hi Kathy, we have several grants at our local chapter that we simply update the information about services provided in the previous year. So, yes we write essentially the same application from one year to the next without complaints from our funders. There are a few newer grants where we have done the same thing. We have increased our request for funding slightly in one of the olders grants that we have received for many years and have received it. There were two family foundations that were connected and I sent essentially the same application to both of them because their application was identical and received funding from both. That is the beauty of Dropbox, if the application is a hard copy you can just update it and send it again. If the application is online and you have saved the information placed into the application into a Word document then next year you simply “cut and paste” into the next application. I have done that several times with success. This year one of our newer committee member’s was able to take the Word document and update the online application with the same information and we are expecting to receive funding. Go ahead! Sandie

  2. Hi Sandie,
    Our chapter has some questions regarding capital campaigns. What type of documentation do grantors need for a capital campaign (building plans, etc.)?
    Can we approach grantors before we officially launch a capital campaign?
    We appreciate any feedback you may have on this issue.

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