FUNDED Articles

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
The current grants landscape features several law enforcement programs with language prioritizing projects that respond to a “precipitous increase in crime.”
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, February 12, 2018
When preparing a grant proposal there are several key elements that go into the final product. Often, the narrative – or project description – section is that which receives most of the applicant organization’s time and attention. Indeed, there have been ample articles written here, and elsewhere, providing tips and tricks for developing a proposal narrative. But an equally important piece of the proposal is often over looked: the budget. As such, we wanted to take moment to share three Q &As from...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, February 12, 2018
It’s no secret that the practice of grant seeking is pretty involved. It consists of countless hours of work: researching state, federal, and foundation funding sources; sorting through various opportunities to choose those that best match your project’s goals, funding needs, and timeline; figuring out what aspects the funder specifically requires for your project; collecting partnership agreements; not to mention actually writing the proposal! Moreover, few organizations are fortunate enough to have the means for keeping a full-time grant professional on staff. So what is an organization to do?...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, February 12, 2018
Imagine this scene: You find yourself sitting at the computer, coffee in hand. The project details your team has spent weeks carefully plotting are printed and neatly stacked in the center of your desk. The plan is ready, the budget set. All that’s left to do is type the grant narrative. You open a fresh Word document and are met with that awful blank page… We’ve all had that moment of dismay – It’s daunting to start a grant proposal from scratch. Well-written narratives contain an overwhelming...
By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Whether you’re just starting out as a grantseeker or have been working in the field for years, and whether you work in education, government, or healthcare, you should find some useful information and insights in this issue of FUNDED – our biggest issue yet!You can download the issue directly at education takes the lead with highlights of two NSF grant programs that support research infrastructure-building initiatives across...
By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, November 14, 2017
One thing that plagues the healthcare industry is an overabundance of acronyms and terms that can leave the heads of the uninitiated spinning.
By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, November 5, 2015
     Throughout my near decade of grants consulting, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with thousands of organizations, many of which were having their first conversation about grants.   In most cases, the people I spoke with were either new to their position, their organization didn’t typically apply to grants, or they knew that their organization received grants, but they weren’t historically part of the process.  For whatever reason, there are some strategies and tips I’d like to offer those folks...
By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, November 5, 2015
    The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) should be released any day now and it’s time to start thinking about your application for this year.       In a previous issue of FUNDED I covered the basics of AFG, so if you’re unfamiliar with this funding opportunity, you may want to refer back to the aforementioned article before proceeding.       In this issue we will focus on best practices and tactics for making your department’s application more competitive.     First, you’ll want to ready...
By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Rarely are there grants expressly for the purpose of purchasing technology equipment. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is host to one of these exceptions, the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant, wherein the USDA funds the acquisition of video conferencing equipment for rural end-users proposing either distance learning or telemedicine projects.

Opportunities such as DLT are few and far between and often come with strict eligibility requirements that knock...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, August 31, 2015
1. Can I use grant funding to fund the movement of data from physical to cloud infrastructure?2. Can I use grant funding to convert from physical to cloud infrastructure?3. Can I use grant funding to support cloud compute and storage infrastructure?There is a growing trend within universities and research entities towards utilizing cloud compute and storage infrastructure. There are numerous advantages to moving data into the cloud, particularly when it comes to the collaborative nature of research...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, August 31, 2015's who.At least that’s true in the world of public safety. Most folks in the public safety realm are well aware of the annually administered, direct federal grants, such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program and the Justice Assistance Grant Local Solicitation. These grants are a “straight shot” from applicant to funder—that is, the applying entity submits an application directly to the funding agency—no middleperson.However, there are a myriad of programs from the Department of Homeland...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, August 31, 2015
It’s no secret that the National Science Foundation (NSF) concerns itself with awarding grant opportunities related to STEM endeavors. However, often times we only consider cutting-edge, high-level research, or sub-field specific grants. Yet, there also exists a plethora of fellowship opportunities that are available to individual researchers. Often forgotten are those grants which can be utilized as a vehicle to support the effectiveness of STEM learning for people of all ages in all settings -...
By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It’s that time of year again where folks from fire departments and emergency medical services (EMS) communities need to start thinking about Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.  For those who aren’t familiar with the program, AFG provides funding for fire departments, EMS, and to a lesser extent State Fire Training Academies to fund projects ranging from training, equipment acquisition, facilities improvements, vehicles, micro grants for small projects, and large-scale regional projects.  It is a very well-administered and well-funded program with over $300,000,000 available in this year’s competition alone!  However, it is a competitive program and not everyone who applies will win.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Some will argue that they would rather err on the side of providing too much information rather than the alternative, but in the context of a grant proposal, the key to success is to find the sweet spot, or the bottom of the pendulum swing.  Since most people understand the perils of providing too little information, the focus of this month’s column is on avoiding the pitfalls of doing the opposite.
By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Increasingly, state and federal grant programs are requiring partnerships as a prerequisite to applying.  And even if a partnership isn’t expressly required as part of the grant program, demonstrated partnerships are often treated preferentially.  Within the context of this broad emphasis on collaboration, let’s review how to avoid two common pitfalls in forging these partnerships. 
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, May 19, 2014

The May 2014 issue of FUNDED is now available for download.


The May 2014 issue of Grants Office's FUNDED publication


By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, May 19, 2014
Recently, I’ve come across some proposal development scenarios where the applicants were scrambling at the last minute to construct their project budgets and subsequent budget narratives.  It seemed that these pieces were being treated as an afterthought, and as a result the documents reflected as much, with missing line items, incorrect calculations, and poor supporting documentation.  It’s not exactly certain how these poorly conceived budgets will impact the review process, but it stands to reason...
By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, June 3, 2013

Every grant manager I know earnestly wants to ensure that everyone who applies to their program is clear on the requirements and has all the tools to present their project for consideration. More compliant applications means more projects in the pool and potentially better projects receiving awards at the end of the process.

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, June 3, 2013

Many folks believe that once they’ve logged in with their SAM username and password per the instructions in step 6 they are all set, but they’ve only created the account, they haven’t fully registered with SAM.  Failure to see SAM registration through in its entirety will result in your organization not being able to submit federal grants.

So what else do you need to do?

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Even if you've been successful at obtaining grants in the past, the prospect of poring over a federal or state grant guidance document may still rate right up there with oral surgery.

The good news though is that these large documents (often 100+ pages in length) actually follow a fairly consistent format, and with a few tips from Grants Office’s reserve of hard-earned experience, you can approach new grant programs much more confidently.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

While each grant proposal will have its own set of specific guidelines and required supporting documents, grant writers can save a lot of time (and probably spare some headaches) by maintaining a "Frequently Used" file of the most commonly-requested supporting documents and materials. Depending on the type of programs to which your organization typically applies for funding, your list may vary from the one below.  However, determining which documents to file and keeping the files up to date can smooth out the proposal development process for several different grants and, if you find yourself pinched for time, can mean the difference between a high-quality, successful submission and an unsatisfactory or incomplete proposal.

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, December 14, 2012

For organizations engaged in projects designed to benefit communities, distilling the overall impact of that project into a list of concrete and measurable objectives can prove challenging. Unlike profitable businesses, nonprofit organizations and public entities are not necessarily wired to produce a clean-cut demonstration of return on investment for their projects. However, with grant dollars dwindling while community needs continue to increase, funders are looking for increasingly empirical data to demonstrate that their money is being well spent. In the examples below, a few average (or worse) project objectives are diagnosed and treated with a good dose of specificity. While these examples are purely fictional, the methods used to improve them can be used for a variety of grant applications.

By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, May 10, 2012

In today's competitive grants market, there are a variety of sure-fire ways to get your grant proposal tossed into the rejection pile.

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, March 19, 2012
Cost-sharing can be tricky waters for applicants to maneuver.  Cost-share or match components vary greatly between different funding programs. While some grants require a certain percentage of the total project cost in the form of a local cash match, others may allow in-kind matching, and still others may not require a match at all.  In these lean financial times, you may lurch at the idea of coming up with funds to match the grant; after all, you are seeking grant funding because you can't fund the project on your own, right?  However, there are several important aspects to consider with regard to matching, and you might want to hold off on tossing that grant aside before fully considering these pointers.
By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, March 16, 2012

Show me the money! As far as a grant funder is considered, it is probably more appropriate to say “show me how you are going to spend the money”. For the applicant, it is the piece of the proposal that is likely to keep you up at night. After all, the reason you are seeking grant funding the first place is because you are most likely facing a funding deficit for an important project. It is only natural that you may be preoccupied with budgetary needs while you are still developing the project and the accompanying proposal narrative.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Despite the persistently slow economy and ongoing budget cuts at every level, the U.S. Federal Government awarded nearly $600 billion in grants in 2011, which represents a 20% increase over the approximately $500 billion in grants awarded in 2009. On average, only about three to five percent of grant proposals submitted to the federal government are awarded funding. With more budget cuts on the horizon, the already tough competition for federal grant dollars is poised to become even more fierce. That means that now more than ever, only the 'best of the best' proposals will get funded. The loss of just a single scoring point can make the difference between success and failure. I regularly work as a peer reviewer for a number of federal funding agencies so I see firsthand what sets winning grant proposals apart from the others. I would like to share with you several common pitfalls that I frequently run across that ruin an otherwise solid proposal's chances of getting funded.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Many people submit their grant application and anticipate the end of the process: notification from the funder on whether funding is approved. Of course, those who win awards understand that the notice is not the end, but a transition to a new phase in post award administration and project deployment. Unfortunately, many who are denied funding simply accept the fate of their application as the end of the road. Being notified that an application has been denied funding may be a depressing setback, but is should never be viewed as the end of the grantseeking process. Some of the most successful organizations at pulling down grants don’t win every time they submit an application. Successful organizations are denied funding and ask themselves: How do we pick up the pieces and move forward?

By Grants Office, LLC on Sunday, January 15, 2012

Anyone who's been involved with the grants process knows its one thing to find the right grant and another thing to actually submit an application. Once you go through the trials and tribulations of putting the application together, you have may have looked over the application hundreds of times, or you may not have had much time to look it over at all. In this economic state, organizations are downsizing and people are being asked to take on more and more tasks. This can hurt the quality of an application when the submitter doesn't have enough time to properly proofread the application before it is time to submit.

By Grants Office, LLC on Sunday, January 15, 2012

The start of the new year means big business for gyms and fitness clubs as overstuffed holiday revelers seek to atone for their overindulgence by resolving to get in shape and lose those extra pounds. Whether or not this year's flock will stick with their goals remains to be seen, but the beginning of the year is also a great time to think about getting your grant-seeking program in shape. Whether you have yet to embark on a quest for grant funding or are a weather-beaten veteran of the process, take this opportunity to rethink your strategies, or develop an entirely new one, and make 2012 your most successful grants year yet.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

With what seems like a never-ending saga of budget cuts, organizations across the country continue to seek out alternative sources of funding such as grants from different government sources or private foundations. Many of these requests, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to be for basic operating expenses, salaries, or equipment such as new computers or technology. Even as more organizations line up to compete for grants for basic purposes, funders are actually seeking much more comprehensive projects beyond these kinds of requests.

By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grant funding, like any other competition, inevitably results in winners and losers - and unfortunately, the latter tend to outnumber the former. Take for instance, the Investing in Innovation program available from the U.S. Department of Education. This year's competition brought out over 500 applicants for just under $150 million in total funding. It is likely fewer than 30 of these applications will receive funding - making it just as unlikely to receive grant funding as it is to get into Harvard.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

From one of the more memorable movie scenes of the past 20 years, you may recall a phone conversation between Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding, Jr. that portrays the amusing contract negotiation of an agent and one of the professional sports figures he manages. A repeated and emphatic shouting of “Show me the money!” helped endear Jerry McGuire to movie viewers and helped Cruise’s character succeed in achieving his intended task—the movie scene ends with Cruise receiving a simply stated, “Congratulations, you’re still my agent,” from his star-in-the-making. It’s not necessarily the aggressiveness of the message itself but rather its impassioned delivery that may best carry over to grant applications.

By Grants Office, LLC on Saturday, January 15, 2011

As the new calendar and fiscal year 2011 begins, many grant programs are being reminded that they are only as valuable as the actual projects they support. Those consistently lacking results often find their government appropriations dwindle, if not dry up entirely. With everyone positioning their stake for a finite, albeit ever-growing level of federal funding, many grantmaking agencies demonstrate their value by leveraging investments in various projects that represent not only immediate community benefits but also the greatest potential for a long-term return on investment. Grantseekers therefore have an opportunity in the new year to strike while the iron is hot. Savvy applicants will likely consider one of the following project components in their FY2011 applications.

By Grants Office, LLC on Saturday, January 15, 2011

A big federal agency just released a new grant that is accompanied by a guidance document filled with 150 pages of content. The guidance document contains all the granular details on the grant program, including instructions for development of the proposal and submission. The guidance document may be referred to by several names, including request for proposals (RFP), request for applications (RFA), and Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). Based on a quick review of the information, you are considering developing a proposal under this recently released grant program. Considering the size of the guidance document, one would assume that the items and services eligible for purchase with the grant funding are clearly delineated.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The application has been submitted, the award has been drawn down, and all seems quiet on the grant front. Can you relax, now that the project planning and actual writing has been drawn to a close?

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, November 15, 2010

Even after a priority funding opportunity is identified and an organization is beginning down the grantwriting road, there are still pitfalls and roadblocks on what seems like a simple linear path. Employing a grantwriter that is not on organizational staff and might not be familiar with the intricacies of the project is a method of grantwriting that can present its own unique challenges to the grantseeking process. Grantwriting engagements involve both give and take—there is a necessary level of exchange of information and expectations from both the client and the grantwriter. Successful engagements often involve executive and editing support from those outside of the immediate grantwriting and client staff, and the grant development phase can become an arduous process for everyone if expectations are not clear. Collaborative involvement between a client and a professional grantwriter can result in the development of a superior proposal, and many common pitfalls of such an engagement can be avoided if all involved parties understand and commit to their roles in the grantwriting process.

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, October 15, 2010

By Vince Siragusa
October 2010 (GO Know)

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could run a project by the grant maker before spending hours on a grant proposal? Needless to say, you don’t want to waste valuable time and resources positioning an application with limited funding potential. Inasmuch as the applicant’s time can be better spent exploring other funding avenues, the grant maker doesn’t want to be inundated with applications for projects they have no real interest in supporting. Understanding the role of the Letter of Intent or Letter of Interest (LOI) is one of true time savers in the world of foundation grant seeking. This document must be as well developed as the project for which funding is warranted.

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, October 15, 2010

As many organizations and agencies can attest, nothing quite compares to the disappointment of an unfunded grant application, particularly one that an organization has put its full weight behind with planning, implementation, and drive. It's tempting to take that application, throw it in the trash, and move on. However, successful, tenacious grantseeking often involves taking those applications that were not successful and learning from them.

By Grants Office, LLC on Sunday, August 15, 2010

Anyone who has ever been involved in a fundraising effort will recognize the following scenario in terms of process. A specific need for the organization has been identified. The equipment and training associated with the project will inevitably save time, money, and provide a long lasting impact to the community. Fiscally responsible organizations often factor in some level of cost-benefit analysis in their prioritization of projects, and without a viable funding source, often the project finds itself on the back burner when other costs such as salaries and overhead are factored into this zero-sum game.

By Grants Office, LLC on Sunday, August 15, 2010

In the grants world, "matching funds" means bringing two different funding sources together for one project. Match or cost-share requirements are minimum amounts of funding that must be derived from a source other grant funder. The purpose of match requirements is usually to promote collaborative efforts, as discussed in the July issue of GO Know, and/or demonstrate the ability of your organization to sustain a project beyond the life of a specific grant.

By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, July 15, 2010

In the shadow of the recently closed Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program, the importance of collaborative projects and clear partner agreements remain vital pieces of a grantseeking and project development phase. This particular program involved the possibility of collaborative efforts, and documentation of these collaborations was required for this type of engagement.

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