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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

 

 

 

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