SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE
STEP 3: DETERMINE THE GRANT REQUIREMENTS
By Steve Meyer
Steve Meyer Consulting LLC
I’m back after a hiatus of two months due to a hand injury that made keyboarding extremely difficult. Where I left off at in my 10 Steps to Grant Application Success was Step 2: Find a grant that is applicable to your program. Now we’re ready for Step 3: Determine the Grant Requirements.
Every grant proposal will have certain components and data that is either required in the grant application or is a critical element for success in the grant narrative. One of the biggest reasons a grant is not funded is because the proposal does not contain all of the right information or it fails to provide all of the critical components.
The first thing we need to do here is distinguish between what I mean by grant application and grant narrative requirements. Grant application components are the items required for what I refer to as “the fill in the blank part.” In this portion you will be asked to provide considerable information about your organization. The necessary information will differ with different grant funding sources, but some are pretty standard. This normally includes such things (to name a few) as the organization’s mission statement, its board of directors, financial information such as annual operating budget and project budget, geographical area and population served. To prepare for this part, the thing to keep in mind is that a grant evaluator should be able to understand your organization’s function and purpose in just a brief review of the information you provide. Any question left unanswered will likely be grounds for dismissal of the grant application. Any question that is not answered in a thorough and precise manner weakens the grant application.
Other necessary information for a grant proposal is components for development of a compelling, convincing and competitive narrative. Some of this information will come from elements already used in the grant application. The remainder is project driven. The project you are seeking funding for needs to be clearly defined and based on an identified and justified need. Historical data, census data, projected project impact data etc. will be necessary in the narrative. In many grants you will have a limited amount of space or characters to develop your narrative. The narrative may be developed in response to a single question, or it may be developed in response to several questions or project description requirements.
A critical component for non-profit organizations applying for corporate or foundations grants is providing verification of IRS 501c3 status. If you don’t have the necessary letter of verification from the IRS, check into this and either get a copy of the letter before you start the grant or find out if you do indeed have 501c3 status. You may need the assistance of an attorney to do this. I have consulted with a number of organizations that were operating under the assumption that they were a non-profit entity only to discover that they legally were not and could not apply for non-profit related grants.
Recent requirements for any entity applying for a federal grant are registration with DUNS and SAM. DUNS registration in my experience is best handled by calling 866-705-5711. SAM (System for Award Management) registration information is found at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. SAM registration will take some time. This is a successor to CCR (Central Contractor Registration). If you have previously registered with CCR you must migrate that information over to SAM. Information on how to accomplish this found at the SAM website.
You need to have all of the information for the grant narrative and application at our fingertips before you start the grant proposal.
Step 3 of the grant development process is often a time when the potential grantee first determines that they need help. Help may be found from another person or organization that has successfully completed an application or a professional grant consultant.
Steve Meyer is a grant writing and emergency management consultant. You can find out more about his services at his website http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com.