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Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers guidance about expense categories in common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Context

At least 20 associations of grant makers or other organizations publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores budget expense categories included in CGA budget information sections. Later posts will explore other elements of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

Proposal budgets delineate how an applicant plans to expend grant funds. A funder’s budget expense categories determine the types of expenditures that an applicant can propose.

 

Expense Categories

Out of the 20 common grant application forms, 11 (or 55%) of them — CA, CO, CT, IL, ME, MO, NJ, OH, TX, WA, and WI — offer no budget expense forms or templates and/or no guidance to applicants about identifying various categories or types of requested project or program expenses.

 

  Common Grant Application Forms
 Expense Category NNG AZ DC MA MI MN NY PA1 PA2  
Salaries and Wages Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Fringe Benefits Yes   Yes   Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Payroll Taxes Yes   Yes   Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
Consultants Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Professional Fees Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Travel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Equipment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Supplies Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Training Yes Yes   Yes     Yes   Yes  
Printing and Copying Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Telephone and Fax Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes    
Postage and Delivery Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Rent Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes  
Utilities Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes   Yes Yes  
Maintenance     Yes Yes Yes          
Insurance   Yes   Yes Yes Yes   Yes    
Depreciation   Yes   Yes   Yes   Yes    
Evaluation     Yes   Yes   Yes      
Marketing       Yes Yes          
Miscellaneous Expense       Yes     Yes      
In-Kind Expense Yes Yes Yes     Yes   Yes    
Other Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes   Yes Yes  

 

All CGA States

 

Analysis

Out of the nine common grant application forms that do provide guidance about project/program budget expense categories: nine (or 100%) mention professional fees, travel, equipment, supplies, postage and delivery, and rent; eight (or 89%) mention salaries and wages, consultants, printing and copying, telephone and fax, and other; seven (or 78%) mention fringe benefits and utilities; six (or 67%) mention payroll taxes; five (or 56%) mention in-kind expense, training or professional development, and insurance; four (or 44%) mention depreciation; three (or 33%) mention maintenance and evaluation; and two (or 22%) mention marketing, and miscellaneous expense.

 

Among the uniquely identified budget expense categories mentioned on common grant application forms are: subcontractors (AZ); employee-related expenses (AZ); technology (DC); bank/investment fees (MA); food costs (MA); fundraising/development expenses (MA); pro-rated general and management expenses (NY); and telecommunications (PA-2).

 

Sources

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.   NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.   AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.   CO: Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • 5.   CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 6.   DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • 7.   IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 8.   ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 9.  MA: Associated Grantmakers
  • 10. MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 11. MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 12. MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 13. NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York
  • 14. NY: Grantmakers Forum of New York
  • 15. OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 16. PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 17. PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • 18. TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 19. WA: Philanthropy Northwest
  • 20. WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers guidance about revenue sources in common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Context

At least 19 state and regional associations of grant makers or other organizations in the United States publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores CGA budget information sections in terms of the applicant’s various possible sources of revenue.

 

An earlier post explored CGA requirements for elements of proposals ranging from Cover Letters to Attachments. Later posts will explore other elements of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

Descriptions of  funding sources indicate how an applicant plans to leverage other resources. A funder generally expects an applicant to leverage resources in order to maximize the chances for long-term sustainability and in order to broaden the potential impacts of its funding across a pool of applicants.

 

Applicant Sources of Revenue

Out of 19 state and regional common grant application forms, six (or 31.6%) of them — CA, CT, ME, MO, NJ, and WI — offer no budget forms or budget templates and/or no specific or detailed guidance to applicants about identifying income sources or other project budget resources.

 

  Common Grant Application Forms
Revenue Sources AZ CA CO CT DC IL ME MA MI MN MO NJ NY OH PA1 PA2 TX WA WI
Government Grants X   X X X X   X X X X X X   X X X X X
Government Contracts X   X X X X   X X X X X X   X X X X X
Foundations X   X X   X   X X X X X X   X X X X X
Corporations X     X X X     X X X X X   X X X X X
Federated Campaigns X     X X X   X   X X X X   X   X X X
Individuals X   X X X X   X X X X X X   X X X X X
Fundraising Events X   X X X       X X X X X X X X   X X
Fundraising Products       X X       X X X X X   X X     X
In-Kind Support     X X X     X X X X X   X X X X   X
Earned Income X   X X X     X   X X X   X   X X X X
Investment Income X     X           X X X X   X       X
Membership Income X     X X       X X X X X   X X X   X
Workplace Giving     X                             X  
Other Support X       X     X X X X X     X X X   X

 

All CGA States

 

Analysis

Out of 13 common grant application forms that furnish project budget or income source guidance, 12 (or 92.3%) mention government grants, government contracts, foundations, and individual contributions; 11 (or 84.6%) mention fundraising events; 10 (or 76.9%) mention corporations, in-kind support, and earned income; nine (or 69.2%) mention federated campaigns (e.g., United Way), membership income, and other support; seven (or 53.8%) mention fundraising products; four (or 30.7%) mention investment income; and two (or 15.4%) mention workplace giving.

 

Among the uniquely identified applicant income sources mentioned on common grant application forms are: religious institutions (NNG); endowed income (AZ); business (CO); an in-kind support types list (DC); interest income (MA); miscellaneous contributions (NY); miscellaneous revenue (NY); program service fees (NY); fundraisers (OH); board contributions (TX); and interest income (TX).

 

Of the 13 state and regional common grant application forms that do provide some manner of explicit and/or detailed guidance to applicants, the most minimally differentiated guidance — and thus, potentially, the least useful for users — is found in the common grant application form for OH. For example, it uses the term ‘Other Funders’ without further elaboration about possible types.

 

It may be worth noting that most of the 14 common grant application forms distinguish between government grants and government contracts and between fundraising events and fundraising products, and half of them distinguish two or more types of ‘income.’

 

Sources

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.  AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.   CO: Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • 5.   CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 6.   DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • 7.   IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 8.   ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 9.  MA: Associated Grantmakers
  • 10. MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 11. MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 12. MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 13. NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York
  • 14. NY: Grantmakers Forum of New York
  • 15. OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 16. PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 17. PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • 18. TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 19. WA: Philanthropy Northwest
  • 20. WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers guidance about proposal lengths and formats in common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Context

At least 20 associations of grant makers or other organizations in the United States publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores CGA publishing requirements such as Narrative Page Limits, Page Margins, Font Sizes, and Line Spacing.

 

Other posts will explore required proposal elements from Cover Letters to Attachments, applicant revenue sources from Grants to Memberships, and budget expense categories from Salaries and Wages to Marketing – as well as other elements of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

As a collection, taken as a whole, the common grant application (CGA) forms provide insight into the questions and considerations that interest hundreds of private grant makers. They show that funders have specific expectations about fonts, margins, and other aspects of proposals as forms of writing.

 

Page Limits

As the table below indicates, CGA page limits range from three pages to nine pages. The median is five pages. All CGA providers that state page limits exclude Attachments from them. A dash (—) means that no guidance for page limits is stated on the provider’s CGA.

 

Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
CGA Provider NNG AZ CA CO CT DC IL ME MD MA ME MN MO NJ NY OH PA1 PA2 TX WA WI
Page Limits 5 5 5 5 8 5 2 6 8 5 5 4 6 3 9 4 5

 

Analysis

Out of the 20 providers of common grant application forms, four (or 20%) (CA, MI, MO, and PA-2) provide no guidance about Narrative page limits. One CGA provider (ME) gives guidance for its Format A but not for its Format B; the same provider also specifies an alternate 1,000-word limit for its Format A. Providers that do not specify page limits often defer to the specific guidelines and priorities of funders that accept the CGA. Three (or 15%) CGA providers (CO, ME, and TX) vary their page limits according to the specific type of proposal (e.g., general operating grants versus project grants).

 

Proposal Formats

In the table below, a dash (—) means no guidance about proposal formats; an asterisk (*) means no guidance about the specific attributes; and a blank means that the provider imposes either one of the line spacing requirements or the other (as indicated by an X).

 

  Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
CGA Provider NNG AZ CA CO CT DC IL ME MD MA ME MN MO NJ NY OH PA1 PA2 TX WA WI
Margins X X * X * * * X X * * * * X X *
Font Size X X * X * * * X * * * * * X X X
Single Space * X * * X   X X X X   X X X * *
Double Space *   * *   X         X       * *

 

All CGA States

 

Analysis

Five (or 25%) CGA providers (MO, NY, PA-1, PA-2, and TX) offer no guidance about proposal formats. Of the 15 that offer guidance, the type size that 11 (or 73.3%) CGA providers require is 12-point font. The four exceptions (ME, NJ, WA, and WI) allow the use of a 10-point or 11-point font. Most required margins are one inch. One exception — NNG — requires ¼-inch margins.

 

Of the nine providers that do specify line spacing requirements, seven (or 77.8%) require single-spacing (AZ, CT, ME, MA, MN, MO, and NJ) and two require double-spacing (DC and MI).

 

Comparison with Federal Formats

In most respects, the format instructions for common grant application forms are similar to those for grant applications to be submitted to Federal agencies. In that context, typical format requirements are one-inch margins on all sides, 12-point font, and double-spacing throughout. On occasion, certain government funders, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will require single-spacing or allow an 11-point font. In addition, many government grant programs limit all applicants to certain specified fonts, such as Times New Roman, Calibri, or Arial.

 

Sources

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.   NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.   AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.   CO: Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • 5.   CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 6.   DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • 7.   IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 8.   ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 9.  MA: Associated Grantmakers
  • 10. MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 11. MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 12. MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 13. NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York
  • 14. NY: Grantmakers Forum of New York
  • 15. OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 16. PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 17. PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • 18. TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 19. WA: Philanthropy Northwest
  • 20. WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

 

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers guidance about the roles of evaluation in common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Context

At least 20 associations of grant makers or other organizations in the United States publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores the instructions and questions about Evaluation and Evaluation Plans that they pose to applicants.

 

Other posts will explore the CGA in terms of required elements of proposals, applicant revenue sources, budget expense categories, and proposal length and format requirements. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

As a collection, taken as a whole, the common grant application (CGA) forms provide insight into the questions and considerations that interest hundreds of private grant makers. Among other things, hey shed light on evaluation plans as elements of a complete proposal. And they differentiate evaluation plans, as attachments, from evaluation plans as required parts of complete proposal narratives.

 

Role of Evaluation

Out of the 20 providers of common grant application forms, two (or 10%) of them — DC and NY — give no instructions to applicants about Evaluation or Evaluation Plans. In addition, of the 18 CGA providers that do pose evaluation questions, four (or 22%) of them — AZ, CT, ME, and WA — do not present Evaluation as a separate proposal element.

 

In the table below, a Y (Yes) means that the CGA provider does give some instructions about Evaluation or Evaluation Plans. A plus (+) means that the CGA provider both gives instructions and includes Evaluation or Evaluation Plans — as such — as a distinct selection criterion in its instructions for proposal narratives. An asterisk (*) means that a CGA provider gives no instructions about Evaluation or Evaluation Plans.

 

  Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
CGA Provider NNG AZ CA CO CT DC IL ME MA ME MN MO NJ NY OH PA1 PA2 TX WA WI
Instructions Y Y Y Y Y   Y Y Y Y Y Y Y   Y Y Y Y Y Y
Criterion +   + +     +   + + + + +   + + + +   +
No Instructions           *               *            

 

All CGA States

 

Analysis

Among more frequent topics of Evaluation questions found on common grant application forms are:

  • How evaluation results will be used — NNG, CA, MI, MN. MO, OH, and WI
  • How the organization measures effectiveness – IL, ME, MO, NJ, WA, WI, and PA-2
  • How the organization defines (criteria) and measures success – IL, MI, MN, NJ, WA, WI, and PA-2
  • Anticipated results (outputs and/or outcomes) – MD, MA, NJ, WI, and PA-2
  • What assessment tools or instruments will be used — AZ, MO, PA-2, and TX
  • How the organization evaluates outcomes and/or results – CT, MD, OH, and PA-2
  • Who will be involved in evaluation — NNG, MN, and OH
  • How constituents and/or clients will be involved actively in the evaluation – MI, MN, and OH
  • How the organization measures short- and long-term effects or outcomes – MN, OH, and PA-2

 

Among less frequent topics of Evaluation questions on common grant application forms are:

  • What questions will evaluation address — NNG and AZ
  • Overall approach to evaluation — CO and WI
  • How the organization measures impact — CO and PA-1
  • Timeframe for demonstrating impact — CO and OH
  • What process and/or impact information the organization will collect – MD and TX
  • How the organization assesses overall success and effectiveness – MD and MA
  • How evaluation results will be disseminated – CA, MI, and OH

 

Among infrequent topics of Evaluation questions on common grant application forms are:

  • The organization’s plans for assessing progress toward goals – ME
  • The organization’s plans for assessing what works – ME
  • How the organization evaluates its programs – PA-1
  • How the organization has applied what it has learned from past evaluations – PA-1
  • How the organization monitors its work – WA

 

Sources

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.   NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.   AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.   CO: Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • 5.   CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 6.   DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • 7.   IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 8.   ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 9.  MA: Associated Grantmakers
  • 10. MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 11. MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 12. MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 13. NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York
  • 14. NY: Grantmakers Forum of New York
  • 15. OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 16. PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 17. PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • 18. TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 19. WA: Philanthropy Northwest
  • 20. WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers guidance about contacting funders that is found in common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Context

At least 20 associations of grant makers or other organizations in the United States publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores CGA providers’ guidance to potential applicants about contacting individual grant makers before submitting a proposal.

 

Earlier posts explored common grant application forms in terms of required elements of proposals. Later posts will explore proposal length and format requirements, applicant revenue sources, budget expense categories, and other aspects of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

Some grant consultants indicate that the extent and quality of an applicant’s contact with a funder impacts its proposal’s funding outcome. They remark that with pre-submittal contact, a proposal becomes more likely to be funded. In the context of private grant making, this is often the case.

 

Contacting Funders

Out of the 20 providers of common grant application forms, nine (or 45%) of them — CA, DC, IL, ME, MA, MI, NJ, PA-2, and WA — on their websites and common grant application forms give no guidance to applicants about contacting individual grant makers before submitting a proposal. In the table below, an asterisk (*) signifies that a CGA provider gives no guidance about pre-submittal applicant contact with potential grant makers.

 

Eleven (or 55%) CGA providers do give guidance about pre-submittal contact. A Y (Yes) at Initial Contact means that the CGA provider encourages pre-submittal contact in one form or another (e.g., phone call, email, website visit). A Y (Yes) at Must Contact means that the CGA provider requires pre-submittal contact with the potential grant maker. A blank at Must Contact means that the CGA provider encourages pre-submittal contact— but does not strongly recommend or explicitly require it. (See the table below.)

 

  Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
CGA Provider NNG AZ CA CO CT DC IL ME MA ME MN MO NJ NY OH PA1 PA2 TX WA WI
Initial Contact Y Y * Y Y * * * * * Y Y * Y Y Y * Y * Y
Must Contact     *   Y * * * * * Y   *   Y   *   * Y

 

All CGA States

 

Analysis

Two (or 10%) CGA providers — CO and DC — publish Users’ Guides to go with their common grant application forms. One (CO) furnishes guidance on pre-submittal contact; one (DC) does not.

 

Many CGA providers remind potential applicants to review each specific grant maker’s guidelines about initial contact and to follow them. Eight (or 40%) of them — NNG, CA, CO, MN, MO, OH, PA-1, and WI — caution that a funder may accept a proposal only after it gets an initial phone call, an email, a query letter (also called a letter of inquiry), or a pre-application form. Seven (or 35%) CGA providers — CT, MN, MO, NY, OH, PA-1, and WI —also explicitly encourage some manner of direct contact with the funder.

 

Four (or 20%) CGA providers — AZ, CO, MO, and TX — mention reviewing funders’ websites. One (or 5%) CGA provider (NNG) cautions potential applicants against sending out mass mailings of proposals.

 

Pre-Submittal Contact

Instructions from two (or 10%) CGA providers (OH and MN) use identical language to note that: “Many funders generally like to have initial contact with you before receiving a written proposal.” The instructions for a third CGA provider (CT) unequivocally frame pre-submittal contact in the imperative: “Call or write each grantmaker to obtain specific guidelines for application. Do not submit this application without this contact.”

 

Sources

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.   NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.   AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.   CO: Colorado Nonprofit Association
  • 5.   CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 6.   DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
  • 7.   IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 8.   ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 9.  MA: Associated Grantmakers
  • 10. MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 11. MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 12. MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 13. NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York
  • 14. NY: Grantmakers Forum of New York
  • 15. OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 16. PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 17. PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania
  • 18. TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 19. WA: Philanthropy Northwest
  • 20. WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers proposal elements of common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the western states of the United States of America.

 

Context

In the western half of United States of America, at least nine associations of grant makers or other organizations publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores CGA proposal components such as Cover Letters, Cover Sheets, Proposal Narratives, Attachments, and Budget Information. Later posts will explore other elements of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

As a collection, taken as a whole, the common grant application (CGA) forms provide insight into the questions and considerations that interest hundreds of private grant makers. They illuminate the elements of a complete proposal: summaries, narratives, budgets, and attachments. And they illustrate the types of supplemental documentation that many grant makers require, such as cover letters, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) letters, and financial statements.

 

West States

 

Geography

There is a common grant application (CGA) form for all or parts of at least 12 states — AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MN, MO, MT, OR, TX, WA, and WI. One CGAF is national. One CGA covers applicants in five states — AK, ID, MT, OR, and WA. One CGA covers an intra-state region — Central TX.

 

Analysis

Across the nine common grant application forms, among the observable characteristics are:

  • 2 (or 22.2%) explicitly include Cover Letters in lists of proposal components
  • 8 (or 88.9%) provide and require proposal Cover Sheets
  • 1 (or 11.1%) requires an Executive Summary or a Proposal Summary
  • 9 (or 100%) implicitly or explicitly require Proposal Narratives
  • 6 (or 66.7%) require descriptions of Organizational Background
  • 3 (or 33.3%) require descriptions of Organizational Information
  • 4 (or 44.4%) require descriptions of Partnerships or Collaborations
  • 2 (or 22.2%) require descriptions of the Purpose of the Request
  • 1 (or 11.1%) requires descriptions of Logic Models
  • 9 (or 100%) require descriptions of Evaluations or Evaluation Plans (one of them as an attachment)
  • 6 (or 66.7%) require descriptions of Outcomes or Results
  • 5 (or 55.6%) require descriptions of Sustainability
  • 9 (or 100%) solicit Attachments
  • 8 (or 88.9%) solicit Required Attachments
  • 9 (or 100%) require descriptions of Finances or Financial Statements as such
  • 9 (or 100%) require Organizational Budgets
  • 9 (or 100%) require Project or Program Budgets

 

Among proposal components listed in only one common grant application form in this set are:

  • Community Context (AZ)
  • Grantmaker’s Priorities/Interests (AZ)
  • Inclusiveness (CO)
  • Board Governance (CO)
  • Volunteers (CO)
  • Planning (CO)

 

Required Attachments

Most common grant application forms explicitly list an expected set of Attachments. Among these are: Board of Directors; IRS Letter; Letters of Support; Annual Report; Form 990; and Audited Financial Statement. Some also ask for Key Staff. In all cases, the forms require the most current information available.

 

Components Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  US AZ CA CO MN MO TX WA WI
Cover Letter       X X        
Cover Sheet X   X X X X X X X
Executive Summary   X              
Narrative X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Background X X   X     X X X
Organizational Information         X X     X
Needs Statement   X X     X   X  
Goals     X X X X X X X
Program or Project Plan/Methodology   X X X X X X   X
Partnerships/Collaboration     X X     X X  
Description of Request X               X
Purpose of Request   X     X        
Project Information           X      
Logic Model             X    
Rationale                  
Evaluation Plan X X X X X X X X X
Outcomes or Anticipated Results   X X   X X X   X
Sustainability   X X   X X     X
Budget Justification           X      
Additional Information                  
Attachments X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Chart, Structure, or Administration X                
Finances/Financials X X X X X X X X X
Other Supporting Materials X     X       X  
Required Attachments   X X X X X X X X
Optional Attachments   X X       X X  
Additional Attachments       X   X      
Budgets X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Budget X X X X X X X X X
Project/Program Budget X X X X X X X X X

 

Sources

In the western states, available common grant application forms were published as long ago as 2000.

 

  Common Grant Application Forms – Dates Published
  US AZ CA CO MN MO TX WA WI
  NA 2011 2005 2010 2000 NA 2016 2014 2006

 

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.   NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.   AZ: Arizona Grantmakers Forum
  • 3.   CA: San Diego Grantmakers
  • 4.  CO: Colorado Association of Funders
  • 5.    MN: Minnesota Community Foundation
  • 6.    MO: Gateway Center for Giving
  • 7.   TX: Central Texas Education Funders
  • 8.   WA: Philanthropy Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA)
  • 9.   WI: Donors Forum of Wisconsin

 

 

Introduction

Revised in mid-2016, this post covers proposal elements of common grant application (CGA) forms. Its context is the eastern states of the United States of America.

 

Context

In the eastern half of United States of America, at least 12 associations of grant makers or other organizations publish a common grant application (CGA) form online. This post explores CGA proposal components such as Cover Letters, Cover Sheets, Proposal Narratives, Attachments, and Budget Information. Later posts will explore other aspects of common grant application forms. The end of the post explains the abbreviations that it uses.

 

Significance

As a collection, taken as a whole, the common grant application (CGA) forms provide insight into the questions and considerations that interest hundreds of private grant makers. They illuminate the elements of a complete proposal: summaries, narratives, budgets, and attachments. And they illustrate the types of supplemental documentation that many grant makers require, such as cover letters, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) letters, and financial statements.

 

East States

 

Geography

In the eastern half of the US, there is a common grant application (CGA) form for all or parts of at least 11 states and Washington, DC — CT, DC, IL, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, and VA. One CGA is national. One CGA covers two states (MD and VA) plus Washington, DC. Two CGAs cover pairs of states (NJ and NY; MA and NH). Four CGAs cover intra-state regions — Chicago, IL, Rochester, NY, Greater Philadelphia, PA, and Western PA.

 

Analysis

Across the 12 common grant application (CGA) forms used in the eastern states of the United States of America, among the observable characteristics are:

  • 6 (or 50%) explicitly include Cover Letters in lists of proposal components
  • 8 (or 66.7%) provide and require proposal Cover Sheets
  • 5 (or 42.5%) require an Executive Summary or a Proposal Summary
  • 12 (or 100%) implicitly or explicitly require Proposal Narratives
  • 6 (or 50%) require descriptions of Organizational Background
  • 8 (or 66.7%) require descriptions of Organizational Information
  • 4 (or 33.3%) require descriptions of Partnerships or Collaborations
  • 9 (or 75%) require descriptions of the Purpose of the Request
  • 2 (or 16.7%) require descriptions of Logic Models
  • 10 (or 83.3%) require descriptions of Evaluations or Evaluation Plans (one of them as an attachment)
  • 7 (or 58.3%) require descriptions of Outcomes or Results
  • 7 (or 58.3%) require descriptions of Sustainability
  • 12 (or 100%) solicit Attachments
  • 10 (or 83.3%) solicit Required Attachments
  • 12 (or 100%) require descriptions of Finances or Financial Statements as such
  • 12 (or 100%) require Organizational Budgets
  • 12 (or 100%) require Project or Program Budgets

 

Among proposal components listed in only one common grant application form in this set are:

  • Board Diversity Data Form (MA)
  • Replication (MI)
  • Background (NJ)
  • Evidence of Use of Best Practices (OH)

 

Required Attachments

Most common grant application forms explicitly list an expected set of Attachments. Among these are: Board of Directors; IRS Letter; Letters of Support; Annual Report; Form 990; and Audited Financial Statement. Some also ask for Key Staff and Memoranda of Understanding. In all cases, the forms require the most current information available.

 

Common Grant Application Forms
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
CGA Providers US CT DC IL ME MA MI NJ NY OH PA1 PA2
Cover Letter X X X X X X
Cover Sheet X X X X X X X X
Executive Summary X X X X X
Narrative X X X X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Background X X X X X X
Organizational Information X X X X X X X X
Needs Statement X X X X X X X X X
Goals X X X X X X X X X
Program or Project Plan/Methodology X X X X X X X X X X
Partnerships/Collaboration X X X X
Description of Request X X
Purpose of Request X X X X X X X
Project/Proposal Information X X
Logic Model X X
Rationale X
Evaluation Plan X X X X X X X X X X
Outcomes or Results X X X X X X X
Sustainability X X X X X X X
Budget Justification/Narrative X X
Attachments X X X X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Chart, Structure, or Administration X X X X X X X X X X
Finances/Financials/Audits X X X X X X X X X X X X
Other Supporting Materials X X X X
Required Attachments X X X X X X X X X X
Optional Attachments X X X X X X
Additional Attachments X X
Budgets X X X X X X X X X X X X
Organizational Budget X X X X X X X X X X X X
Project/Program Budget X X X X X X X X X X X X

 

Sources

In the eastern half of the United States of America, two organizations have discontinued the use of common grant application forms: Grantmakers Forum of New York (in 2016) and Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers (in 2014).

 

In the eastern states, available common grant application forms were published as long ago as 2006.

 

Common Grant Application Forms – Dates Published
US CT DC IL ME MA MI NJ NY OH PA1 PA2
NA 2011 2012 2015 2016 2016 NA NA 2006 2008 2015 2014

 

Below is a list of abbreviations used in this post. The common grant application forms are found on their providers’ websites.

  • 1.     NNG: National Network of Grantmakers
  • 2.     CT: Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • 3.     DC: Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (DC, VA, MD)
  • 4.     IL: Forefront (Chicago area)
  • 5.     ME: Maine Philanthropy Center
  • 6.     MA: Associated Grantmakers (MA, NH)
  • 7.     MI: Council of Michigan Foundations
  • 8.     NJ: Council of New Jersey Grantmakers/Philanthropy New York (NJ, NY)
  • 9.     NY: Rochester Grantmakers Forum
  • 10.   OH: Ohio Grantmakers Forum
  • 11.    PA-1: Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • 12.   PA-2: Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania

 

 

 

Introduction

This post is about uses of logic models in evaluation. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Outcomes and Outputs

Logic models are versatile tools. Not only are they useful in planning and implementing a proposal, they are just as useful in creating an evaluation design.

 

An outcome is not the same as an output. An output is a product or an event and is reported as a number. An outcome is a logical result of an output. It is reported both as a number (after collecting the data) and a ratio. It may help to think of an output as a means (to an end), and an outcome as an end.

 

Outputs Outcomes
Installed 50 corner streetlights. Reduced intersection traffic accidents by 53%.
Held 6 interdiction workshops. Increased border drug seizures by 71%.
Created 10 classroom blog websites. Increased writing scores by 9%.
Developed 10 science lab lessons. Increased science lab scores by 12%.
Trained 700 program volunteers. Reduced afterschool adult-child ratio by 50%.

 

A logic model for an Evaluation Plan has seven basic elements:

  • Outcome: What do you to happen because of your project?
  • Indicator: What are the observable and measurable behaviors and conditions?
  • Target Audience: What is the specific population to be measured?
  • Data Source: What are the source(s) of information about the behaviors and conditions to be measured?
  • Data Interval: When are data to measure the indicator to be collected?
  • Target: What is the amount of change you desire to occur?
  • Results: What was the actual amount of change as measured using the data collected?

 

The seven elements can be organized in a table:

Desired Outcome Indicator Target Audience Data Source Data Interval Target Results
             
             

 

Examples of a Logic Model for Evaluation

These examples illustrate how to use a logic model in designing an Evaluation Plan.

 

Example 1: Science Education

  • Outcome: Participants will be more proficient in Science.
  • Indicator: Ratio of tested 6th graders who score proficient or higher
  • Target Audience: All 6th graders who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: State-mandated 6thgrade assessments.
  • Data Interval: After test administration in April 2019.
  • Target: 75% or more of 500 participating and tested 6th graders
  • Results: 425 or 86.7% of 490 6th graders scored proficient or higher.

 

Example 2: Violence Prevention

Outcome: Fewer participants will be suspended for fighting in school.

  • Indicator: Ratio of HS students suspended for fighting.
  • Target Audience: All HS students who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: District Title IV suspensions and expulsions reports.
  • Data Interval: After end of each academic ranking period and end of school year.
  • Target: 5% or fewer of 1200 participating high school students.
  • Results: 48 or 4.06% of 1180 high school students were suspended for fighting in school during the school year.

 

Example 3: Literacy Development

  • Outcome: More 6th, 7th, and 8th graders will read for pleasure.
  • Indicator: Ratio of students who read for pleasure during the school year.
  • Target Audience: All 6th, 7th, and 8th graders who participate regularly in the project.
  • Data Source: Surveys of participating students and their parents/guardians.
  • Data Interval: After end of each academic ranking period and end of school year.
  • Target: 65% or more of 900 participating and surveyed middle school students
  • Results: 620 or 71.75% of 864 respondents reported reading for pleasure during the school year.

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

This post presents an alternative structure for logic models. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Alternative Logic Model Structure

Although their configurations and their labels do vary widely, most logic models have six basic elements. What follows is a second (alternative) structure for the basic elements of a logic model. In it, the first two elements focus on what you plan to do. The others focus on what is to happen both while and after it is done.

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) presents an instructive alternative structure for analyzing the elements of a basic logic model:

 

Inputs: What resources will be used to support the project?

 

Activities: What are the primary things the project will do or provide?

 

Outputs: How many and what sorts of observable and/or tangible results will be achieved?

 

Short-Term (or Immediate) Outcomes: What will occur as a direct result of the inputs and activities (typically in terms of changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes)?

 

Mid-Term (or Intermediate) Outcomes: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically in terms of changes in behavior, policies, practice?)

 

Long-Term (or Ultimate) Outcomes or Impacts: What results should follow from the initial outcomes (typically stated in terms of changes in broader conditions?)

 

The time flow in a basic logic model reads from left to right [See: W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Logic Model Development Guide (2006), p. 1. These elements can be organized in a six-column table:

 

Inputs Activities Outputs Short-Term Outcomes Mid-Term Outcomes Long-Term Outcomes
           
           

 

Research Performance Model

Not every logic model is strictly linear. Scientific research is an iterative process. A research project has feedback loops between its input and activities, its research design and implementation, and its results and its outputs. In addition, the outputs of one research activity often serve as the inputs for a subsequent activity. Such circuits can repeat until a research project yields reliable results.

 

For more discussion of logic models, readers may want to visit the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE), the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006).

 

Introduction

This post discusses some of the benefits of using logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation. It is one in a series about logic models and competitive grant seeking. Its context is the United States of America. Other posts discuss the uses of logic models throughout proposal planning and project implementation, types of logic models, typical elements in logic models, samples of logic models, and other topics.

 

Benefits

The varied uses of logic models promise many benefits to grant seekers and proposal planners, as well as to grant makers. Appropriately constructed, a logic model can guide a project or initiative’s lifespan from cradle to grave. As a trans-temporal tool, it can be used to forecast what will be done, monitor what is being done, and then evaluate what has been done.

 

Among the many benefits of using logic models in seeking grants are to:

  • Generate an inventory of what is at hand and what is still needed to carry out a project or initiative
  • Assist in planning a proposal and in monitoring, adjusting, and evaluating subsequent implementation
  • Relate contemplated or anticipated activities to projected outputs and outcomes
  • Clarify how project activities will contribute or are contributing to accomplishing specific objectives
  • Enhance an applicant’s focus on obtaining results through its planned project activities
  • More efficiently and effectively communicate to target audiences a project’s goals, activities, strategies, and intended outcomes
  • Provide project implementers and participants with a clear roadmap for implementation, monitoring, and evaluation
  • Identify sources and uses of data for tracking progress toward target outcomes
  • Provide a single synoptic snapshot of a project’s scope of work and potential significance
  • Facilitate coordination of resources, selection of strategies, and realistic formulation of desired outcomes
  • Create among all stakeholders a shared understanding of and focus on program goals and strategies
  • Build a strong case for how and why a project or initiative is worthy of a funder’s investment in it
  • Communicate key project features to external audiences such as funding agencies, the general public, and legislators
  • Enhance the role and usefulness of monitoring and evaluation as management and learning tools

 

Planning Tool

One useful place to explore the many uses and benefits of logic models is W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Logic Model Development Guide (2006). As you create your own logic model, always be mindful that other grant makers may define and understand some aspects of logic models quite differently than what you find here. Always defer to the specific funder’s instructions and guidance about using logic models in proposal development and project management.

 

 

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