Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Unusual Grant Scenario

I was hired recently by an organization to write a grant for a program they developed over a year ago. They applied for this same grant last year, but they were not successful.  The design section scored very well, but the needs section, management plan, and evaluation section did not score well.  In fact, those sections were scored very poorly.

My interest was piqued as I reviewed the readers' comments.  Why?  Because this was an unusual scenario.

The most typical scenario when a grant is not funded is to see high scores for need, low scores for evaluation, and moderate scores for design.  Why is this?

Most applicants score high on need because they know their needs well. They have gathered their data and they really know why they want and need the grant.  Most applicants score low on evaluation because most people don't know much about evaluation. It's like the grant world's second cousin.  Everybody knows there is an important connection to it, but not many have taken the time to really get to know it.

Scoring well on design, but poorly on everything else means that they know what they want to do, but they are unclear on why (needs section) and how (management plan). Or maybe they are clear on those things but they don't know how to express it well.  In reality, it doesn't matter.  If you can't make it clear to the readers, you won't be funded.

The good news is that I can help these folks.  They have an excellent, clear view of what they want to do.  They really do know how to do it; they just need help with expressing it in writing.  A needs section is easy to write if there's a lot of available data (and there is).  As for evaluation, I'm a professional evaluator as well as a grant writer (did you know that?) so we'll nail the evaluation section.

The lesson from this unusual grant scenario is that you must pay attention to all sections of your grant proposal.  All pieces of the puzzle need to fit together well. That requires attention to all sections separately, as well as to the way they connect to each other.

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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.