A Step-By-Step Primer on How to Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 7)

STEP 7. Reporting

Reporting is one of the most critical components of the grant writing process. This article focuses on two key points: (1) reports and reporting generally and (2) information to collect for reporting purposes.

Reports and Reporting Generally

Generally, the type of reporting required is typically consistent with the type of grant you have been awarded. (Typically, grants are for research, community development, capital construction or development, or programs). Regardless of the grant type, however, once a nonprofit organization receives government funding, it has responsibility for the implementation of the project supported and for reporting the results achieved. The grantee must also monitor the performance of the project to assure adherence to performance goals, time schedules, or other requirements as appropriate to the project or the terms of the grant. 

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A Step-By-Step Primer on How to Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 6)

STEP 6. The Budget

Creating a budget is an important component to the grant process and requires critical thought and internal evaluation. This article will touch briefly on three areas: (1) reviewing the framework before creating the budget, (2) creating the budget by addressing the types of costs that should go into the budget, and (3) addressing how to determine whether a cost is reasonable. We will conclude by briefly highlighting some points and general advice about the budget process.

Budgetary Framework

It is not possible to instruct grant seekers on how to prepare the perfect government budget for your grant because every format for every grant is different. For example, if you are seeking funding for a new charter school, chances are the budget requirements and formats for the City, County, State and Federal grants are all different! That being said, there are some generalities that you can consider regardless of the type of funding you are seeking.

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A Step-By-Step Primer on How to Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 5)

STEP 5. Logic Models

Logic models are the primary mechanism by which your program's performance can be measured against the projected goals, objections, and outcomes. They differ from the traditional measurement standards that were focused on budget and are used primarily in part because budget alone is not necessarily the best indicator of success when it comes to fulfilling the organization's mission, especially for health and social services programs.

What is a logic model?

A logic model describes how your program or project is supposed to work. It defines what success will look like at the end of the program. It explains why your strategy is a good solution to the problem. Effective logic models make a specific statement of the activities that will bring about change, and the results you expect to see for the community you are serving. A logic model keeps the participants involved with implementing the program or project moving toward clearly defined goals by providing, dates, times, goals, and specific measurements of anticipated achievements.

There are several terms that you will need to become familiar with as they relate to logic models. They are:

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A Step-By-Step Primer On How To Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 4)

STEP 4. Writing The Application

This article focuses on how to prepare the grant application. In step one, you learned how to prove on paper that your organization had the capacity to partner with the Federal government and become a vendor. In step two, you learned how to research to generate support for your grant application. In step three, we discussed how the case for support should be written to align with the Federal agency's objectives for the community. In step four, we will focus on writing the application.

Deciding where to start on the application after your organization has decided to pursue Federal grants can be a daunting task, but is manageable. Much legwork and time should have already been spent on determining that your organization has met the capacity requirements, generating support, and working on a case statement. Next, after you have downloaded the grant application on Grants.gov, you are probably staring at approximately 100 pages of "Paper Reduction Act" detailed instructions explaining how to apply for the funding your organization needs.

The first step to completing this task is to read, read, read! Reading the application (multiple times) will ensure that over the next few months, you will know the application so well that you will be able to quote the requirements and the location of the content in each section.

After reading the application comes the arduous task of digesting the process, which can be quite formidable. Fortunately, there are several methods that can be useful to break the process of completing the application into smaller, manageable steps. These steps are outlined below.

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A Step-By-Step Primer On How To Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 3)

STEP 3. Writing the Case Statement

A case statement is a concise document that clearly explains what goal your organization seeks to meet, how you plan to meet that goal, and what you can achieve with additional resources. According to expert fundraiser Hank Russo, the "case" is the underlying rational for fundraising. It is the urgent call for a solution to a problem. It makes the argument of why the government should support your project; and what your project will accomplish. Case statements vary in length, depth and scope according to the particular needs being addressed.

When preparing a case statement, remember to focus outward on community needs and the benefits derived rather than inward on institutional desires. A case statement should be more factual than persuasive, and be between four to ten pages. The writing should be brief and succinct with excellent, but simple grammar.

Before you begin, write down several strong, compelling reasons why the organization deserves funding and support, and use these as your key points as your write. Writing your case statement will be much easier if you have prepared the documents described in Step 1 of our series, "Obtaining Large Government Grants." The resources you will need to complete your case statement are your mission statement, goals, objectives, description of your current programs and services, the project budget and financial plan, description of the governance, staff, explanation of current facilities and service delivery, and a plan for evaluation of the programs and services.

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A Step-By-Step Primer On How To Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part 2)

As explained in the first part of this series on obtaining large government grants for nonprofits, there are many steps toward making a successful application. Step 1, as previously described, requires showing proof of organizational capacity. This allows your organization to effectively demonstrate (on paper) that it is ready to ask the government to invest in your programs or services. Once that is done, it is time to focus on Step 2.

Step 2 is research. Research has many elements. While researching potential government funders on Grants.gov or the Federal Register is certainly one aspect, the research step discussed herein is more intricate. Particularly, you will need to research your community's need, demand, competition, and find out whether there are any collaborative partnerships within your area. This requires developing an understanding of (1) the community needs of your Federal, State and local government agencies and (2) how these agencies collaborate together to develop an effective solution (e.g., program) to meet them. Below is a brief summary of ways to help develop this understanding effectively.

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A Step-By-Step Primer On How To Obtain Large Government Grants For Nonprofits (Part I)

There are many steps to applying for large government grants. Each step is equally important to securing the funding your organization needs for growth. Over the next several weeks, we are planning to outline, step-by-step, the general process inherent in obtaining these grants. Our hope is that other professionals advising or working within the NPO community will comment and offer their own suggestions or opinions. We believe that such productive dialog will be helpful toward bringing more efficiencies (and money!) to Delaware nonprofits.

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