Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Evidence for the Importance of Reading Everything in the RFP

You know that I am always saying you should read the instructions for any grant very carefully and follow those instructions. I also advocate this careful reading even if you have applied for the same grant in the past because things can change. One of our video Tips from the Grant Goddess discussed taking your research beyond the RFP and reading all ancillary materials referenced in the RFP.

Well, this week, I discovered two more examples of the importance of this. The first example is a case of writing a proposal that we have applied for in the past.  Last year, we wrote several of a particular variety of federal grant, so we thought we were very familiar with the requirements and the RFP.  Not so fast.

The name of the program is the same, and the basic priorities are the same, but the scoring criteria and much of the detail about the requirements has changed.  The narrative is even 10 pages shorter than last year! The week before a grant is due is a lousy time to figure this out.  How can this be avoided?   By reading the RFP thoroughly before you even start working on it.

The second example falls in the category of additional, but critical, information that is not in the RFP.  Of course, everything is supposed to be included in the Federal Register announcement, but we all know that it isn't always included.  In this case, there is a required letter of partnership that is not mentioned in the Federal Register or the RFP.  It is mentioned, however, in the non-regulatory FAQs.

The message? Read everything!  Read it thoroughly.  Read it early in the planning process.  Don't get caught off guard as the deadline approaches.


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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.