In the last issue we discussed how to identify and articulate the needs and target demographic and the goals, objectives, outcomes and action plan timeline for effective grant writing. This segment will discuss the project design and the budget.
Items to include in your project design include a description of activities; location; challenges, contingencies and sustainability; and non-federal funds.
Description of Activities:
What are detailed descriptions of all activities? Use your action plan timeline as a guide to write each activity in clear sentences and include additional information describing all aspects of the activity.
Ex: The kickoff meeting will include the executive director and board of directors, as we look over all objectives, goals and activities. We will immediately start on grant implementation.
This is where you can clearly state each activity that is required for implementation of the project. One specific area that you will want to define is how will you select the beneficiaries — or who will benefit from your proposed grant project. For example, you may indicate that your project will serve 100 people. How will you determine who your beneficiaries are and how will you get them involved?
Where will your project take place? This may seem silly and basic, but when reviewers are reading your grant they may not have a clue about your community. You need to be clear.
Ex. Youth Soccer Rocks activities will occur at the Clubhouse soccer pitch and classes will be held at Rocking Socks High School. Our headquarters are at the Youth Soccer Rocks suite, where we have one office of 200 square feet.
Challenges, contingencies and sustainability:
Things will come up and sometimes you can be ahead of the curve by identifying some potential issues and outlining a plan to address such issues.
- Challenges: What could go wrong?
Ex. Not enough youth will sign up for the project.
- Contingency: What will you put in place to mitigate challenges?
Ex. We will work with our partners to increase referrals and increase our visits to additional outreach at schools.
- Sustainability Plans: How will the project be sustained when the grant has ended?
Ex. We will leverage support from business partners, rotary clubs and other partners with continued sponsorship of scholarships.
Expand on these ideas, but remember this is where you are saying that the project will not just flop once grant funding is over.
You must point out what type of non-federal support your organization has secured, any other leveraged funds and how partnership will be obtained.
Who are some of your nonfederal resources? (In-kind volunteers, venue space, vehicles, other nonfederal grants, etc.)
Ex. Youth Soccer Rocks will have in-kind support from Rocking Socks High School for a space to teach our nutrition classes valued at $150 per class for 10 classes per year, with a total value of $1,500.
How will you oversee and monitor all your nonfederal resources and partnerships?
Ex. Youth Soccer Rocks will meet with our partners monthly and request reports for our meetings to outline all responsibilities.
Budget and budget narrative
It’s time to talk about the money. It is important not to segregate this section completely as it should be in alignment with the objectives and timeline. If you have an activity in the timeline, then you should see if it should be in the budget. This way you keep the entire design extremely clear, and the project will have the needed money to implement activities.
The following is an outline of the main line-by-line budget categories. Think of these categories as the main framework for your budget.
- Fringe benefits
- Program income
Just like your objective needs to be S.M.A.R.T., so does your budget. Your budget narrative is basically computations and reasoning, with words that describe your line-by-line budget.
Specific: Don’t fall into a trap and use the word “miscellaneous” for a budget subcategory. Be specific when listing all your subcategories. Ex. Full-Time Employee Project Director.
Measurable: Ex. FTE Project Director at 2080 hours x $25 per hour = $52,000.
Achievable: To ensure that your budget items are achievable, your budget needs to make sense. Ex. 100 uniforms for 100 students, not 50 uniforms for 100 students.
Relevant: If you listed hiring a project director in your timeline and discussed the project director’s role in your project design, then it would be relevant to include a project director in your budget.
Time-bound: If you break down your personnel computations on an annual basis, but then clump all your rent or supplies into three years, it will be confusing for the reviewer.
— This piece is the third in a three-part series. For more information, a downloadable copy of a budget framework and free printable resources visit www.wegogrants.com and check out Rustick’s book, “Wish Granted! Tips, Tools, and Templates to Write a Winning Grant” or her “Grant Writing & Funding Podcast.”