Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Administrative / Overhead Rates in Your Grant Proposal

Posted by Roland Garton on Thu, Aug 10, 2017 @ 23:08 PM

Many requests for proposal will ask for an administrative rate, also known as General & Administration (G&A) expense rate, or indirect rate. In this blog we address some of the most frequent questions we get in our consultations and with clients. This is a basic introduction of key concepts. Indirect expenses can get complex, with multiple rate structures and multiple tiers or rates. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us at no charge for a quick response.

What Is an Administrative (G&A) Rate?

Your agency has costs that cannot be charged directly to any one project.  Such costs include heating, lighting, rent, and administrators’ salaries. In a simplified model, your G&A rate is the total amount of indirect costs for, say, a whole year, divided by the total direct costs for that same period of time.

indirect calc.jpg

The Administrate rate, by the way, is not the same as the cost of fundraising, a statistic that occasionally is requested by funding agencies. The cost of fundraising is a topic for another blog article.

Why Do Funders Want to Know Admin Rates?

Some foundations will not pay for G&A costs in their awards. Others will allow you to include G&A costs in a budget as a percentage of direct project costs. For the latter type of proposal, you need to know your G&A rate so you know what to request.

Also, some foundations prefer to fund grants with lower G&A rates, or put a cap on the maximum percentage you can request for G&A. The philosophy is understandable; a funding agency would like to maximize the dollars going to direct project work, minimize the foundation funding for indirect work, and reward organizations for operating efficient operations. (It’s an ongoing debate whether the G&A rate is in fact an accurate gauge of efficiency.)

What are Typical G&A Rates?

As you might expect, there is no single, hard-and-fast number. In our experience, G&A rates in the low teens are not questioned by experienced funding organizations. Higher rates can be approved with sufficient justification. We’ve see several Department of Education grants capped at 8%. The public is apparently used to higher numbers, as evidenced in a 2012 survey by TheNonProfitTimes.

What if I Haven’t Calculated an Administrative Rate?

There is a short-term and long-term answer to this question. If you need a number for an application that’s due soon, you can estimate your indirect rate using best-judgment estimates of which budget costs fall into which categories, direct or indirect. In the longer term, you can set up timekeeping and bookkeeping mechanisms to provide more accurate numbers over time. The details of these are, again, a possible topic for a future blog.

As mentioned above, we can help with all aspects of the funding cycle, including budgets and financial system. Contact us for a consultation at no charge.

Topics: administrative rates, administrative rates in grants, indirect rates in grants, Budgets, grant budget

Some Common Grant Terms and Acronyms

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 21:05 PM

We have received several questions from people about common terms and acronyms they have found when looking for and applying for grants. Here are some common ones. We hope this information will help you in your search for grants. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us. The first consultation with one of our expert Grant Helpers is always FREE.

NOFA: Notice of Funding Availability – State and federal governments as well as private foundations and organizations issue a NOFA when funding becomes available for programs. Notices of Funding Availability are more common from the government since government spending often has to be approved at various times for use. Normally, a NOFA lists the application deadlines, eligibility requirements, and places where you can get more help in applying for program dollars.

LOI: Letter of Inquiry – A letter of inquiry is a brief yet concise presentation of the program or problem that you would like funded as well as your organization’s qualifications and background. A letter of inquiry can often be the most important step in securing grant funds. According to the Foundation Center, many foundations prefer funding requests come first in the form of a LOI instead of a full proposal. Foundations typically use letters of inquiry to see if there is interest in the project before a full proposal is submitted. Check out our full blog on letters of inquiry here.

RFP: Request for Proposal - The Nonprofit Good Practice Guide's Glossary defines an RFP as "An invitation from a funder to submit applications on a specified topic with specified purposes." According to the Foundation Center, a relatively small number of grant-making organizations use RFPs although they are becoming popular for promoting new programs.

RFA: Request for Applications – An RFA is essentially the same as a RFP. Government agencies and other grant-making organizations sometimes release requests for applications, specifying what types of programs are eligible for funding.

Budget Narrative or Budget Explanation – The budget narrative provides a detailed description and support for items in the proposal budget.  Budget narratives typically include calculations for staff hours and costs, lists of materials & supplies with costs, description of travel with cost details, explanation of other direct costs, and indirect cost rates and calculations. Some require a description of what personnel will do on the project.

Indirect Rates - Grant-making organizations understand that when they fund a proposal they are not reimbursing the recipient for all related costs because the grantee has to absorb such costs as heating, lighting, and salaries. That’s why some agencies allow a proposal to include indirect costs. These costs cannot be attributed to a single project, but support multiple projects. We have an entire blog describing indirect rates.

In-Kind Funds - Sometimes grants require matching funds. One way an organization can increase matching funds is to list the value of services or other support as in-kind funds. Volunteer services, space, transportation, and donated goods you distribute are common examples of in-kind matches.

Logic Model -  A logic model is sometime requested when applying for a grant. Simply put, this document shows the relationships among your project's sources, actions, outputs, and expected outcomes. Logic models show, in table form, the expectations you have for the project you wish to be funded. Logic models can be useful for project planning and making you aware of any project gaps. Visit our past blog for a detailed look at logic models and their importance in grants.

Matching Funds – In some cases, the organization receiving the grant needs to provide a certain amount of its own money, or collaborators’ funds, toward the effort. Programs vary a lot in the amounts and types of matching funds required; many require no matching funds at all. But if a match is required, failure to provide it will likely result in the rejection of the application. We previously wrote a series of blogs on finding matching funds and how to use them after you receive them. See that blog here.

Proposal Budget – While a budget does not need to be defined, we do get a lot of questions about budgets, so we included it in this list. Make sure your budget provides all information required in the proposal guidelines.

Unsolicited Grants – Some foundations may choose to not accept any unsolicited grants, meaning they contact the entities they would like to submit applications for grant funding. If you are not invited, you can’t apply. Foundations do this for several reasons including the desire to fund groups only in a certain area; the need for less paperwork; and the desire to fund very specific causes. You can learn more about unsolicited grants in our previous blog.

Have a grant term you’re wondering about?  Feel free to post a question here, or contact a Grant Helper directly. can help you in all facets of your project or program, from development to finding funds to implementation. See a detailed list of all of our services here.

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Topics: matching funds, unsolicited grant, RFA, indirect rates, NOFA, LOI, RFP, logic model, proposal budget, Budgets, in-kind funds

Be Proactive About Protecting Your Municipal Budget

Posted by Rebecca Motley on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 @ 19:04 PM

It is certainly no secret that many states across the country are struggling financially. Public pension burdens can be staggering, costs of providing education and Medicaid continue to rise, and legislators are scrapping to find solutions. The state of Illinois, home of, is a prime example of this phenomenon. Right now, the Illinois State Legislature is considering two areas that specifically affect municipal revenue:

      1. Local Government Distributive Funds (LGDF)

When the state passed the income tax increase several years ago, municipalities suffered a reduction in their share of this revenue stream, which fell to 6% of the tax from 10%. In the FY2014 budget, Gov. Quinn is proposing to decrease this percentage even further, which could result in a $240 million reduction in funds to municipalities, translating to approximately $11.50 per capita, according to the Illinois Municipal League. 

     2. Local Property Tax Revenue

In response to falling home prices, legislators are considering various new restrictions on increases in property taxes that fund municipal services: “...the different measures all have roughly the same goal: to prohibit school districts, park boards, municipalities, and other taxing bodies from increasing tax levies when home values are dropping.” Source:  Illinois Legislators Want Property Tax Freeze, Posted February 27, 2013, By Dennis Rodkin on

These two areas can represent 25% or more of revenues in many municipalities. Cutbacks in Illinois and several other states seem inevitable due to current economic factors. 

One area that municipalities may turn to in alleviating these financial struggles is grant funding, particularly for capital projects. Securing federal grants for major projects can ease the operating burden on the municipal entity, while improving the quality of life for its citizens. Grants may also be used to increase the attractiveness of a community for economic development. Businesses may be more likely to locate in municipalities with updated amenities.  Effort invested in securing economic development assistance grants can result in new business, which leads to increased sales tax and property tax revenue for municipalities.

In an effort to help municipalities become aware of the multitude of grants that are available, The Grant Helper’s blog has and will feature several opportunities for rural and urban cities. One such blog we have recently posted, Municipal Water and Wastewater Grants, features six different grant opportunities to improve or construct water and wastewater systems. On April 9, check back to our blog for a list of business and economic development grants available for municipalities.  Subscribe to our blog to get a notification when we post new topics. can help in several key areas, with funding searches across multiple types of databases, overall grant strategy assistance, help with any one specific proposal, and many other services. To strengthen your approach, contact us today. Our initial advice and consultations are always free.

Photo Credit:  401(K)2013

Topics: federal grant budget, government grant budget, government spending, Budgets, state funding cuts, federal spending, municipality revenues

Where Can You Find Grant Examples?

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 @ 16:11 PM

We are often asked for examples on all things grant related. Where can I find an example of a grant budget? What is a good example of a grant proposal? Where can I see a sample letter of inquiry?

We have written several blog articles on tips and pointers about what to include in specific grant documents, and we will certainly generate more. So the blog pages you're in now are a resource to keep in mind. (Click here for a full list of past articles.) There are many additional places you should consider looking before you start your hunt online for examples. Of course, you can always pose grant questions to our experts. We are here to help you wherever we can in developing your grant. Here are a few additional resources you might consult on your own.


1)      Consider the source. The actual source of the grant money can double as a great resource for you. Funding agencies want to receive high-quality proposals, and because of this, they sometimes offer sample documents of past grant recipients, or at least documents that are similar or acceptable.


2)      Consider those around you. Obtain previously successful files or documents that your organization has submitted in past grant applications. If you have nothing from the past to reference, consider contacting colleagues in similar, non-competing organizations. Ask them if they have any examples that they would be willing to share. Do not hesitate to reach out to those around you for help, whether they are inside or outside of your organization.


Grant Budget Example

3)      Search the web. The Internet is an endless, albeit sometimes overwhelming, resource of information on just about anything. As previously mentioned, it would be best to start with the funding source to look for sample grant proposals, grant budgets, etc. However, if you need to look to other areas, a Google search will yield results. To pick some random examples, Kurzweil Education Systems offers a PDF file with a sample grant proposal that includes a sample cover letter, a sample cover page, a sample grant proposal, and a sample letter format to use in grant proposals for foundations. The Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency of Wayne, Michigan provides a grant proposal template. The Michigan example is a more general outline of what should be included in a grant, whereas the Kurzweil example provides samples of the documents that are actually included.  A few things to watch out for when using materials from the web:

Avoid the temptation to simply copy information you find. Writers are often tempted to “over-borrow” another person’s words. Many agencies essentially place materials in the public domain by making them available online, but that does not make them yours. Aside from legal and ethical issues, agencies might get a negative impression if they see their own examples parroted back to them without being made applicable to a particular proposal.

Relevance of the material is another concern. What’s relevant or required of one grant may be irrelevant to another. Don’t ever assume that all grant documents are equal in what needs to be included on them. Each grant is unique, so be sure to fulfill all requirements and recommendations completely.

Credibility of the source is a key aspect to consider when reviewing materials on the web. You wouldn’t ask a construction worker for advice on your health.  Similarly, make sure that when you are seeking grant advice, you get it from a source knowledgeable in the field. There are scammers in all fields: caveat emptor. Overly busy or ad-filled sites tend to be suspect.


Finding examples of grant documents is a wise action to help your grant development process. Remember, if you are in need of advice or direction, we are here to help you.


Grant Writing Examples



Image Credit: Tax Credits, Tax Credits

Topics: great resources, Letter of Inquiry, sample grant budgets, grant budget example, grant services, Grant writing objectives, Budgets, grant writing submission, grant research tips, grant writing examples, How to Grant Write, Grant Writing Tips, tips on grant evaluations, sample grants, sample grant proposals, grant proposal example

Garden Grants: Earn More Money for Gardens, Part 2 of 2

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

School Garden Grants

In our last blog article, The Grant Helpers discussed a few of the opportunities available for community garden grants. In this blog article, part two of a two-part series, we will share information on a few of the opportunities for school garden grants. There are countless opportunities for school (or educational) gardens grants. Just a select few of them appear below. The Grant Helpers can assist you in finding many more of these funding sources and securing more money for you. Contact a grant expert today for a free consultation.


The Captain Planet Foundation

            The Captain Planet Foundation mainly focuses on grants to United States schools and organizations. Grants are made for programs that promote and support educational programs and help youth learn about and appreciate the world through a hands-on approach to improve the environment around them.

            Grants are typically for $500 but can exceed that amount. There are two grant cycles each year: a September 30 deadline, to be notified by December 15 and a February 28 deadline, to be notified by May 15. See the foundation’s website for more details.


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): Farm to School Program

            The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers the farm to school program, which assists eligible schools in improving access to local foods. In 2012, planning grants were expected to range from $20,000 - $45,000, while implementation grants were expected to be between $65,000 - $100,000. The farm to school program is a general, widely used term, but the goal of the program is to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to school cafeterias. Funding from the program itself can be used for many different types of projects or activities, among which are school gardens.School Garden Grant

            The 2013 grant application dates have not yet been announced, but in 2012, all announcement dates and deadlines occurred within the first six months of the calendar year. FNS anticipated awarding $3.5 million in grant funding during the 2012 grant cycle, and winners were anticipated to be announced in mid-November 2012. Be sure to check the website regularly and early for 2013 grant details. The USDA also suggests checking with the resources available in your home state as a first step regarding the farm to school program.


Whole Kids Foundation: School Garden Grants

            The Whole Kids Foundation’s School Garden Grants program provides money to teach kids how to learn about sustainability, conservation, food systems, community awareness, and how food gets from seed to plate. Unlike some grant requirements set forth by corporations, this grant does not require applicants to be located in a region with a Whole Foods Market.

            The application deadline for this grant is November 15, 2012. For a more information on how to apply or eligibility requirements, see the Whole Kids Foundation website.


Local Businesses

            Don’t dismiss the idea of checking with local businesses, especially garden centers, as they are often willing to donate to local organizations. Some might be willing to donate more if you offer to put a small sign in your garden giving them credit for their donation. That acts as an advertisement for the businesses that contributed, while at the same time providing free goods for the garden.



There are countless numbers of garden grant opportunities for schools and educational purposes. As our list of services indicates, we at The Grant Helpers can assist you throughout any and all aspects of the grant development and grant writing process. We have a strong educational history, and we’re confident in our ability to secure you more grant money. Ask an expert for more information.

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Image by U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDAgov

Topics: education, grant annoucement, grant services, free grant money, grant notification, Budgets

Federal grant money available for energy and climate initiatives

Posted by Bob Iverson on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 @ 21:10 PM

describe the imageThe budget may be tight, but there is still some federal money available in grants to help state, local and tribal governments with energy and climate inititiatives. Here are a few example that can be used to support community sustainability, environmental education, and Brownfield cleanup. The Grant Helpers can find more grants for your organization and can review available grants to see if they would work for your organization.


Grant Help Grant Writing
  • FEMA 2012 Community Resilience Innovation Challenge – Up to $35,000 per selected project

Application Due: November 16, 2012
The 2012 Challenge program will support a broad range of activities designed to foster community resilience. Particular focus will be placed on reaching across social sectors, while a specific goal will be increased local dialogue that includes the sharing of information about local risks and the vulnerabilities of and consequences for local residents and their well-being. Public and private organizations, agencies, and groups are eligible for the funding. For more  grant writing information, visit
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  • AIA Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT) – Technical Assistance

Application Due: November 16, 2012
This program focuses on the importance of developing sustainable communities through design. It is seeking potential partner communities that can demonstrate the capacity to convene a diverse set of community leaders and stakeholders for an intensive, collaborative planning process focused on long-term sustainability. Local government agencies, institutions, and community groups are eligible for the grant funding. Awarded communities will receive pro bono services from a multidisciplinary team through the program, and the AIA commits to funding up to $15,000 for each project to cover team expenses. For more information, visit
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  • EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – $2.16 million

Application Due: November 21, 2012
The purpose of this program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. Eligible entities would include educational agencies, colleges or universities, environmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations. EPA expects to award one grant per Region for an expected 10 grants nationwide. For more information on this grant announcement, visit

 describe the image

  • EPA Brownfield Area-wide Planning Grant – $4 Million

Application Due: November 30, 2012
This grant will fund projects to facilitate community involvement and conduct research, training, and technical assistance necessary to develop area-wide plans and implementation strategies to facilitate brownfields assessment, cleanup, and subsequent reuse. Local governments, redevelopment agencies, a state agency acting on behalf of a local agency, and Indian tribes are eleigible for the funding. Brownfields area-wide planning grant funding must be directed to specific areas affected by a single large or multiple brownfield sites, such as a neighborhood, downtown district, city block, or local commercial corridor. For more information, see


The Grant Helpers can help your organization find federal grantsmake sure a grant is a good fit for your organization, and strategize how to win a grant.  We can also help you develop a grant proposals and administer the award once funded. 

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Topics: education, business grants, grant annoucement, free grant money, grant notification, grant announcement, Budgets, grant writing submission, grant research tips

Opportunities for Food Grants: Funding to End Hunger

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 @ 21:10 PM

One of the basic human needs is the need for food. Many people, institutions, and organizations have been hard hit by rough economic times. While service programs of all kinds have been slashed to trim budgets, there are still several grant opportunities out there for nonprofit organizations and other qualifying organizations looking for grant money to fund nutrition and food security programs.

Many corporate funders have regular grant application cycles, so it would be wise to look several months ahead for grant opportunities that might become available. Proper grant planning and grant management can help secure more funds. Here are a few places to start looking.  There are lots more, too.  As described in the last paragraph, we can help you find more grants and win more grants with carefully chosen strategies, advice, and guidance.


Child Hunger and Nutrition Grants

ConAgra Foods Foundation

The ConAgra Foods Foundation offers annual grants for nonprofit organizations. Grants are awarded to organizations that address child hunger and nutrition. ConAgra gives funding priority to organizations focusing on direct services, capacity building, and advocacy interventions.

This foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, and it awards grants only to states in certain states: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. Special preference is given to organizations serving African American, Hispanic, and Native American children.

Counties with 100 or more ConAgra Foods employees and/or a child food insecurity rate of 30% or higher will also receive preference. The grant application process opens early in each calendar year, but the actual date for 2013 is not yet available


Food GrantShare Our Strength: No Kid Hungry

The No Kid Hungry campaign is focused on trying to eliminate hunger among children in America by supporting nutrition programs and educating low-income families on how to stretch their budgets while still making healthy food choices at home.

The average grant size is between $5,000 - $10,000, and priority is given to nonprofit organizations, schools, and other organizations that are eligible by participating in activities like increasing access to afterschool snack and meal programs, increasing school breakfast availability, and advocacy of certain anti-hunger issues.

Grant proposals are usually accepted once in the spring, for funding summer meals programs, and once in the early summer, for all other programs.


The Campbell’s Soup Foundation

The Campbell’s Soup Foundation offers grants to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations in locations where the company has plant facilities. Organizations do not have to be located in these communities to qualify for the grants, but they must serve these communities: Davis, Dixon, Sacramento, and Stockton, CA; Bloomfield and Norwalk, CT; Lakeland, FL; Downers Grove, IL; Maxton, NC;  Camden and South Plainfield, NJ; Napoleon and Willard, OH; Denver and Downington, PA; Aiken, SC; Paris, TX; Richmond, UT; Everett, WA; Milwaukee, WI.

The foundation focuseson relieving hunger and on childhood obesity. It also focuses on funding applicants who have an ongoing relationship and that make a positive impact on the youth living in Campbell's and Pepperidge Farm communities.

There are two grant cycles each year: January – April and August – November. Official dates for 2013 grant cycles have not yet been released, so check the website frequently for new announcements.


Other Agricultural Grants and Food Security Grants 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food organization offers more than two dozen programs that can help communities build local and regional food systems. Some of these programs include helping farmers extend their growing seasons, assisting growers cooperatives looking to build or rebuild a food hub, helping farmers markets accept SNAP benefits, etc.

The USDA offers a multitude of grants and programs that can help all types of individuals and organizations with agricultural production and food security programs.  A good place to begin is at the USDA’s Grant, Loans, and Support webpage. The USDA blog allows potential applicants to stay on top of the latest announcements and updates to its programs.


These are just a few of the many opportunities for nutritional and food security funding, but finding the right funding source can be difficult and time consuming. We at TheGrantHelpers have an incredibly knowledgeable team of experts that can help you identify funding sources as well as specify and define an organization’s funding needs. We can provide services throughout every part of the grant development process, as well as help organizations manage their grant money after it has been awarded. For a full list of our services, see our services page. To join our Watch List to receive alerts on possible grant opportunities, click here, or ask a grant helper a question.


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Topics: grant annoucement, grant services, grant notification, Budgets, grant management, grant editing, grant strategy

How May We Help You?: Our Grant Development Services, Part 2

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 15:10 PM

We recently posted a blog discussing the services we offer throughout the first two steps of grant development. In this blog post, we at TheGrantHelpers discuss the final three steps in the grant development process as well as what we can do to help secure your organization more grant money.


Step 3: Plan and Research the Grant

            Grants require a certain amount of planning and research in order to be successful. With our Grant Readiness Support service, you will receive tools for tracking proposal applications and deadlines, developing budget templates for future grant applications, advising and editing boilerplate documents, developing a desirable funding profile and associated target funding sources, etc.

            If you need help developing a strategy and make the strongest case for funding for a particular grant, we can help you come up with a Grant Strategy. You can expect help with developing an approach, and you will receive two documents, a Case for Funding and a General Approach. Your organization can use these documents throughout the grant writing process.


Step 4: Develop the ProposalGet More Grant Money

            Developing a grant proposal can be tedious because before writing the proposal itself, there is a lot of planning, research, collaboration, organization, etc. involved. Before you invest the time and energy on developing a full proposal, make sure the grant opportunity is a good fit through our Grant Opportunity Review. We will help you go over guidelines, check for potential problem areas, and make suggestions on how to increase your chances for receiving funding.

            If you new to grant writing process, or if you simply don’t have the time to do so, or are looking to do even better, we can help you from start to finish. Even under a tight deadline, we can usually accommodate requests.

            Sometimes, organizations need just a little help and advice here and there along the way. In this case, our Grant Writing Assistance service might be useful. You can expect us to advise on strategy and approach, edit text, offer research support, help prepare budgets, produce simple diagrams and graphics, and more. We will work with your organization to fill in any gaps where they are most needed.

            We can also conduct a Grant Proposal Review. With this service, we will review your proposal against the grant guidelines, proofread your proposal, and double check for compliance so that your proposal is not rejected due to an error or overlooked mistake.


Step 5: What to do After the Grant is Awarded

            Receiving a grant award is fantastic, but the work on the project is only beginning when you receive the funding notice. Many grants require ongoing follow-up and strict reporting requirements, with the risk of having to repay the grant monies if you don't comply. We offer a Grant Award Management service, in which we can organize and manage the reporting requirements by providing training, report management tools, invoicing and financial interactions, or even managing the entire process for you.


No matter where you are in the grant writing process, and no matter where your organization needs help, we have the experts and services necessary to get you on the right track. We customize our interactions with you and offer a variety of high-value and high-quality services. Contact us today for more details, or check out our full services page.

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Topics: grant annoucement, ask these questions when writing a grant, grant services, free grant money, grant notification, best practices in grant writing, Grant writing objectives, Budgets, grant writing submission, grant research tips, grant management, grant readiness, grant editing, How to Grant Write, grant strategy

Literacy Grants

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 @ 15:10 PM

Literacy Grants Could Help Ease Pain of Budget Cuts

For students across the nation, fall suggests a fresh start: new teachers, new classrooms, new supplies, etc. However, for school administrators, fall suggests the same old problem: budget cuts. And the dilemma of finding a new solution can be daunting.

Budget cuts have deeply affected literacy programs, but several grant opportunities for such programs are currently available, with many more forthcoming.

The following are just some of the corporations and organizations that offer literacy grant opportunities:

1) Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (application process begins January 2013)

  • Funds family literacy programs and research-based curriculum across the U.S.


2) Lowe's Toolbox for Education (applications due October 12, 2012)

  • Any K-12 public schools or non-profit parent group associated with a public K-12 school is eligible.

  • A wide variety of projects qualify, but preference is given to projects that leave lasting impacts.

  • Grants awarded range from $2,000 to $5,000.

  • Application process is closed if 1,500 applications are received.

  • $5 million will be donated to over 1,000 schools.Literacy Grant Education Budget


3) Dollar General Literacy Grants (applications available January 2013)

  • Awarded to create or develop literacy programs, purchase new technology, equipment, books, materials, or software for literacy programs and initiatives.


4) Target Grants (Four different types of grants available)

     Early childhood reading grants

  • Awarded to schools, libraries, and non-profit organizations.

  • Each grant is $2,000.

  • Grant applications are accepted between March 1 and April 30 of each year.

  • 1,750 of these grants were awarded in 2011.


     Field trip grants

  • Each grant is up to $700.

  • Grant applications are accepted between August 1 and September 30 of each year.

  • 5,045 schools received grants during the 2011-2012 school year.


     Arts, culture, and design in schools

  • Each grant is $2,000.

  • Grant applications are accepted between March 1 and April 30 of each year.

  • 1,729 schools received grants in 2011.


     Target Foundation grants

  • Arts grants (application opens January 1)

    • Focuses on providing arts and cultural experiences to the community.

  • Social services grants (application opens March 1).

    • Focuses on programs and organizations that provide communities or at-risk families with food, clothing and housing.

  • NOTE: Target Foundation grant applicants are limited to organizations that are classified as 501(c)(3) in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota metropolitan area only.


The need for literacy funding is clear, and in a budget crisis, every little bit helps. suggests planning ahead. Begin your grant search today. Join our Watch List to receive alerts whenever a grant that fits your needs becomes available, or let us help you conduct a Grant Opportunity Search. You can also contact a Grant Helper for more information.


Photo by: Abdulla Al Muhairi

Topics: education, grant annoucement, grant services, free grant money, grant announcement, Budgets

Avoid a Grant Writing Pitfall: Communicate with Key Stakeholders

Posted by Katie Adams on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 11:04 AM

howtocommunicatewithgrantwritersYou can write the best grant in the world, but if internal polices interfere with submission, it's worthless.

With any organization, every once in a while the right hand will forget to let the left hand know what it's doing, and that can cause problems for proposals. One of our clients, a nonprofit Executive Director, once told us the story of how he was working on a grant in conjunction with an area community college. Our client secured an insurance agency as a partner on the project, which was appropriate. No problem, right? Wrong. Turns out one of the board members from the community college ran a rival insurance agency. During final approvals, the board member refused to allow any involvement by his competitor. It was too late to make changes, so the whole grant proposal was killed in the last hour.

Communication is the key to success in any organization, and grant writing is no different. When we work with a client on a proposal, we prompt them to make sure the internal wheels are greased for eventual grant submission. Here are some questions to consider: 

1. Does everyone on your Executive Board/Board of Advisors/Project Team know about the grant? Are they willing to support it?

2. Are other key stake holders inside and outside of the organization similarly aware and supportive? 

3. Are those who must contribute to the proposal sufficiently familiar with relevant requirements (including matching funds, report requirements, etc)? 

4. Who all will review and have input to the proposal? Has enough time been scheduled to get their input and make changes based on that input? Are they aware of the schedule?

Any important questions we missed? Let us know in the comments! 

Interested in other ways to make your grant application stronger? Download our free article, Making the Case, and learn how to make the best case for funding. 

Make Your Case for Grant Funding

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Topics: ask these questions when writing a grant, best practices in grant writing, Budgets