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Tag Archives: proposal writing

This new post explores grant consultants’ fees in 2017 for such services as creating funding development plans or devising project evaluation plans. It is part of an ongoing series. Other new posts for 2017 will explore: hourly rates and flat rates, retainer fees, prospect research fees, and other topics related to how grant writing consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Fixed Fee Assignments

In early 2017, beyond stating hourly rates, per proposal rates, retainer fees, and proposal review fees, some grant writing consultants also publish cost information about other services. The most frequently encountered rates for ancillary services are those for fixed fee assignments for private sector prospect research and/or private sector proposal development. The costs range from $375 to $7,500 – for finding one to five private sector grant leads and/or for writing one to five proposals – to from $7,000 to $19,200 – for finding 10 grant leads and/or for writing 10 proposals. Some consultants offer to find as many as 40 grant leads for $20,000 (equivalent to $500 per lead); grant proposals to submit to those leads cost more.

 

  Minimum Funders Maximum Funders
Consultant/Firm 1 $375 3 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 5 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 3 $800 3 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 4 $1,000 15 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 5 $1,200 3 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 2 $7,500 3 leads Unstated Unstated
Consultant/Firm 6 $795 1 lead $20,000 40 leads
Consultant/Firm 7 $4,000 5 leads $19,200 10 leads
Consultant/Firm 8 $5,500 3 leads $7,000 10 leads
Consultant/Firm 9 $8,000 5 leads $9,000 10 leads

 

Some consultants offer to help grant seekers with program design or with (often more extensive) program development. Sampled fees run from $200 to $6,000 or more.

  

  Minimum Maximum Services
Consultant/Firm 1 $200 $500 Program development with logic model
Consultant/Firm 2 $2,500 $6,000 Program development
Consultant/Firm 3 $500 Unstated Program design
Consultant/Firm 4 $1,000 Unstated Program design
Consultant/Firm 5 $2,500 Unstated Strategic guidance
Consultant/Firm 6 $100/hr Unstated Program development from concept to proposal

 

Grant Writing Workshops

Few consultants offer workshops for grant-related staff development. Perhaps one reason for the infrequency of such ancillary services is that they compete directly with associations of non-profits, universities, the Grantsmanship Center, the Foundation Center, and other providers of similar workshops and courses. The current consultants’ workshops may last one to three days. Consultants now commonly charge for them by the day (e.g., $1,500/day) plus itemized expenses. The most frequently cited expenses to be billed are those of travel, lodging, and office support (e.g., printing, copying, mailing, or shipping).

 

  Daily Rates Travel and Expense Surcharge
Consultant/Firm 1 $1,500.day Yes
Consultant/Firm 2 $1,500/day Yes
Consultant/Firm 3 $5,000/day Yes

 

This new post explores grant consultants’ proposal revision and review fees in early 2017. It is part of an ongoing series. Earlier posts explored hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), prospect research fees, and retainer fees. Other new posts for 2017 will explore hourly rates and flat rates for technical assistance and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Proposal Reviews and Revisions

At times, potential clients of grant writing consultants may already have a grant proposal available in a more or less inchoate form. Consultants may offer to proofread and edit a preliminary or pre-existing proposal rather than insist that they write it from its inception. They also may offer to play the role of third-party technical reviewers before a draft or a revision is made final. Consultants may furnish critiques of such unfinished proposals and may suggest how to improve them. Alternatively, they may contract both to provide a critique of a proposal and to revise or rewrite it entirely.

Consultants vary the rates they charge to critique, edit, and revise proposals based upon such factors as the proposal’s length and the complexity of its subject or focus. They may offer to charge for services up to a pre-determined not-to-exceed amount and/or to provide review and revision services for a minimum flat fee. Many consultants accept such review-and-revise assignments on a case-by-case basis and do not publish specialized rate schedules for such services.

Sample Review and Revision Rates

As the table below indicates, in 2017, flat rates for review and revision – as stated on consultants’ websites – vary from $200 to $6,000 per grant proposal reviewed and/or revised. Higher-end consultants may charge a minimum of $2,500 (10 hours at $250 per hour) for each proposal they critique – the same rate as found in 2016.

In 2017, consultants’ declared hourly rates for reviews and revisions of grant proposals are from $35 to $250. Many consultants stipulate a set number of hours that they will charge clients for such services – typically, a minimum of 10 hours.

As may be observed, consultants’ charges for reviews and revisions often approach what the same consultants will charge per hour for developing a brand new proposal from start to finish.

Review/Revision Fees Minimum Rates Maximum Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $200 $500
Consultant/Firm 2 $200 $500
Consultant/Firm 3 $350 $750
Consultant/Firm 4 $500 $1,500
Consultant/Firm 5 $500 $1,500
Consultant/Firm 6 $750 $1,200
Consultant/Firm 7 $3,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 8 $3,000 $6,000
Consultant/Firm 9 $1,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 $1,200 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 $1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 $2,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 $35/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 $45/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 $65/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 $75/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 17 $85/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 18 $100/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 19 $120/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 20 $250/hour Unstated

 

This post explores grant writing consultants’ retainer fees in early 2017. It is part of an ongoing series. The data that it presents are newly researched. Other new posts for 2017 will explore hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), proposal review and revision fees, and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Retainer Fees

A retainer fee offers clients priority access to consultants’ services. Many grant consultants are willing to work under a retainer agreement for a small subset of select clients. Retainers work well when there is a steady flow of work and when the client and the consultant have a long-term relationship.

The client and the consultant both benefit from the predictability of the retainer arrangement. A typical retainer commits both parties to a specified minimum number of hours of service per month and to a specified number of months the agreement is to be in effect. Often the minimum number of hours is 10 hours per month and the minimum number of months is either 3 or 6. Often the retainer is paid monthly. In setting their retainer fees, some consultants offer discounts off their standard hourly rates.

Services agreed upon in the retainer will depend upon the specific contract. Among such services may be one or more of:

  • Providing advisory and consulting services
  • Participating in planning sessions with client staff
  • Making presentations to client staff
  • Doing grant prospect research
  • Providing grant opportunity alerts
  • Preparing a set number of letters of inquiry per month
  • Providing assistance in proposal development
  • Developing a set number of proposals per month

 

Sample Retainers

As the table below indicates, a retainer fee may cost as little as $100 per month or as much as $12,000 per month. Calculated on a quarterly basis, these extremes represent a fee range of $300 to $36,000; on a yearly basis, they represent a fee range of $1,200 to $144,000.

Retainer Fees Minimum Rates Maximum Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $100/month $3,000/month
Consultant/Firm 2 $400/month $800/month
Consultant/Firm 3 $1,500/month $3,000/month
Consultant/Firm 4 $1,875/month $3,000/month
Consultant/Firm 5 $2,000/month $3,000/month
Consultant/Firm 6 $3,000/month $5,000/month
Consultant/Firm 7 $6,000/month $8,000/month
Consultant/Firm 8 $8,000/month $12,000/month
Consultant/Firm 9 $1,000/month Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 $1,000/month Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 $3,000/month Unstated

 

Presented data reflect information provided on a sampled set of consultants’ websites from early 2017 which address the topic of retainer fees. They reflect little change in such fees since 2016. Other samples taken at different times may lead to different results.

This post explores grant consultants’ prospect research fees in early 2017. It updates an earlier post for 2016. It is part of an ongoing series. Other new posts for 2017 will explore hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), retainer fees, and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Prospect Research Fees

Prospect research is the search for viable grant opportunities. Grant writing consultants often do prospect research for client grant-seekers. If the client can set some of the research’s parameters ahead of time (e.g., search terms, funding type, beneficiaries, grant award range), the search for potential funders is apt to be that much more efficient and often less costly. Often consultants offer to find a fixed number of grant prospects at a flat rate per prospect and with a minimum number of prospects to be delivered. Grant writing consultants may adjust their prospect research fees based upon:

  • The number of prospects to be identified
  • The extensiveness and scope of the search for potential funders
  • The nature of the project concept
  • The amount of the anticipated budget request
  • The size of the client’s organization

 

At the search’s end, consultants may deliver to clients a detailed and prioritized list of possible grant sources; an analysis of the chances of obtaining grants from each source; and a plan for what to do next to pursue grants from the best prospects.

Sample Fees

Grant writing consultants’ charges for prospect research services vary widely. As the table below indicates, they can range from $500 to $5,000 per funding report. The ultimate cost of such searches may observe a pre-established not-to-exceed amount. In early 2017, evaluations of identified grant leads – held either on-site or conducted remotely with a client – may be charged at hourly rates of from $50 to $150 or more. It is perhaps noteworthy that the ranges found in exploring flat rates and hourly rates for prospect research remain the same as were found early in 2016.

Prospect Research Fees Minimum Rates Maximum Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $500 $750
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 $3,200
Consultant/Firm 3 $750 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 4 $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm 5 $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm 6 $2,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 7 $2,500 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 8 150 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 9 195 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 250 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 550 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 600 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 17 1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 18 2,550 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 19 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 20 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 21 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 22 $60/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 23 $75/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 24 $75/hour Unstated

 

Charges for prospect research vary with its nature, scope, and complexity. Private grant makers are far more numerous than public ones. In general, potential grant seekers can expect to spend measurably less for a search for limited to state and federal grant prospects, and measurably more for one limited to foundation and corporate grant prospects.

This review of data from websites in early 2017 is new. It is part of an ongoing series. It confirms that grant consultants’ hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), which they charge for services, continue to vary greatly. Other posts in the series for 2017 will explore: retainer rates, prospect research rates, proposal review and editing rates, and other topics related to how grant consultants earn an income. The context for all posts in this series will be the United States of America.

Hourly Rates

Proposals submitted to corporations or foundations are often significantly less complex (and thus generally less costly for clients) than those submitted to units of local, state, or federal government. Consequently, many consultants vary their rates based on the type of grant maker. Other consultants do not differentiate among types of grant makers.

Hourly rates for writing grant proposals vary greatly. According to PayScale.com, as of early 2017, the hourly pay rates for a self-selected sample of salaried Grant Writers vary by stage of career. For early career, the range is $14.35 to $30.67; for mid-career, the range is $17.12 to $38.59; for experienced, the range is $17.94 to $50.38; and for late career, the range is $19.50 to $70.96.

The range of self-reported bonuses varies, with larger bonuses reported for mid-career salaried Grant Writers than for late career or for early career.

In early 2017, grant writing consultants’ hourly rates tend to be higher than those of many salaried Grant Writers. Based on a review of sampled websites of consultants doing business across the United States, the standard rates billed to clients for grant writing and related consulting services stretch from $35 per hour to $250 per hour. The median for sampled rates is $80 per hour, which is $15 less per hour than in 2016. Most sampled rates fall between $50 and $100 per hour, which is $1,000 to $2,000 for every 20 billable hours.

Some grant writing consultants offer lower rates for non-profit clients versus other types of clients. They also offer lower rates for writing grant proposals versus other kinds of grant-related services (e.g., grants management or project evaluation). In addition, some consultants specify a minimum number of hours (e.g., 20 hours at $100/hour) or a minimum not-to-exceed amount (e.g., $10,000).

Flat Rates

An alternative to charging by the hour is to charge a flat rate (also called a per proposal rate or a per project rate). Grant writing consultants often indicate that they will need to do a thorough analysis of the details of a grant opportunity before quoting a flat rate.

Consultants’ actual flat rates vary by such factors as the lead-time to prepare and turn around the proposal, the complexity of the project, the proposal’s length, the amount of the grant request, and the time needed to complete the assignment. Most consultants vary their rates by the type of grant source: foundation, corporation, state, federal. Some consultants also vary their rates by the nature of the proposal document – a letter of inquiry, a letter of intent to apply, and a corporate solicitation letter tend to cost considerably less than a full-length grant proposal to be sent to a government agency.

As the table below indicates, the floor that some grant writing consultants quote for a basic proposal (typically for a private foundation) may be as low as $500 or even less. Other consultants may set the floor at $5,000, $6,000, or $12,500. The ceilings quoted for a more complicated proposal may be $10,000 or $12,000; however, such flat-rate ceilings may reach $15,000, $45,000, or even $60,000. Beyond such wide variations in quoted flat rates, consultants may charge a premium for preparing a proposal with a very short lead-time before it is due, regardless of its source.

Grant Writing Services Minimum Flat Rates Maximum Flat Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $195 $995
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 3 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 4 $500 $3,000
Consultant/Firm 5 $500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 6 $500 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 7 $600 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 8 $950 $2,000
Consultant/Firm 9 $1,000 $3,500
Consultant/Firm 10 $1,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 11 $1,000 $6,000
Consultant/Firm 12 $1,000 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 13 $1,500 $8,000
Consultant/Firm 14 $1,500 $10,000
Consultant/Firm 15 $1,500 $45,000
Consultant/Firm 16 $2,250 $6,000
Consultant/Firm 17 $2,500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 18 $2,500 $12,000
Consultant/Firm 19 $3,500 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 20 $5,000 $11,000
Consultant/Firm 21 $5,000 $12,000
Consultant/Firm 22 $5,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 23 $5,500 $7,000
Consultant/Firm 24 $6,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 25 $6,000 $15,000
Consultant/Firm 26 $6,970 $7,650
Consultant/Firm 27 $12,500 $60,000
Consultant/Firm 28 $1,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 29 $2,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 30 $3,300 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 31 $4,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 32 $4,000 Unstated

 

In 2017, grant writing consultants often require advance payment in full if the contracted flat rate falls below a predefined threshold. The most frequently stated threshold – $3,000 plus or minus $500 – is the same as it was in 2016 and in 2015. If the flat rate exceeds a given threshold, consultants generally require 50% of the total contract to be paid in advance. They make the balances due either upon delivery of the completed proposal or within either 15 days or 30 days after delivery.

Many consultants provide hourly rates, typically as an alternative to flat rates and sometimes in addition to flat rates. Such hourly rates may be one definite amount or they may cover a range, where which rate will apply will depend upon the nature of services to be performed. In 2017, most of the hourly rates found in an online search are $50 to $100, with a median of $80.

Grant Writing Services Minimum Hourly Rates Maximum Hourly Rates
Consultant/Firm 1 $50 $65
Consultant/Firm 2 $60 $100
Consultant/Firm 3 $100 $130
Consultant/Firm 4 $100 $150
Consultant/Firm 5 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 6 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 7 $50 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 8 $65 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 9 $70 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 $75 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 $75 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 $80 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 $85 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 $95 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 17 $100 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 18 $100 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 19 $120 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 20 $125 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 21 $125 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 22 $150 Unstated

 

This post presents data for early 2017. It updates an earlier post for 2016. It explores what Grant Writers are paid as compensation in terms of median salaries. Subsequent posts will explore compensation in terms of hourly rates and flat fees, retainer fees, review and revision fees, and other aspects of compensation. All data will be for the United States of America.

Median Salaries for Grants/Proposal Writers

What Grant Writers earn reflects many factors. Among them are years of experience, level of educational attainment, geographic location, and the nature of the employer.

For early 2017, Salary.com has reported in that the national median annual salary for “Grants/Proposal Writers” was $65,549, which is up only 1.9% from 2016. The middle 50% earned from $58,724 to $73,629; the bottom 10% earned $52,510 or less; and the top 10% earned $81,004 or more. These base salaries represented about 71% of total compensation; the other 29% were fringe benefits and bonuses.

Calculated on a full 52-week year, the same national median annual salary works out to $1,260.56 per week, and the range for the middle 50% becomes from $1,129.31 to $1,415.94 per week. Calculated over a 2,080-hour work-year, the same national median annual salary works out to $31.51 per hour, and the same range for the middle 50% becomes from $28.23 to $35.40 per hour.

Median Salaries By Selected Cities

As of early 2017, “median annual salaries” in selected cities searched on Salary.com ranged from $52,485 in Helena, Montana to $81,005 in San Francisco, California. Most of the medians for these cities fell in the range of $63,000 to $68,000. In the past year, Lincoln, NE saw by far the largest gain in median salary – an enviable gain equivalent to 11.24% compared to a national gain of only 1.9%.

Median Annual Salaries — 2016 and 2017 Data Comparison
  2016 Salary.com Data 2017 Salary.com Data
Portland, ME $66,318 $65,527
Boston, MA $69,503 $73,907
New York, NY $75,881 $75,883
Washington, DC $71,408 $70,365
Charlotte, NC $64,213 $64,080
Atlanta, GA $64,902 $65,015
Tampa, FL $61,350 $63,049
Houston, TX $64,741 $65,943
Dallas, TX $64,722 $64,908
Tulsa, OK $61,221 $63,592
Nashville, TN $60,803 $61,346
Cincinnati, OH $62,830 $62,702
Indianapolis, IN $61,897 $64,337
Chicago, IL $67,676 $68,818
Minneapolis, MN $67,347 $66,333
Bismarck, ND $58,370 $59,453
Lincoln, NE $55,860 $62,137
Casper, WY $58,672 $59,761
Helena, MT $51,529 $52,485
Boise, ID $62,148 $63,722
Seattle, WA $68,789 $70,970
Portland, OR $66,414 $67,587
San Francisco, CA $78,584 $81,005
Los Angeles, CA $70,559 $72,460
Salt Lake City, UT $61,182 $63,523
Denver, CO $65,044 $66,251
Albuquerque, NM $59,284 $61,223
Phoenix, AZ $62,939 $65,065
Anchorage, AK $72,657 $74,440
Honolulu, HI $69,857 $68,342
USA $64,355 $65,549

It may be worth noting that year-to-year gains in median annual salaries were not uniform across the country. Out of the 30 selected cities presented in the table, five saw year-to-year declines and another pair saw year-to-year gains of $200 or less.

 

Median Salaries 2017

The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from P to Z. Its context is the United States of America.

 

PROJECT: The specific proposed program or plan of action for which grant funds are being requested. A project has a definite start date and a definite end date, and it has an explicitly defined and time-bound set of desired outcomes.

 

PROJECT COORDINATOR: The person who manages and implements a project under the auspices or supervision of a project director or a similar administrator; coordination is often a desirable role for personnel when a project or initiative targets multiple sites or features multiple components or involves many partners. Also see: Project Director and Principal Investigator.

 

PROJECT DIRECTOR: The person who leads or directs a grant-funded project and ensures that the project complies with all conditions and regulations, particularly in training, educational, and model demonstration projects. Also may be called a Project Manager. Also see: Principal investigator and Project Coordinator.

 

REPLICABILITY: A project’s ability or promise of being able to be transplanted to other settings and to yield similar or comparable impacts or outcomes or results in them.

 

RESEARCH: An organized effort to add to the existing knowledge base of an established or emerging discipline in the area of theory or application or both. Alternatively, the search for epistemologically valid and reliable evidence that implementing one or more of an applicant’s proposed activities or strategies is likely to yield the desired outcomes and impacts.

 

RESULT: A measurable consequence of implementing a project or initiative, but not necessarily the intended and anticipated focus of an objective or a goal. Examples: Improved school climate in an arts enrichment project; reduced arrests for certain property crimes in a graffiti abatement project.

 

STAFF: The person or persons who carry out a project using grant funds, and those who support it using other funds; also may be called Personnel. Also see: Personnel.

 

STAFFING PLAN: The scheme, method, or approach for deploying persons having appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities (or required qualifications and experience) to do the work of a project or initiative.

 

SUMMATIVE EVALUATION: The measurement of the extent or degree of success of a project or initiative; it offers conclusions about what worked (and what did not) and it makes recommendations about what to keep, what to change, and what to discontinue; it occurs at the end of each project year and after the grant-funded project ends. Also called Outcome Evaluation or Product Evaluation. Also see: Formative Evaluation.

 

TARGET POPULATION: The persons, groups, subgroups, or entities intended to participate in a project or initiative and/or to benefit from it. Applicants should exercise discretion and sensitivity in adopting the phrase in certain contexts (e.g., violence prevention). Also see: Beneficiary and Participant.

 

TEAM: A group of persons who work as a unit towards a common or shared purpose related to a project or initiative. A team may include persons paid with non-grant funds and persons affiliated with organizations other than the applicant or grant recipient. Also see: Partner.

 

TIMELINE: The detailed overall sequence, schedule, or timetable anticipated for implementing a project or initiative. It may present both discrete events and continuous processes. It also may include an illustrative chart or a table. Also see: Milestone.

 

VISION: A clear and concise statement of an applicant’s purpose, values, and aspirations for its mid-term or long-term future, presented as its inspiration or motivation for what it does in the present. In a proposal, an applicant commonly links its organizational vision to its Work Plan and to the grant maker’s purposes for making grants. Also see: Mission.

 

This post concludes a five-part series on Proposal Development.

 

The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from O to P. Its context is the United States of America.

 

OUTCOME: The desired and intended quantitative or qualitative end result or consequence of a set of activities undertaken to achieve one or more objectives. It is often used as a measurement of effect rather than of effort. Examples: 50% reduction in long-term suspensions; 10% reduction in dropout rate; 25% increase in library holdings; 20% loss of body fat; 5% reduction in residential burglaries.

 

OUTPUT: A tangible or quantifiable product of an activity. It is often used as a measurement of effort rather than of effect. Examples: Four new geography units; ten parental education workshops; six program newsletters; 30 home visits; a new science kit.

 

PARTICIPANT: Someone directly and actively involved in a project or initiative as one who is served by it or who otherwise benefits from it. Examples: Science teachers; juvenile delinquents; English language learners; third graders; parents of newborns; elderly residents.

 

PARTNER: An individual or organization that contributes resources to a grant-funded project or initiative, often by a formal and legally enforceable agreement delineating responsibilities and commitments between or among the entities involved in it.

 

PARTNERSHIP: Two or more individuals or organizations, working with each other under an often formal and legally enforceable agreement to accomplish the objectives and attain the goals of a grant-funded project or initiative, and often contributing cash or in-kind resources or both towards its budget.

 

PERSONNEL: The persons who provide the human labor to implement or support activities designed to achieve the objectives of a project or initiative. Some or many of the personnel, but seldom all, may be paid for out of grant funds. Also see: Staff.

 

PLAN OF ACTION: The specific series of activities or steps to be undertaken during a project or initiative, as well as its goals, objectives, timeline, personnel, and resources. It is also called a Program Design or a Work Plan.

 

PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL: A partial proposal, having some but not all elements of a complete proposal such as a plan of action and a budget, submitted to a grant maker for a review to determine whether it merits subsequent submission as a complete proposal. Also called a Pre-

Proposal. Also see: Full Proposal.

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: The person who leads or directs a grant-funded research project, particularly in federally funded scientific or medical research grants; also known as a PI. Also see: Project Director.

 

PROBLEM: The specific reason for proposing a grant-funded project or initiative, which offers a promising solution to the problem. Example: A dropout rate higher than the state average. Applicants must avoid circular reasoning in defining problems. Example: A lack, an absence, a shortage, or a scarcity, in and of itself, is not a problem; however, one or more of its consequences or effects may represent one. Also see: Need.

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A method of continuously improving the knowledge, skills, and/or abilities of a defined group of participants; or a method of enhancing or increasing the formal qualifications or credentials of a defined group of participants. Participants in it often may include a project’s key personnel. It also may be called Training or Staff Training or Staff Development.

 

PROGRAM DESIGN: A time-bounded plan for implementing a project including goals, objectives, activities, timeline, and strategies. It is also called a Plan of Action or a Work Plan.

 

A later post will cover Glossary entries starting with letters P to Z.

 

The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from J to O. Its context is the United States of America.

 

JUSTIFICATION: A brief rationale or explanation of aspects of a project or initiative – particularly of some elements, or occasionally all elements, in its itemized budget – that may raise questions or objections in the minds of proposal reviewers or grant makers or that may benefit in some other way from a more detailed elaboration.

 

LOGIC MODEL: A schematic or graphical representation, often presented as a flow chart or as a table, which shows how inputs and activities interact and lead to outputs, outcomes, and impacts. Example: A table that presents goals, objectives, key activities, key personnel, evaluation measures, a timeline, and costs – all in one synoptic document.

 

KEY PERSONNEL: The persons or positions critical to the success of a project or initiative. Examples: Project Directors or Principal Investigators. Key personnel may include those paid with non-grant funds as well as those paid with grant funds. Examples: Classroom Teachers or Clinicians.

 

MANAGEMENT PLAN: An applicant’s proposed scheme, method, or program for deploying its key personnel and for ensuring that it uses its fiscal and programmatic resources in ways consistent with its funded proposal; the plan often includes an illustrative organizational chart. Also see: Organizational Chart.

 

MILESTONE: A discrete event or specific accomplishment used to measure the progress or momentum of a project or initiative towards implementing its activities, achieving its objectives, and attaining its goals. Also see: Benchmark.

 

MISSION: A succinct statement of why, for whom, and what an applicant does in order to lead to a desired mid-term or long-term future state of affairs. In a proposal, an applicant commonly links its organizational mission to its Work Plan. Also see: Vision.

 

NARRATIVE: The body of an application or a proposal describing what is to be done, how it is to be done, why it is to be done, who is to do it and where, when and how often it is to be done, at what cost it is to be done, who will ensure that it gets done, who will measure its success, and how that success will be measured and reported.

 

NEED: A definable and often quantifiable situation or trend, usually perceived as negative or undesirable, that an applicant proposes to address in its project or initiative. Applicants’ descriptions of need must avoid circular reasoning (e.g., the mere absence of a resource does not prove the presence of a need) and must avoid presenting needs beyond the capacity of a single grant to improve or eliminate. Also see: Problem.

 

NEEDS ASSESSMENT: A narrative review of a condition or state of affairs that an applicant seeks to change with the assistance of the resources afforded by a grant award. It is often presented with abundant descriptive ad comparative data. Also see: Problem Statement.

 

OBJECTIVE: A time-bound statement, framed in specific and measurable terms, of what an applicant is going to accomplish during a project or initiative; it advances the project or initiative towards attaining its goal or goals. Objectives are indispensable and critical elements in a Work Plan or a Plan of Action or a Program Design. Example: Each project year, 90% or more of project participants will demonstrate statistically significant gains (p < .05) in English literacy, as measured by state-mandated assessments. Also see: Activity.

 

ORGANIZATION: A generic and non-technical term for a legally established entity that is eligible to seek, manage, and expend a grant award, either alone or in a partnership with one or more other organizations or individuals or both.

 

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART: A graphic device depicting the staff positions involved in a project or initiative, the flow of communication between and among them, and their connections to other key staff in an organization or a partnership. Many of the positions may be paid using funds other than those of the grant being sought. Also see: Management Plan.

 

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY: A brief chronological summation or narrative account of the primary milestones, accomplishments, and unique attributes of an organization.

 

A later post will cover Glossary entries starting with letters O to P.

 

The vocabulary of proposal development is part of the language required for writing a winning grant proposal. Revised and expanded in mid-2016, this set of entries covers words and phrases from C to I. Its context is the United States of America.

 

CONCEPT: A description of the overall vision and rationale underlying a project or initiative, or one of the detailed plans for making it happen within a defined timeframe; organizations often submit a concept to a potential private funder in a Concept Paper.

 

CONSTITUENT: A beneficiary, a client, or a participant in a project or initiative. Examples: a college student; an infant; a refugee; a family living in poverty; a first grader.

 

CONTINUATION: A plan to sustain some or all aspects of a project or initiative after initial grant funding ends. Alternatively, a grant award made for any defined period after a project’s initial funding period. Also see: Sustainability.

 

CRITERIA: The guidelines, standards, or elements of a scoring rubric or proposal review form that reviewers or other decision makers use to rate and rank a proposal submitted to a grant maker; also may be called Selection Criteria or Review Criteria.

 

DISSEMINATION: The intentional process of sharing a project’s strategies and results with its target audiences. It expands the original project’s impact, informs stakeholders of its significance and accomplishments, and builds awareness and support for its continuation by other means after initial grant funding ends.

 

EVALUATION: The analysis of the degree to which an applicant, as a grant recipient, implements its activities, achieves its objectives, and attains its goals, and an analysis of obstacles to progress and strategies used for overcoming them. Evaluation may be formative or summative. It may use qualitative or quantitative measures or both. It often describes both processes and outcomes. It states what will be done, who will do it with what and where, when and how often it will be done, and (often) why it will be done.

 

EVALUATION PLAN: An applicant’s proposed scheme, method, or program for collecting, measuring, analyzing, and reporting data about the progress and outcomes of a project or initiative, and for ascertaining, describing, and confirming the degree to which it has achieved its objectives and attained its goals.

 

FORMATIVE EVALUATION: Monitoring that occurs at set intervals during a project or initiative; it yields feedback that often leads to adjustments and corrective action during the course of that project or initiative. Also may be called Process Evaluation. Also see: Summative Evaluation.

 

FULL PROPOSAL: A complete proposal submitted to a grant maker for a review of its merits for subsequent grant funding. Also see: Preliminary Proposal.

 

GOAL: A desired long-term accomplishment or a general and desired direction of change, often stated in abstract or global terms. The goal normally reflects the mission of the applicant and/or the funding purposes of a specific grant maker. Also see: Objective.

 

GRANT SEEKER: An actual or potential applicant for a grant award.

 

IMPACT: A tangible or quantifiable long-term outcome of a grant-funded project or initiative, often framed in broad terms as a desirable or ideal condition or state of affairs and as a consequence or effect attributable to attaining one or more of its objectives.

 

IMPLEMENTATION: The process of doing the activities specifically described in a proposal and any others (e.g., fiscal management and performance monitoring) that are explicitly required by a funder or are deemed necessary, often implicitly as a matter of course, to the success of a project or initiative.

 

INDICATOR: A measure of the need for some aspect of a project or initiative. Alternatively, a measure of the direct outcomes and results of a project or initiative for its participants and for its intended beneficiaries; in this latter sense, it also may be called a Performance Measure or a Performance Indicator. Also see: Need.

 

INPUT: A tangible or quantifiable resource invested in the pursuit of the specific outcomes and impacts sought in a grant-funded project or initiative. Examples: Time, expertise, funding, personnel, supplies, facilities, and technologies.

 

A later post will cover entries in this Glossary with the initial letters J to O.

 

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