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Assistance League National Resource Development Committee Resource Library July 2012


The members assisting in the grant writing process need to work together as a team and coordinate their efforts to write grants. In Parts 1 and 2, the members should develop a system to gather information into a common online file management system called Dropbox and learn how to search grant databases for potential grantors. Next, the members turn to the actual writing needed to complete the documents required by the grantors to obtain a grant for their chapters program needs. The member writing grants needs several skills to complete the tasks required. The member should know how to use word processing and spreadsheet software applications. Part 3 Writing consists of four components: ready to write, document types, writing tools and saving documents. READY TO WRITE The member should complete the following: collect the necessary required documents into Dropbox, identify a potential grantor by using the databases, and review the grantors requirements for submission. Additionally, they need the chapter history and the program narrative prior to starting the actual writing of the grant documents. Grantor Requirements The member needs time to find a match between the grantors requirements for funding and the chapters need for financial resources for a specific program. First, make sure that the grantor funds in the geographic region where the chapter is located. Next, determine what guidelines are present for submission; whether it is a paper or online submission; and whether it is an open time or time-specific submission deadline. Read everything on the grantors website looking for anything that would be a deterrent to filing, such as, onerous reporting requirements or requirements contingent on receiving money, such as, having to do something to the chapter building. Review the Grantors Form 990-PF. Chapter History The chapter history is a brief statement. The chapter history needs to include the following elements: the year founded; the relationship to National Assistance League; the mission of the organization; the physical properties of the chapter; the number of members and the number of hours served during the last fiscal year; the number of programs provided by the chapter; and the specific program addressing specific key societal need(s) of the community.

See Examples/Writing Chapter History. See Resources Downloadable Files.

PART 3 WRITING Program Narrative The member writing the grant cannot write the program narrative alone. It is important for the member writing the grant to interview those members who are running the chapter program. It is important to collect statistics that are relative to the program, such as, the year the program started, the goal of the program and the number of people served. The program narrative needs to include the following components: a sentence summarizing the program; the specific need or issue in the community that the program addresses; the intended outcomes expected to attain; and the steps and resources needed to accomplish the program. See Examples/Writing Program Narrative. See Resources Downloadable Files. DOCUMENT TYPES There are three types of documents used in grant writing including: letter of inquiry, grant proposal and cover letter. The member should construct all three documents in a word processing program. After preparation, the member can cut and paste the elements into the proper dialog boxes for online submission. Many grantors do not use a letter of inquiry to evaluate whether they will accept an applicants grant proposal. Letter of Inquiry It is to the advantage of both the member and the grantor to determine if there is a match for funding. A letter of inquiry can be either a paper or an online process. A letter of inquiry is a simpler document to construct than a grant proposal, but often contains some of the same elements that will be required later in the full grant proposal. The following items frequently are required in a letter of inquiry: organization name, geographic area served, statement of need, funding requested, other funding sources, methodology, contact information and IRS Determination Letter. See Examples/Writing Letter of Inquiry (Paper). See Resources Downloadable Files. Grant Proposal The grant proposal consists of a document with specific information and attachments. Each grantor determines what elements they want addressed in the proposal they request and plan to fund. The grantor may request the following elements for inclusion in the document or online website: proposal summary, chapter history, geographical area served, statement of need, program narrative, methodology and contact information. Additionally, the grantor generally requests the following documents to be included with the proposal: budget, audited financials, financials YTD, Form 990-PF and IRS Determination Letter (the member can obtain these documents from the Treasurer). The document may be four to five pages long, given the elements requested. The attachments may be 15 to 20 pages long. Together, a grant proposal can be 20 to 25 pages long. See Examples/Writing Grantor Request for Proposal (RFP). See Examples Grant Proposal.

PART 3 WRITING Cover Letter Generally, only paper submissions require a cover letter. A cover letter is a brief introductory letter that summarizes the chapters desire to apply for a grant. A cover letter should be written after the grant proposal since the cover letter highlights items from the grant proposal. See Examples/Writing Cover Letter (Paper). See Resources Downloadable Files/Writing/Cover Letter. WRITING TOOLS The member will use word processing and spreadsheet applications to assist in their development of documents used for grant proposals. After the documents are developed, the member needs to request another member view and comment on the proposal prior to submission. Editing/Proofing Almost every writer needs an editor and a proofreader. The purpose of the editor is to check the facts of the document and ensure that all the elements required for the grant have been included, as well as, ensuring that the facts presented are clear and concise. A proofreader is the last person who reads the document prior to submission to make sure there are no spelling errors, there are no errors in grammar, and that the required formatting requirements are complete. It is important to follow the grantors directions for every detail. Look for inconsistencies within the document. It is important to read over the cover letter and make sure it matches the grant proposal. Word Processing Features Microsoft Word provides a feature that the member can use to prevent loss of work. The member should set the autorecover feature at one minute. By activating this feature, the member ensures that original typing is being saved every minute. Thus, if the program closes unexpectedly the typing will only be lost for the last minute when the recovered document is retrieved. See Resources/Writing Autorecover Feature. Microsoft Word provides a feature that the reviewer can activate that tracks the changes suggested by the reviewer. See Resources/Writing Track Changes Feature. Microsoft Word provides a feature that allows the member to search the document for spelling and grammar usage. See Resources/Writing Spelling and Grammar Usage. Microsoft Word provides a feature that allows the member to determine the number of words/spaces in a document or a portion of a document. See Resources/Writing Word Count. SAVING DOCUMENTS The member needs to save documents to Dropbox folders and subfolders on their local computer. Using the save as command rather than the save command will ensure that the member saves the document to the right folders within the chapters Dropbox structure. Placing actual grant proposals written by one member into a Dropbox folder allows another member to

PART 3 WRITING use the document in another grant proposal. The documents should be saved in the lowest version, such as, .doc for documents created in Microsoft Word.

CHECKLIST WRITING Print the checklist and distribute to the Grants Committee. Able to identify grantors requirements Able to construct the chapter history and file in Dropbox folder/subfolder Able to construct a narrative for a chapter program and file in Dropbox folder/subfolder Able to determine if grantor requires a letter of inquiry Able to construct a letter of inquiry in a word processing program Able to construct a grant proposal in a word processing program Able to construct a cover letter in a word processing program Able to ask a second person to edit or review document for grammar and spelling errors Able to set autorecover feature on word processing program Able to track changes to a document in a word processing program. Able to check documents for grammar and spelling errors Able to determine the number of words/spaces in a document or a portion of a document Able to save documents as .doc files in a Dropbox folder or subfolder ***