Community Foundation News

10 Best Practices for Impact Polk Grant Applications

The October 10 deadline for submitting Impact Polk grant applications is quickly approaching, so as you putting the finishing touches on your organization’s application, check out the following tips from our Grant Manager, Johnna Martinez. These tips are personal suggestions for consideration and are, by no means, a guarantee for receiving funding.

Brief Project Description: This is the first thing that the reviewer reads about your organization and program. This paragraph needs to be clear on what the organization is asking for and why it is needed in the community. A dollar amount is not needed here, but this field needs to catch the reviewers attention so that they want to learn more about the project. *This is also the only paragraph that our donors will see when considering funding.

Amount Requested: This amount should have careful consideration. Don’t just ask for the whole amount without complete justification of why you need the full amount. If you can get in-kind services for some areas of your project, this may be more appealing to the reviewer and donors. Exact numbers show that you have really taken a look at your project budget and have accounted for every need. $15,000, which may be needed, may not show as careful of attention to the budget as say $14, 895.47.

Will you accept partial funding: Be honest here. If you say Yes, I will accept partial funding – will your project still go on as described in the application?  Will you be able to make up the difference or will you have to modify the grant based on reduced funding? Many of our donors like to see you try to get other funding, so they may award half of your request and stipulate that you find the remaining to make up the difference. If you just scale back the project due to reduced funding, they consider that when the next grant application is submitted.

Project Description: This is where you can elaborate on your project, and be specific! Include number of participants and what impact you think your project will have on participants/community. What is the value of the project to the community? What problems will be addressed with your project?

Number served: Take into consideration your target audience and the volunteers you may use. For example, if you have an Art & Culture project, what is your participant #, audience #, volunteer #, staff #? All of those people will be impacted by your project in one way or another. If you are a school asking for material items, include the year’s target audience, but if your materials can be used in the future for future classes, estimate how many students may be impacted by the use of the materials overall.  Donors like to see the cost per participant.

Duplicate services: Is there another organization doing a similar project that you are planning? If so, is there a reason you are not collaborating with them? Is the service area overlapping? Is your target population different from theirs? Can you combine services in any way?

Partners & Collaborators: Donors want to see collaboration. If you have a summer program and need to transport students, instead of asking for a vehicle, show that you are working with local churches to use church vans when not used by church, or work with local car dealerships to see if they would allow a weeks’ worth of use of a rental van if you show them as sponsors of your program.  Do not rely on this funding as the sole source of funding. Seek funding elsewhere, either hard costs or inkind donations.

Timeline: Be very specific on your timeline, including specific start and end dates. If you project starts in June but you are trying to get the word out to get people registered in April, then your timeline begins in April.  If your project is for the 2014-2015 school year, note that funding won’t be coming until at the earliest March/April. Maybe push your timeline to the 2015-2016 school year.

Evaluation Method: How will you evaluate the success of your project? Surveys, pre- and post-tests are great tools. Survey  an audience or parents who have their kids participate. Feedback is important if you apply for future funding for the same project. Just saying that 50 kids participated in the program is not an evaluation method.

Acknowledgement: This is a very important part of your grant. Please acknowledge your funding as it is outlined in your award letter. If you are not the person reporting or implementing the program, get the letter to that person. Do not assume that the funding is from somewhere else other than within the Community Foundation. Donors name their funds for specific reasons. Please respect that name and acknowledge it as awarded in the letter.

Have questions about your application? Contact us.