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This post is one of a series about what goes into proposals that win grants. Its topic is cover letters. Its context is the United States of America.

 

Sometimes an applicant must send a brief cover letter or a letter of transmittal with its proposal – particularly when seeking a grant from a private foundation. Such a letter introduces the proposal to a potential funder. It creates a first impression among those who receive and process proposals and sometimes also among those who read and rank them.

 

Tips

 

In preparing a compelling and cogent cover letter, be sure to:

  1. Use organizational letterhead
  2. Use the grant maker’s correct and complete address
  3. Address it to a specific person
  4. Insert a reference line before a salutation line
  5. Keep the letter short (one page only)
  6. Use standard margins and a standard 12-point font
  7. Use left-justified text – not center-justified text
  8. Send it from the applicant’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
  9. Send it signed by a human hand and in blue ink, when possible
  10. Include prepared by and enclosure lines below the signature
  11. Proofread it to ensure that it is error-free

 

In developing the cover letter, use up to four paragraphs to:

  1. Open by describing the organization, community, and target population
  2. Describe the undertaking and two of its major selling points
  3. Explain the reasons for applying for a grant
  4. Close with a thank-you and contact information

 

In all cases, always follow each specific grant maker’s instructions for a cover letter. If a grant maker does not want to get one, then do not send one. Government grant makers are far less apt to expect, require, or accept a cover letter than are private grant makers.

 

 

This post discusses grant consultants’ prospect research fees in early 2015. It is part of an ongoing series. Other new posts for 2015 will cover 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.

Prospect Research Fees:

Prospect research is the search for viable grant opportunities. 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 less costly. 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:

Consultants’ charges for prospect research services vary widely. As the table indicates, they can range from $295 to $7,500 per funding report. In 2015, the ultimate cost of such searches may observe a pre-established not-to-exceed amount. Evaluations of identified grant leads – held on-site or conducted remotely with a client – may be charged at rates from $50 to $150 or more per hour.

Prospect Research Fees Minimum Fees Maximum Fees
Consultant/Firm 1 $500 $3,200
Consultant/Firm 2 $500 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 3 $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm 4 $2,000 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 5 $2,500 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 6 $2,500 $5,000
Consultant/Firm 7 $5,000 $7,500
Consultant/Firm 8 $295 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 9 $375 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 10 $500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 11 $500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 12 $1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 13 $1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm 14 $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 15 $65/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm 16 $150/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, grant seekers can expect to spend a bit less for a search for state and federal grant prospects, and a bit more for foundation and corporate grant prospects.

This post updates data posted early in 2013. It discusses grant-writing consultants’ prospect research fees in 2014. It is part of an ongoing series. Other updated posts will discuss hourly rates and flat rates (also called per-proposal rates or per-project rates), retainer fees, proposal planning fees, and other topics related to the compensation of grant writers and consulting.

 

Prospect Research Fees:

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 less costly. Consultants may adjust their prospect research fees based upon:

  • 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
  • The expected turnaround time to deliver search results

 

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:

As the table indicates, consultants’ charges for prospect research services vary widely. They range from $300 to $3,500 per funding report, and vary with its nature, scope, and complexity. The ultimate cost of such searches may observe a pre-established not-to-exceed amount. Evaluations of identified grant leads, either held on-site or conducted remotely with a client, may be charged at rates from $50 to $150 or more per hour, or from $300 to $3,500 per evaluation, plus a premium of 15% to 20% for expenses.

 

Research Fees Minimum Maximum
Consultant/Firm A $300 $400
Consultant/Firm B $500 $1,000
Consultant/Firm C $500 $3,500
Consultant/Firm D $2,000 $4,000
Consultant/Firm E $375 Unstated
Consultant/Firm F $750 Unstated
Consultant/Firm G $1,000 Unstated
Consultant/Firm H $1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm I $1,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm J $2,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm K $3,500 Unstated
Consultant/Firm L $50/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm M $60/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm N $90/hour Unstated
Consultant/Firm O $150/hour Unstated

 

Finding funding sources is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of seeking competitively awarded grants. This post presents links to sources of Federal grants from selected Federal grant-making agencies and offices. Earlier posts each surveyed several agencies and offices. This final post will survey others.

 

Links were live at the time of research; if one proves inactive — and it does not automatically redirect users to a live link — simply reduce the link back to its domain name (e.g., usda.gov) and review that website for a new link.

 

Among the agencies and offices of the United States government that offer competitively awarded grants are:

 

Libraries and Museums:

Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS):

http://www.imls.gov/applicants/default.aspx

 

Public Service:

Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS):

http://www.americorps.gov/for_organizations/funding/nofa_detail.asp?tbl_nofa_id=83

 

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics:

National Science Foundation (NSF):

http://www.nsf.gov/funding/

    •    Crosscutting and NSF-Wide Funding Opportunities:

http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_list.jsp?type=xcut

    •    Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=bio

    •    Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=cise

    •    Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=ehr

    •    Directorate for Engineering (ENG):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=eng

    •    Directorate for Geosciences (GEO):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=geo

    •    Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=mps

    •    Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=sbe

    •    Environmental Research and Education (ERE):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=ERE

    •    Office of Cyber Infrastructure (OCI):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=OCI

    •    Office of Integrative Activities (OIA):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=oia

    •    Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE):

http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=OISE

    •    Office of Polar Programs (OPP):

http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=opp

 

Social Security: 

Social Security Administration (SSA):

http://www.ssa.gov/oag/grants/ssagrant.htm

 

State:

US Department of State (State):

    •    Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA):

http://eca.state.gov/organizational-funding/open-grant-solicitations

    •   Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR):

http://www.state.gov/s/inr/grants/index.htm

    •    Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs:

http://www.state.gov/e/oes/

 

Transportation:

US Department of Transportation (DOT:

    •    Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA):

http://www.rita.dot.gov/rdt/

    •    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSB):

http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Programs+&+Grants

Finding funding sources is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of seeking competitively awarded grants. This post presents links to sources of Federal grants from selected Federal grant-making agencies and offices. Earlier posts each surveyed several agencies and offices. Later posts will survey others.

 

Links were live at the time of research; if one proves inactive — and it does not automatically redirect users to a live link — simply reduce the link back to its domain name (e.g., usda.gov) and review that website for a new link.

 

Among the agencies and offices of the United States government that offer competitively awarded grants include:

 

Homeland Security:

US Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

http://www.dhs.gov/how-do-i/find-and-apply-grants

 

Housing and Urban Development:

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):

http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/topics/grants

 

Interior:

US Department of the Interior (DOI):

http://www.doi.gov/businesses/working-with-interior.cfm

    •    United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS):

http://www.fws.gov/grants/

    •    United States Geological Survey (USGS):

http://www.usgs.gov/contracts/index.html

 

Justice:

US Department of Justice (DOJ):

    •    National Institute of Justice (NIJ):

http://www.nij.gov/funding/welcome.htm

    •   Office for Victims of Crime (OVC):

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/grants/index.html

    •    Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP):

http://www.ojjdp.gov/funding/funding.html

 

Labor:

US Department of Labor (DOL):

http://www.dol.gov/dol/grants2.htm#.UKzTdHjFKQo

    •    Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB):

http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/grants/#.UKzXjnjFKQo

    •   Employment and Training Administration (ETA):

http://www.doleta.gov/grants/

    •    Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA):

http://www.msha.gov/programs/epd4.htm

    •    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):

http://www.osha.gov/dte/sharwood/

    •    Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP):

http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/grants.htm#.UKzYk3jFKQo

    •    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM):

http://www.dol.gov/oasam/grants/prgms.htm#.UKzYG3jFKQo

    •    Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS):

http://www.dol.gov/vets/grants/#.UKzXyHjFKQo

 

Finding funding sources is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of seeking competitively awarded grants. This post presents links to sources of Federal grants from selected Federal grant-making agencies and offices. An earlier post surveyed several of these agencies and offices. Later posts will survey others.

 

Links were live at the time of research; if one proves inactive — and it does not automatically redirect users to a live link — simply reduce the link back to its domain name (e.g., usda.gov) and review that website for a new link.

 

Among the agencies and offices of the United States government that offer competitively awarded grants are:

 

Education:

US Department of Education (USDE): 


http://www2.ed.gov/fund/grant/about/grantmaking/index.html

    •    Institute of Education Sciences (IES):

http://ies.ed.gov/funding/

    •    Office of Educational Technology (OET):

http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/grants/

    •    Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE):

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/programs.html

    •    Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA):

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oela/programs.html

    •    Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII):

http://www.ed.gov/oii-news/funding-opportunities

    •    Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE):

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/programs.html

    •    Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE):

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ovae/programs.html

 

Energy:

US Department of Energy (DOE):

http://energy.gov/public-services/funding-opportunities

    •    Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy (ARPA-E):

http://arpa-e.energy.gov/About/FAQs/FundingOpportunities.aspx

    •    Office of Science:

http://science.doe.gov/grants/index.asp

 

Environment:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

http://www.epa.gov/epahome/grants.htm

    •    National Center for Environmental Research (NCER):

http://epa.gov/ncer/

 

Health and Human Services:

US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS):

http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ogapa/aboutog/grantsnet.html

    •    Administration for Children and Families (ACF):

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/grants/

    •    Administration on Aging (AA):

http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Grants/index.aspx

    •    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ):

http://www.ahrq.gov/fund/index.html

    •    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

http://www.cdc.gov/od/pgo/funding/grants/grantmain.shtm

    •    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):

http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/ResearchDemoGrantsOpt/index.html

    •    Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

http://www.hrsa.gov/grants/index.html

    •    National Institutes of Health (NIH):

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/oer.htm

    •    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/

 

Finding funding sources is often one of the most time-consuming aspects of seeking competitively awarded grants. This post presents links to sources of Federal grants from selected grant-making Federal agencies and offices. Later posts will survey others.

 

Links were live at the time of research; if one proves inactive — and it does not automatically redirect users to a live link — simply reduce the link back to its domain name (e.g., usda.gov) and review that website for a new link.

 

Among the agencies and offices of the United States government that offer competitively awarded grants are:

 

Aeronautics and Space:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):

http://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/solicitations/solicitations.do?method=init&stack=push

Agriculture:

US Department of Agriculture (USDA):

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=GRANTS_LOANS

    •    United States Forest Service (USFS):

http://www.fs.fed.us/research/

    •    National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA):

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/funding.cfm

Archives:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA):

http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/announcement/

Arts and Humanities:

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA):

http://arts.endow.gov/grants/apply/index.html

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH):

http://www.neh.gov/grants

Commerce:

US Department of Commerce (DOC):

http://www.commerce.gov/about-commerce/grants-contracting-trade-opportunities

    •    Economic Development Administration (EDA):

http://www.eda.gov/ffo.htm

    •    National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

http://www.nist.gov/director/ocfo/grants/grants.cfm

    •    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

http://www.ago.noaa.gov/index.html

    •    National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA):

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/grants

Defense:

US Department of Defense (DOD):

    •    Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR):

http://www.wpafb.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=8981

    •    Army Research Office (ARO)

http://www.arl.army.mil/www/default.cfm?page=506

    •    Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP):

http://cdmrp.army.mil/funding/default.shtml

    •    Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA):

http://www.darpa.mil/Opportunities/Solicitations/DARPA_Solicitations.aspx

    •    Office of Naval Research (ONR):

http://www.onr.navy.mil/Contracts-Grants.aspx

    •    Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP):

http://www.serdp.org/Funding-Opportunities/SERDP-Solicitations

Finding grant sources is a critical aspect of competitive grantsmanship. This post presents books about prospect research — in the context of fundraising and grant seeking — that were published in 2010 and earlier years. Earlier posts presented books on the same topic that were published in 2011, 2012, or 2013.

 

Research Method:

Most of the listed books represent titles found among the first 100 pages of hits on Amazon using the site’s ‘relevant’ sorting feature and the search terms of ‘prospect research’ and ‘finding funding.’ The searches yielded 7 titles for 2010 and 8 titles for the period 2006-2009. Interestingly, only one of the 15 titles from this period (2006-2010) restricts its coverage to ‘prospect research’ as such.

 

It is likely that the use of other sources and search terms would have led to different lists. If you are aware of other titles that fit the search parameters, please send a ‘comment’.

 

Scope of Coverage:

 

Although the list is subject to correction and revision, it is not intended to be exhaustive. It does not list books from before 2006 or after 2010; such books were the topics of other posts. Inclusion of a book here is not an endorsement nor does it necessarily mean I have read it. The list strives to include books that contribute to understanding practices in prospect research and related topics, and to minimize its inclusion of other kinds of books.

 

Published in 2010:

  • Bray, Ilona. (2010). Effective Fundraising for Nonprofits: Real-World Strategies that Work.
  • Connors, Bill. (2010). Fundraising with the Raiser’s Edge: A Non-Technical Guide.
  • DeWitt, Brydon M. (2010). The Nonprofit Development Companion: A Workbook for Fundraising Success.
  • Fredericks, Laura. (2010). The Ask: How to Ask for Support for Your Nonprofit Cause, Creative Project, or Business Venture.
  • Schofield, Curtis R., Fryga, Anne, and Williams, Larry, (2010). Finding and Funding Your Dream: Ten Essentials for Effective Fundraising.
  • Sargeant, Adrian, and Shang, Jen. (2010). Fundraising Principles and Practice.
  • Tempel, Eugene R. et al. (2010). Achieving Excellence in Fundraising.

 

Published in 2009:

  • Kihlstedt, Andrea. (2009). Capital Campaigns: Strategies that Work.
  • Weinstein, Stanley. (2009). The Complete Guide to Fundraising Management.

 

Published in 2008:

  • Birkholz, Joshua M. (2008). Fundraising Analytics: Using Data to Guide Strategy.
  • Bush, Emma Jean (2008). Grant Writing Road Map: A Fresh Approach to Winning Grant Funding.
  • Ciconte, Barbara and Jacob, Jeanne. (2008). Fundraising Basics: A Complete Guide.
  • Hogan, Cecilia. (2008). Prospect Research: A Primer for Growing Nonprofits.  2nd Edition.

 

Published in 2007:

  • Brewer, Ernest W. and Achilles, Charles. (2007). Funding Funding: Grantwriting from Start to Finish, Including Project Management and Internet Use.

 

Published in 2006:

Hart, Ted et al. (2006). Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online.

 

Finding grant sources is a critical aspect of competitive grantsmanship. This post presents books about prospect research — in the context of fundraising and grant seeking — that were published in 2011 and 2012. Later posts will present books on the same topic that were published in 2010 or earlier years.

 

Research Method:

Most of the listed books represent titles found among the first 100 pages of hits on Amazon using the site’s publishing date sorting feature and the search terms of ‘prospect research’ and ‘finding funding.’ The searches yielded 7 titles for 2012 and 6 titles for 2011. Interestingly, only one of these 13 titles restricts its coverage to prospect research as such.

 

It is likely that the use of other sources and search terms would have led to different lists. If you are aware of other titles that fit the search parameters, please send a ‘comment’.

 

Scope of Coverage:

Although the list is subject to correction and revision, it is not intended to be exhaustive. Unless they were published in new editions, it does not list books from before 2011 or after 2012; such books will be the topics of other posts. Inclusion of a book here is not an endorsement nor does it necessarily mean I have read it. The list strives to include books only about prospect research and related topics, and to minimize its inclusion of other kinds of books.

 

Published in 2012:

  • Andresen, Katya. (2012). Best Practices for Fundraising Success: Diversifying Giving Channels.
  • Bullock, Kirsten M. (2012). Simple Steps to Growing Your Donors.
  • Hunt, Penelope C. and Lippincott, John. (2012). Development for Academic Leaders: A Practical Guide for Fundraising Success.
  • Licklider, Mary M. et al. (2012). Grant Seeking in Higher Education: Strategies and Tools for College Faculty.
  • Lysakowsi, Lisa. (2012). Fundraising for the Genius: The Only Book You’ll Ever Need to Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit Organization.
  • Quinn, Amy S. (2012). Fundraising Innovators: Leaders in Social Enterprise Share New Approaches to Raising Money.
  • Walker, Julia I. (2012). A Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Board Members.

 

Published in 2011:

  • Cannon, Christopher M. (2011). An Executive’s Guide to Fundraising Operations: Principles, Tools, and Trends.
  • Drezner, Noah D. (2011). Philanthropy and Fundraising in American Higher Education.
  • Hancks, Meredith L. (2011). Getting Started in Prospect Research: What You Need to Know to Find Who You Need to Find.
  • Jones, Robin and Funnell, Rebecca. (2011). Prospect Research.
  • Kim, Peter, Perrault, Gail, and Foster, William. (2011). Finding Your Funding Model: A Practical Approach to Nonprofit Sustainability.
  • Stroman, M. Kent. (2011). Asking About Asking: Mastering the Art of Conversational Fundraising. 

 

Finding grant sources is a critical aspect of competitive grantsmanship. This post presents books about prospect research published to date in 2013. Later posts will present books published in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and perhaps also in earlier years.

 

Research Method:

Most of the listed books represent titles found among the first 30 pages of hits on Amazon using the search terms ‘prospect research’ and ‘finding funding.’ The searches yielded 12 titles so far for 2013.

 

It is likely that the use of other sources and search terms would have led to different lists. If you are aware of other titles that fit the search parameters, please send a ‘comment’.

 

Scope of Coverage:

Although the list is subject to correction and revision, it is not intended to be exhaustive. Unless they were published in new editions, it does not list books from years before 2013; many such books will be the topics of later posts. Inclusion of a book here is not an endorsement nor does it necessarily mean I have read it. The list strives to include books only about prospect research and related topics, and to minimize its inclusion of other kinds of books.

 

Published in 2013:

  • Cagney, Penelope, and Ross, Bernard. (2013). Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Philanthropy.
  • Dolhopf-Brown, Elizabeth. (2013). Prospect Research Fundamentals: Prove Methods to Help Charities Realize More Major Gifts.
  • Filla, Jennifer J. and Brown, Helen E. (2013). Prospect Research for Fundraisers: The Essential Handbook.
  • Grace, Kay Sprinkel. (2013). Beyond Fundraising: New Strategies for Nonprofit Innovation and Investment Fund Development. 2nd Edition.
  • Greenhoe, John. (2013). Opening the Door to Major Gifts: Mastering the Discovery Call.
  • Hancks, Meredith L. and Rosson, Cara. (2013). Prospect Research is a Verb: Fundraising is the Subject.
  • Harris, Kim. (2013). How to Write a Program Grant Proposal: Nonprofit Guide to Writing Successful Grant Proposals.
  • Lansdowne, David. (2013). Fundraising Realities Every Board Member Must Face: A 1-Hour Crash Course on Raising Major Gifts. 2nd Edition.
  • Quinn, Laura. (2013). The Idealware Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits 2013.
  • Pettey, Janet Gow. (2013). Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy: A Guide to Ethical Decision-Making and Regulation for Nonprofit Organizations.
  • Williams, Karla A. (2013). Leading the Fundraising Charge: The Role of the Nonprofit Executive.
  • Wruck, Craig C. (2013). Planned Giving in a Nutshell: Planned Giving on Your Terms. 4th Edition.

 

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