This is a continuation of the October 6th posting, Grant Me the Training, which included Before You Begin Writing – Plan, Elements of a Grant Proposal, One-Page Letter of Transmittal, Title Page, Executive Summary, Table of Contents, Statement of Need, and Goals and Objectives.
Methods, Strategies, and Program Design
This section bridges the big idea and the reality of HOW you’ll make it happen. Grantors prefer quantitative (not qualitative) research. Explain why you chose your methods by including research, expert opinions, your experience, and best practices from other successes.
Give the details of your target population. For example, your workforce development training will provide strategies for trainees to improve their potential in their healthcare career trajectories leading to improved patient care. (Identify if there are secondary levels in your training.)
At this stage, you may not be able to pinpoint all expenses, but you can sketch broad outlines. Be sure the costs are in proportion to the outcomes you anticipate. If the costs may be prohibitive, scale back or remove expenses that aren’t cost-effective. Also, mention grant money from other sources, volunteer services, etc.
Include the following:
- What specific budget information and level of detail is needed?
- What type of expenses are eligible?
- What period does the grant cover?
- What are expenses: payroll, and materials, and others?
- Will there be expenses for travel, marketing, or events?
Explain what activities will occur at intervals throughout the life of the grant period. Include everything mentioned in the project’s narrative. Reiterate how long the training should take. Divide the time into quarters, months, years, or whatever makes sense. Include steps that will take place during every phase of the training period. Present this in graphical form (such as a gantt chart) and make it very easy to read.
Will you share lessons learned so others can benefit from this grant? If so, with whom? Will you apply lessons you’ve learned from others? If so, from whom?
This is typically one of the most neglected parts of a proposal, but one that’s critical. A grant is an investment, and grantors want to maximize their return on investment (ROI) by funding training projects that will deliver the greatest sustained value. They need to feel confident they’ll survive after their investment period has ended. (That means after you’ve cashed the check.) Show that you’ll be accountable for ensuring the continuation of your project. A grantor doesn’t want to feel they’re your only hope.
- Explain how the program will be sustained on its own. Earned income? Sales? Fundraisers? Private donors? Collaborating organizations?
- Are you seeking funding from other sources? If so, include their names and documentation if it’s available. This shows you’ve begun to formulate a plan to sustain your program.
- Will you seek additional funding from this grantor?
What are your plans for marketing this program, if applicable? Are you considering a marketing or public relations campaign (internal or external), community affairs organizations, or professional publications?
Qualifications of Team Members
Why is your team the most qualified to meet your goal?
- Include one paragraph about each of the key people who will lead the project. Present this in descending order from leadership to support people. Call out relevant successes, publications, patents, and the like.
- Have any of them had a breakthrough or success in something similar? If so, be very specific. Mention percentages or dollar amounts when relevant.
- Include full resumes of key people in the appendix.
Show your plan to evaluate the degree to which objectives are met and methods are followed. This section is extremely important as grantors pay particular attention to evaluation methods. They need to determine whether your proposed training program represents a shrewd investment. Include the following:
- Evaluation of accomplishment of objectives.
- The process of evaluating and modifying methods throughout the project.
- Statement of who will be doing the evaluation and why they were chosen.
- Evaluation criteria.
- Data will be gathered, and the process of analysis.
- Test instruments or questionnaires are to be used.
- Assessments to improve or make corrections along the way.
- Reports to be produced and at what intervals.
This is where you place additional charts, tables, lists, illustrations, resumes, patents, commendations, and any other documentation to strengthen your ability to succeed.
Glossary (if necessary)
Throughout this proposal, keep industry-specific terms, acronyms, or initialisms to a minimum. When you need to include any you think may not be recognizable by the grantor, list them alphabetically them in a glossary.
Tip: Following is an example of how to explain a term first mentioned in the body of the proposal: ISD/SAT (Instructional Systems Development/Systems Approach to Training). . . Thereafter, you can use ISD/SAT.
Proofread Every Detail
Never overlook the importance of correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Even though you may use grammar and spell checker, don’t turn on your computer and turn off your brain. (A grant organization I worked with told me they couldn’t count the number of grant proposals tossed in the trash because of glaring misspellings – some even on the cover letter or title page. Some submitters even misspelled the name of the grantor.) Proofread and proofread again.
- Are all names, dates, and numbers correct?
- Are the sentences short and understandable?
- Are there bold headers?
- Are paragraphs limited to 8 lines?
- Are charts, graphs, and tables easy to read?
Super tip: Before submitting your application, send it to an objective reviewer of your choosing. Does that person understand what you’re trying to accomplish? Would it inspire, engage or motivate him or her to support your organization’s mission? If yes to both, you’re on the right track.