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Webinar Transcripts

Writing for Social Change: Grant Proposals

March 27, 2014

Last updated 4/16/2018

 

Visual:The webinar begins with a PowerPoint title slide in the large central panel. A captioning pod, Q&A pod, and files pod are stacked on the right side.

The slide says “Housekeeping” and the following: 

  • Webinar is being recorded and will be available online a day or two from now. 
  • Live participants & archived viewers:
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Live participants:
    • Use the Q&A box to ask questions. 
  • Archived viewers:
    • Send questions to writingsupport@waldenu.edu 
  • Help & troubleshooting:
    • Choose “Help” anywhere throughout the webinar room. 

Audio:All right, welcome everyone, we're going to go ahead and get the webinar started, so let me move over here to my housekeeping slides. I'm Beth, I am the webinar coordinator for the writing center and a writing instructor and I’ll be helping Brittany facilitate this webinar. So, I just wanted to start us off by going over a few housekeeping things. 

The first is that the webinar is going to be recorded, and we’ll make sure that, that’s available probably posting it tomorrow, I would think, in our webinar archives so you're more than welcome to come back and watch the recording if you'd like to hear more. [In audible] you could also access any of the links that we're providing or any of the things we have ready for you to download by coming back to that recording in our webinar archive. 

For both live participants and anyone watching that recording. Feel free to interact with any of the polls, files or links or any of the chat pods of course that we are going to be providing. This is a really interactive webinar that Brittney’s developed, and so, just like you guys were doing before the webinar, letting everyone know where you were joining us from, please participate as much as possible throughout the webinar but you’re also welcome to access any of the links that Brittney is going to be providing. Feel free to take a look at any of those as Brittney’s presenting, download those files that we have available for your too. 

We also are going to have a Q&A box. I think it's labelled "ask us" on your webinar screen. So, feel free to send comments or questions, anything you'd like us to know about, or, questions you'd like Brittany to address, or anything that I can address as a facilitator. My colleague, Amber is also going to be helping me answer questions, so feel free to send anything our way throughout the webinar. 

And then recorded, anyone watching the recording, of course, feel free to e-mail us at writingsupport@waldenu.eduand of course any one whose attending live can email us at that address after the webinar done too.

The last thing, any help or troubleshooting, if you have technical issues, please let us know in the questions box. Amber and I will try help as much as possible. But if we can't help, we'll just try to point you to the right resources and there is a help button at the top right corner of your screen. That’s going to be a really great resource, probably the best one if you're having technical issues, so use that as well. 

 

Visual:Slide changes to the title of the webinar: Writing for Social Change: Grant Proposals. Faciliatory: Brittany Kallman Arneson, Writing Instructor, Coordinator of Writing Center Residency Instruction and Design

Audio:So, I hope you know, this is writing for social change. This is one of our social change series webinars. And this is specifically about grant proposals. So, we have Brittany Kallman Arneson, she's a writing instructor, as well as a coordinator of the residency instruction for the writing center, and she's going to be talking about writing grant proposals.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing for Social Change Series:

Articulate vision for social change

Help you enact the social change

Past webinars: Focus on articulation

Next webinars: Focus on enacting

Audio: But before we get started, I wanted to sort of give you some context for this webinar because it is part of this larger series we started developing last year, and then we're continuing in 2014. So, this is writing for social change. And we've done two webinars so far before. And really in those webinars what we were trying to explain is how you can articulate your vision for social change, how writing relates to social change, and then the second webinar we did talks about how you can do that in blogging. But what we're doing with this webinar is kind of a shift. Because, of course, with grant proposals you're writing and you’re articulating your vision for social change in that grant proposal, but really, we're also going to be focusing on -- not maybe focusing, but what's going to happen after that grant proposal, as soon as it's accepted, is that you're then going to enact that social change. So, this is kind of the exciting part about this webinar. Is that, not only are you articulating your vision for social change, but there's actually going to be some sort of actions or things that will come from that, as sort of an interim course, because that's what a grant proposal is all about. At our writing for social change series will follow in that vein and continue as we develop a few more webinars for this series. So, I encourage you, if you didn't see the first two webinars in the series, go back, watch the recordings. They might be interesting and useful for you. And then watch out for the next webinars we're going to be developing in this series as well.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Agenda

  • Grants: What, Why, & Who
  • Differences between grant writing and academic writing
  • The grant writing process: How
    • Sample grant
  • Questions

Audio: So, with that, Brittany, I think I will hand it over to you.

Brittany: Thanks, Beth. Sorry it took me a second to unmute there. Yes, welcome, everybody, and thank you, Beth for that great introduction. I’m so excited to be talking about this topic with you all today. I am not considering myself an expert on grant proposals by any means, but I have written grants before, that was sort of in a past life before I worked at Walden, and I think that it's a really great way for you, as Walden students to sort of explore this idea of writing and social change that we've been exploring through this great series that we're doing here in the Walden webinar series. So, thank you all for attending today. I'm just going to go through our agenda for the webinar so that you all know what to expect. We're going to start by talking about sort of the what, why, and who of grants, giving you a little bit more definition for what grants are, who writes them, why people write them. Then we'll talk a little bit about the difference and similarities between grant writing and academic writing. Were really going to be focusing on the writing process for grants in this webinar. And that will be the next item on our agenda we'll talk about the how. And specifically, we're going to take a look at a sample grant that, an organization really wrote, and really was funded. So, we can kind of see how the organization might have gone about writing their grant and we'll look at those different stages in the process. And then I will try and leave quite a bit of time for questions at the end of the webinar. There's a lot of content to get through today, so there are -- we have Beth and Amber both answering questions behind the scenes. If do you have questions, while I’m presenting, please do type them into the question box and you will get a response. But I will leave time for Beth and Amber to bring up some of the questions that have been coming up again and again over the course of the webinar. At the end of the webinar, and I’ll answer those out loud as well. So, let's get started without any further ado.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What is a Grant?

  • Written proposal: “I’ll write a grant.”
  • Funds dispensed: “He received a grant.”
  • Request for Proposals (RFP): “She’s searching for grants for artists.”

Audio: Okay. So, I wanted to spend just a moment defining this term "grant." Because people use it in a lot of different ways. The first way we see it used pretty often is to refer to the written proposal. So, people say, I’m going to write a grant. I'll write a grant for this -- to get funding for this project. So that's one way that it's used. It can also refer to the funds dispensed, the actual money that you're given once you write the grant, then you receive the grant. So, it's the written proposal, it's the funds dispensed. And then it also can refer to what we call an RFP which stands for request for proposal, that just means what an organization, that gives grants, puts out into the world, saying hey, we want to give money away, apply, tell us what kind of project you want to do and we'll. Evaluate that project and see if it's worth funding. So, somebody might say they are searching for grants for artists, or for non-profits or something like that. So, you can kind of see that it has a lot of different definitions when people use the term in a lot of different ways. So just spelling that out a little bit more clearly can help us be a little less confused about what that word means.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why Write a Grant?

  • Get funding for organization, project, or research
  • Gain recognition/ awareness
  • Practice articulating problem and potential solutions

Audio: So, let's talk a little bit about why we would write a grant. Why people would write a grant. Of course, the most obvious reason is to get funding for an organization, for a specific project, or for research that you want to conduct. But there are a couple other reasons why it's worth writing a grant, even if you don't get funding after you're finished writing and submitting your grant proposal. One reason is to gain recognition or awareness for your organization, your project or your research. So even if you don't receive the funding, that organization, to whom you apply, they’re seeing your name, they’re reading through your description of your project, of your mission. And so, you're sort of putting yourself out there into the world and gaining some recognition, which is important. And then, also, it can be really helpful practice in articulating a problem and potential solution to that problem. So, this could be work that you might reuse, even in a dissertation or doctoral study. And we'll talk a little bit more about how you will

Articulate a social problem in a grant proposal in a moment.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Why write a grant?

What interests you about grant writing?

What brought you to this webinar?

Audio: So, we're going to take a second here at the beginning of the webinar, to let you all weigh in about why you might write a grant. So, I just want to hear from everybody who is attending, what interests you about grant writing or why you chose to attend this webinar. So, go ahead and type in the chat box here, Beth has changed the view so we can see a chat box. And I’ll be curious to see your responses. Okay. So, sally says grant writing for funding a research project. To pay for school expenses. Okay. Might need to for work. Right? To obtain funding for your doctoral research project. Thinking of starting a non-profit. New to the practice. Great! These are all great answers, and such a wide variety which is exactly what I want expecting, and that's just fantastic. Gain additional knowledge for career advancement. That's wonderful. Lots of people maybe work for non-profit organizations who are interested in this or starting a non-profit. More people who are looking for information about how they might fund their research projects. Fund an organization you just formed. Really cool, you guys. This is just fantastic. I’m so glad that so many of you are saying that you're interested in either starting a non-profit or writing a grant for a non-profit that you work for, or maybe that you founded. And those of you who say you want to fund your research, that's wonderful, too. I’m really glad that people are coming into this with ideas, because that's really going to help, as you'll see, it's going to help you kind of find a way to intersect with some of the funders and their missions as well. I’ll give you just a minute or so, more, to respond to what the last few people type in and then we'll move on. A little refresher. Some people are a little more familiar with the process of grant writing. Fantastic. All right. It looks like the response have tapered off a little bit. And since we have so much to get through, I will have us move on to the next screen, even though we have a couple more people typing. Thank you all for those great responses.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Who gives grants?            

  • Foundations             
    • Community/public
    • Corporate
    • Family
    • Independent
  • Government             
    • Local
    • State
    • Federal

Audio: All right. So, let's talk a little bit about who might fund these great projects that you guys are all excited about, writing grants for. There are a number of different types of groups that give grants, that give money away. There are foundations, and there are a number of different types of foundations. I'm not going to go into too much detail about these different types, that's not really what this webinar is about. But I did want to quickly touch on the fact that, they are all in different groups that are funded in different ways, and they all have a different mission. So, there are community and public foundation. There might be foundations that are part of a corporation that also have the mission to give money away to the community. Sometimes families, that have a lot of resources develop a family foundation to give money away to benefit their community. And then independent foundations as well. And then there are government grants. So, your local, state, and federal governments. Might also have grants that could match up with the specific project that you want to put into action.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: 

Grant makers wantto give their money away

… to the right recipient.

Audio: All right. So, I wanted to emphasize this, because I think sometimes it can seem like writing a grant is sort of like coercing money out of somebody, and that's really not what's going on. Grant makers, these foundations or governments, they want to give this money away. This is money that’s designated to be dispensed to different organizations and groups. However, they only want to give this money away to the right recipient. To the recipient that can prove that they have a vision that matches up with that funder's vision, and that they are reliable and have the resources to conduct the project successfully. Okay.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Grant Writing vs. Academic Writing

Audio: So, let's talk a little bit about grant writing versus academic writing. Since you all are more familiar with academic writing and since that's what we focus on primarily here at the Walden writing center we thought it would be helpful to compare the two processes a little bit. And I think I emphasized this earlier, but I do want to emphasize again, that this webinar is primarily about the writing process for grants. So, we're not going to focus on how to fund grants or how to put budgets together or anything like that, in this webinar. That's not really our area of expertise. We will cover, very briefly, some places where you can go to find that information, but what I really want you guys to get out of this webinar, is kind of once you are ready to put your ideas down on paper, kind of what to do first, what to do next, how to get that polished proposal, the same way you want to have a polished course paper or a polished dissertation or doctoral study.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Grant Proposals vs. Academic Writing

  • Similarities
    • Similarities
    • Articulate a (a social problem)
    • Propose a solution to the problem (vision)
    • Research-based
    • Follow a set format
  • Differences
    • Academic writing = your analysis + social problem + evidence
    • Grant proposal = your vision + grant maker’s vision

Audio: So, let's look at some of the similarities and differences between these two different types of writing. There are a couple of similarities that are really important. Especially here at Walden. We articulate a social problem in our writing at Walden, right? That's a big part of what it means to be a student at Walden, is to focus on social problems and how to fix them. So, your course work is probably focusing on this quite a bit. If you're at the doctoral study or dissertation stage, you're really focusing on honing a problem -- honing in on that problem and describing it really well and proposing research that could potentially hope to solve that problem. And that is the case with grant writing as well. You want to be able to articulate a social problem that you would then propose a non-profit, or a project that – or research, that could help to alleviate that problem. Both of these types of writing propose a solution to that problem. They have a vision for what the world could be like, if it did not have this social problem that you've identified. They’re both research-based, so it's important, in grant writing, as well as in academic writing, to site sources, to show that this problem is based in research, that it’s not just something that you -- observed when you were talking down the street, but that it's proven. And they also both follow a set format. So just like we use course paper templates, or dissertation or doctoral study templates, or you might use an assignment sheet that your instructor has given you to know how to structure your paper, grants also have a set format, depending on the grant maker and what they've asked for.

A couple of important difference, academic writing is kind of your analysis of the world, plus this social problem that you've identified, plus, evidence; so that kind of research-based component that I just talked about, and its really kind of about you and your view of the world combined with your research and the other voices of scholars. And the grant proposal is just a little bit different. Because it has to be your vision, plus the grant maker's decision. It's sort of an intersection of what you think is important to change in the world, and what the grant maker think’s is important to change in the world.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Your Vision – Grant Proposal – Grant Maker Vision

Audio: So, here's your vision, and here's the grant maker vision. And this sweet spot in the middle of these two circles is where you want your grant proposal to fall. Okay? So, we'll talk a little bit more about how to figure out what the grant maker vision is. And how to articulate your own visions so that you can allow those two things to intersect.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Grant Writing Process: How

Audio: All right. So, we're going to jump into the how of the grant writing process now.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Writing Process: Academic Writing

  • Read Critically
  • Brainstorm
  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Share Your Work
  • Write the Final Draft
  • Reflect and Polish

Audio: You may have seen this slide before. I actually borrowed this, basically, right out of the webinar that's about the writing process. The life cycle of a paper webinar which you can go and watch in the archive if you'd like or maybe you’ve attended that had before. This is the way that we articulate the writing process for academic writing here in the Walden writing center. It starts with reading critically, being a careful reader of scholarship and carefully taking notes, highlighting and marking up your work. It moves on to brainstorming your ideas based on what you’ve read. And then it moves to writing the rough draft. Then it moves to sharing your work. So, you want to make sure that you get feedback from others on your work. On your rough draft. Then it moves on to writing the final draft. So, incorporating that feedback. And finally, it moves on to reflecting and polishing, so going back appeared making sure you're really saying what you want to say, that you’ve incorporated all that feedback, that you don't have any grammatical errors or comma errors or anything like that. So now, trying to keep this cycle in your mind's eye. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Writing Process: Grant Writing

  • Articulate the Problem
  • Read and Mark up RFP
  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Share Your Work
  • Write the Final Draft
  • Reflect and Polish

Audio: And take a look at this one. So, this is actually the cycle for grant writing and you'll see that it looks rather similar. The main changes are the first two circles. So, the circle at the top here says, articulate the problem. And then the next circle is "read and markup the RFP" slide changes back to academic writing process slide so I’m going to go back to the academic slide. 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Writing Process: Academic Writing

  • Read Critically
  • Brainstorm
  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Share Your Work
  • Write the Final Draft
  • Reflect and Polish

Audio:We start with reading and then we brainstorm, right? So, we start with immersing ourselves in the scholarship and then we develop an idea.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Writing Process: Grant Writing

  • Articulate the Problem
  • Read and Mark up RFP
  • Write the Rough Draft
  • Share Your Work
  • Write the Final Draft
  • Reflect and Polish

Audio:The difference here, is that you really want to be able to articulate a problem that you see in the world first. And of course, you want that problem also to be backed up by research. And it’s a little bit less stringent in terms of having, you know, a number of sources or having sources be viewed, then if you were writing academic work. But you do want it based and researched. But before you can really write a grant proposal, you need to know what you think the problem is that you're noticing in the world, and that your organization, or you as an individual want to try to solve, either through research or through action through a project of some kind. And then, you will actually -- there's a little bit of a step that is missing here between these first two, which is finding those grants. And that's not here because it's not really part of the writing classes, it's part of the research process. But of course, you want to find an organization whose mission matches up with your mission, like we talked about earlier. And then, once you find an organization that's asking for submissions of proposals, then you read through that proposal request, and you mark it up. So, you kind of reverse the process of research and brainstorming there. And then after that, it's pretty much the same. You're going to write a rough draft. You want to share your work with others. You want to write a final draft and you want to reflect and polish. We're going to go through each of these steps in detail and look at a case study to show how you would do each of these steps for grants.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Getting Started

  • Your academic research
  • Your job
  • Your community
    • Articulate a social problem or research gap to yourself first
    • Then search for the grants that address the same problem or gap

Audio: So, this really articulates what I’ve already said, but the very important part here, is that you want to kind of take some the things that you are thinking about, either in your academic research, in your job outside of Walden, in your community where you live. And articulate that social problem or research gap to yourself first. So, I really want to emphasize that. It's important that you feel that there's a -- there's something that you want to do first. Don't say, oh, boy, it would be really nice to get a bunch of money from somebody, go look for whose giving money away and then pretend like you care about what that organization cares about. Right? That's kind of a backwards way to go about it. Instead you want to really notice the problem, be able to articulate the problem, and then search for the grants that address that same problem or gap.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Two Ways to Solve Social Problems

  • Data
    • Generating new data
    • Publishing to fill research gaps
  • Service
    • Helping a population or group
    • General operating (organization)
    • Project-based (organization or individual)

Audio: So, this is kind of on the side, but I thought it was important to emphasize, that there are really two ways to solve social problems. There's a way to solve social problems by generating data. That's mainly the thing that you're doing in your Walden course work, right? You're conducting studies, that are going to produce new data and that data can then, sort of enter into the scholarly conversation that can help address the social problem. So, publishing data, to fill research gaps, is a way to help solve social problems. And then there’s also service. And this is another thing that we emphasize as being important at Walden. This is the sort of practitioner side of the scholar practitioner role that we talk about at Walden. So, helping a population or -- with your action not just with data. And you can do that either by getting general operator funding for a specific organization, so there may be an organization that you work for or you founded even, that have a mission that serve a certain group of people. So, you might apply for a grant that just says, here's some money this organization can use to keep its doors open. Or you might apply for project-based funding. And that can be an organization or an individual, depending on the type of project. So, it could be that a specific organization wants to do an even more narrow project within their mission, and the funding just to fund that specific project.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Finding Grants

Audio: Okay. So, this is the slide that I promised. About finding grants. And like I said, I’m not going to go into detail here because this isn't my area of expertise. But I do want to point you to some resources that can help you look for grants that might have a vision that intersects with your vision. Some local resource, if you go to your local public library and talk to a librarian, usually those people are incredibly smart and know a lot about your community and know a lot about the resources that might be available. So, I really encourage you to check that out. 

Also know if you have a community college or a college or university in your town. You can go to that library and ask there. Librarians are wonderful resources for these types of things. You might also, just spend some time on google, and take a look and see if your state has a foundation council. Many states do. I know my state, Minnesota, has Minnesota council on foundations and they have many, many resources for people seeking grant funding. Your state government, very likely gives grants, of course, for a specific project. But you can check out the website for your state government and see what kind of grant opportunities might appear there. And then you can also check with locally-based companies. Big companies in particular usually have foundations that sort of help them give back to the community. I know here in Minnesota, we have, for instance, target, and general mills, they both have foundations that give money away to projects that benefit the community. And they accept grant proposals. 

And then the three links here, and you can click on these links now or you can go into the slides that you've downloaded later on and have these links for a resource. But the Walden resource center has a really great resource on finding resource grants. So, you can take a look at that. I’ve linked here to grants.gov. The federal granting -- you can take a look at grants that might be available through the federal government.

And then, I also wanted to point you to a wonderful website called grantspace.org, which is a run by the foundation center which is a really great non-profit, and they are all about free open-source resources for people wanting to learn about grant writing. They have a finding funders webinar that is archived. It’s also in adobe connect just like this one, so the format will look really familiar to you. And they go into much more into detail about how to find funders. Might look at that later tonight or some other time.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Letters of Inquiry

  • Some funders require a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) as a pre-proposal first step
  • Follow the writing process as well!
    • Articulate the Problem
    • Read and Mark up RFP
    • Write the Rough Draft
    • Share Your Work
    • Write the Final Draft
    • Reflect and Polish

Audio: All right. I wanted to quickly, also, mention that there is such a thing, as a letter of inquiry, and this is something that sometimes funders will ask for as kind of a pre-proposal. And I wanted to put this slide in here so if you ever saw this abbreviation, LOI, or you saw a grant maker asking for a letter of inquiry, that you knew what that was. If you were applying for a grant that asked for a letter for inquiry you can follow the same process we're going through in the webinar.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Case Study

•      Applicant: Southeast Community College in Lincoln, NE

•      Funder: Community Health Endowment of Lincoln

•      SourceGrantspace.org Sample Documents

Audio: All right. So, let's jump in now to a case study. I have actually taken this grant from that same site that I just mentioned, grantspace.org, they have a wonderful resource, a whole list of sample documents, they have sample letters of inquiry, sample grant proposals, sample budgets, all kinds of things, where organizations have actually submitted grants that they wrote that were funded. And you can go in and look at them. They are all free and open to the public, as examples of grants that were successful. So, it's a really, really great resource. And I recommend that you click on this link, either now or later on, and kind of explore. So, I just pulled one of their sample proposals off of their website, and the proposal applicant was the southeast community college of Lincoln, Nebraska and the funder, the person that gave them the grant was the community health endowment of Lincoln. Going to walk through that same cycle, the grant writing process, and take a look and see how the southeast community college might have followed that process, in order to have their proposal funded.

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Articulate the Problem

Like articulating a thesis statement or problem 

statement in Walden writing.

There is a shortage of trained medical interpreters in Lincoln, NE. Research shows trained medical interpreters (versus family member interpreters) can prevent disastrous miscommunication in the treatment and care of patients with limited English.

Audio: So, the very first thing, as you now know that you should do when you're writing a proposal, is to articulate the problem. This is much like articulating your thesis statement or your problem statement in your Walden writing. Just again make that tie back with academic writing which we're all getting more familiar with as we do our work at Walden. This is just like that but articulating a social problem that you want to research or do a project to help alleviate. So, this is actually just my summary, after I read their grant, of what their problem -- what the problem that they noticed was. So, they believed, that there was a shortage of trade medical interpreters in Lincoln, Nebraska. They said that research showed that trained medical interpreters versus family interpreters could prevent disastrous miscommunication in the treatment and care of patients with limited English. That's a pretty straight forward statement of a social problem. It's narrow, it’s limited to Lincoln, it’s limited to that specific community. It's based in research. It's concise. So, this is a strong statement of the social problem.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Read and Mark Up the RFP

Like taking notes when researching for coursework or doctoral writing.

Mark Up Practice

Click the image to the right and explore the website. 

Identify keywords you would pay attention to 

if you were writing a grant proposal for this organization.

Illustration of website for Markup exercise:

http://www.chelincoln.org/grant_program/current_priorities.html

Audio: The next step in that cycle, for grant writing, is to read and markup the RFP, which if you remember, is the request for proposal. So this is a lot like taking notes when you’re researching for your course work or doctoral writing, so a lot of the things you may be learned about critical reading, where you're highlighting things, you’re writing notes in the margins, you’re trying to pull out the  most important information from a piece of writing, that's exactly what you want to apply here, too, when you're taking a look at what you're being asked to do, by the funder. Okay. So, we're going to do a little bit of practice here, actually, and I think if you all click on the website, link there, you see the community of health endowment at Lincoln, picture on that slide, that picture is hyper linked, so if you click on it, it should take you out to that website. And because for this particular grant, it looked to me as though the grant proposal -- the kind of different prompts that the funder had provided, was the same as the RFP. I suggested that for this practice, we actually take a look at the funder website. And so, if you hop out and browse over the website a little bit there on their grant-making page, and identify some keywords that, if you were writing a grant proposal, to this organization, what you would pay attention to, what you would pull out, oh, these are some important words I should repeat and replicate in my study. Because this is clearly what this funding -- what this funder wants to -- wants to fund. Does that make sense? And then when you come up with some good keywords, you can type them here in the chat box. Okay got some great responses coming in so far. Nice job, you guys. You're really pulling out some of those important keywords. I like what Margaret said about actionable words, too. So, looking for verbs right, action words. What it is that the funder wants you to do?

[pause as student’s type]

Great responses so far, everyone. You see a lot of overlap here, which means you guys are pulling out some of the same keywords, and that's really great. So, we see education is a priority. Outreach. Integration.

[pause as student’s type]

Really nice job, you guys. I’m sure -- I see it -- the box says multiple attendees are typing, so I’m sure there are more people typing in here, but just in the interest of time, let's hop back out of this chat box. Really nice job finding those keywords, everyone. So, we looked at this website of the funder, and of course you can do that exact same thing, looking for those keywords. And a few people mentioned action words. Mentioned looking for action words. So that's going to really help, too, when you're looking at the actual proposal and the prompts that you're being given. See what that looks like in a minute. But looking for those verbs, those action words what is the funder asking you to do? Right? That are they -- what are they asking you -- how are they asking you to act? How are they expecting you to act? And then answering those prompts by telling – telling the funder how you will act. All right.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write the Rough Draft

Like responding to an assignment sheet or rubric.

  • Be Methodical: Respond to each question in each section of proposal form
  • Be Credible: Support claims with research from trustworthy sources
  • Be Objective: Avoid biased language or tone

Audio: So, our next step in that process, is to write the rough draft. And this is very much like responding to an assignment sheet or a rubric in your writing at Walden. And so, there are kind of three steps to remember in this drafting process. The first one is to be methodical, so you want to respond to each question in section of the proposal form. Just like you had an assignment from your instructor in a course at Walden, you would want to make sure that you were including information that responded to every single part of that assignment. Your instructor wouldn't be satisfied if you only responded to one part, even if your response was superb, right? So, you want to be methodical, about going through and making sure you covered all your bases there. The second thing you want to do is be credible. I’ve mentioned this before, it's really important in grant writing, as well as in academic writing, you support any claims that you make with research from trustworthy sources. Okay? And just as you sort of have had to learn the language of using scholarly sources, in academic writing through your time at Walden, the same thing will be true for writing grants. And we'll talk a little bit about, when we get to the feedback stage, about who you can ask about what kind of -- what kind of sources would be appropriate. But, I mean, certainly, any source that is scholarly, that would be appropriate for your work at Walden, would also be appropriate to back up, any claims that you're making in your grant proposal. And then finally, you have to be objective. So, we talk about this a lot in academic writing, that you don't want to be biased, even accidently, you don't want to -- you want to be really vigilant, that you aren't using language that -- that's alienating a particular group. And you don't want to use a tone that implies you might be writing with bias. So, you want to be just as aware of being objective when you're writing a grant. As you -- as you are when you're writing your course work and your capstones here at Walden.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Southeast Community College Example

In the chat box tell us one way this group was methodical, credible or objective.

Audio: So, we're going to do another chat here, and I’m actually going to show you an example of a rough draft of just one of the responses to one of the prompts in the actual grant proposal. So, this is actually, I made this up, based on the grant proposal. I pulled out what I thought this organization might have written as a rough draft. So, I just want to make that clear, that this isn't actually a rough draft that they've published or anything like that. It’s just a sample that I created to show us what a rough draft might look like on the journey towards the final draft that we can see from the website. So, let's jump out to the next layout. You have to use the scrolling bars on the bottom and right-hand side to be able to see the whole screen. Unfortunately, we couldn't get it so it was a size you can see the entire thing all at the same time all at the same time. Although I think you can kind of get it centered on the page and you should be able to see it pretty well and just scroll up and down with the scrolling bar on the right-hand side.

[Image of Grant Proposals: Sample Rough Draft shown on the screen]                                       

And if you don't -- if you haven't been using this already, you'll see, at the top of this pod, with the sample rough draft in it, there's actually a little spot that you can click on that will let it go full screen. If you haven't been doing that already, that's an easier way to make this bigger so you can read it a little bit more easily. So, take a look at this rough draft response to this first prompt in the grant proposal. And then take a look and, once you've done a little bit of reading, type in the chat box, ways that this response is methodical, credible, or objective. Okay. Those three components that we just talked about.

[Pause as student’s type]

Okay, some great first responses.

It's credible because they have statistics that are backing up claim. Credible, shows data that could populate the benefit. Yep statistics included they cited outside sources. Identified the number of people trained a lot of people are pointing to it's credible. That there’s data. That there’s statistics. If you think that it’s not credible, methodical or objective I’d love to hear why because that's certainly a valid response as well. Yep, it tells a story. That's an interesting response. I wonder, does that fit in methodical, credible or objective? I think it's important that the grant proposal tell a story. So that's a really great response Roberta. I guess that could probably be, partially be methodical, that they sort of thought through what they want to say, that is linear. Sandra doesn't like they say number in the thousands over a span of years. I agree Sandra, I think that it's a little bit vague. Yep, I mean, I think that's a valid point. That, that language could maybe be revised. Mm-hmm. Easy to follow and therefore it’s methodical, that's a great point. I’ll give you just a minute more to chat in here. Maybe could have used a little bit more specific number there rather than saying number in the thousands. Yeah, that's a good point. The sessions are older just because this grant was actually, written in 2007. So, they are using, I guess they are still using some sources that are maybe not as up to date as they could be. But, they’re a little bit more current for somebody in 2007 than they are for us in 2014. Julie, that's great. It stated how the users will benefit. That's really important. It's responding to -- it is part of the prompt that asks, who will be impacted. And how they will be impacted. Yeah, maybe not as much about measurement outcomes as they need. This is really great feedback, you guys. 

Really good critical feedback. Let's see. I think we'll -- we'll jump out of this chat now just because we are running out of time. And I want to get through a few more slides and give you guys time for questions at the end. All right.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Share Your Work

Like getting feedback from peers, instructor, or Writing Center. 

  • Grant maker liaison: Usually won’t read your work, but will answer questions
  • Informal readers: Coworkers, friends, family
  • Formal/paid readers: Professional grant writers

Audio: So, sharing your work is the next step in that stage, or in that cycle that we looked that up at the beginning of the webinar. And this is a lot like getting feedback from your peers, instructor or writing center on the work you write for Walden. So here are kind of three categories of people who might be able to help you if you're writing a grant proposal. First of all, oftentimes grant makers, so foundations or governments, agencies, will have a liaison that you can contact with questions about your grants. Now, they usually won't read through your work for you, but they will definitely answer your questions. And so, make sure to take advantage of that person if they do exist. They are there to help you. So, do your research and see if, whatever organization you're applying to, has a person in that position. 

Then, of course, you have your informal readers and you have these people for your course work as well. You have coworkers, you have friends and family. Who can read your work and give you, kind of, a lay person's response to it. Which can oftentimes be very helpful. Because it helps you kind of point out some holes that you might be filling in because you're really familiar with the context, but somebody who’s not as familiar with the content, might not understand. So, you can get those people to read through your work. 

And then, of course, there are also formal or paid readers. There are people who write grants for a living. Professional grant writers. And oftentimes those people advertise they have websites, you can google them, you can find people in your area who would be willing to read through your grant and give you feedback on it or help you write it for a fee. So just like you could hire an outside editor for your dissertation and pay that person, you can also pay somebody to help you write your grant.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Sample Feedback

Let’s take a look!

Audio: So real quick, because we're running out of time, I want to just take a look at how somebody might have given feedback to -- on this -- this rough draft that we just looked at. So, you guys all had really good read back. You would have been great readers for this organization. But you'll see here, I actually just created some sample comments that somebody might have made on these -- these first sentences that this organization might have written for their rough draft. And you'll see some of the feedback that I came up with, is like the feedback that you guys gave, when you were -- when you were critiquing the rough draft. So, we won't spend a lot of time here. I think if I understand the way connect works, when the recording is posted you'll be able to come back here and play around with it and look at it some more. I just wanted you to see, mainly how the organization might have responded then, in the next step to this feedback. Okay. So, because we're running short on time, we'll jump out and going to the next slide.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write the Final Draft

Like revising a course paper or capstone.

  • Carefully incorporate feedback
  • “Kill your darlings”: Be concise and straightforward

Audio: All right. So, our next step is to write the final draft. And this is very much like revising a course paper, or capstone. That process of taking that feedback that you got from the grant maker's liaison, from your informal readers or from your formal readers and incorporating it really carefully and methodically into your draft. And we talk about this a lot when we talk about academic writing but holds true for grant writing too. You want to give yourself plenty of time to work on this. This isn't something you're going to whip up in one evening after work. Give yourself weeks and weeks to work on it really, because especially, if it's your first one, because you're going to want to have that time to really be thoughtful about getting feedback and incorporating that feedback into your draft. 

And then, I wanted to emphasize this phrase, "kill your darlings." I don’t know if you guys have heard this before. This is kind of like classic writing advice. Especially creative writers, I feel like, talk about this a lot. But it's good for academic writing and grant writing, too, I think. Sometimes when you're writing your first draft, you get so in love with something that you wrote, and kind of ironically, sometimes that means, that that's the thing that you need to chuck. You might be so attached to it, that you might not see that it's really not necessary, or that it's a little overly flowery or wordy. Maybe that phrase, that we were being kind of critical about earlier about thousands of people being benefitting over a number of years. That maybe could have been a nice darling that somebody could have chucked out of there and maybe the proposal would have been a little bit stronger. So, don't be afraid to be ruthless. You want your grant proposal to be very finely honed. You just want to get to the point.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reflect and Polish

Like the final stages of writing a paper or capstone

  • Proofread carefully
  • Attention to detail matters
  • Double check requirements/attachments

Audio: And then the final stage, of course, is to reflect and polish. So just like the final stages of writing a paper, or a capstone, you're going to want to proofread really carefully. You're going to want to pay careful attention to detail. Sometimes reading your whole thing out loud can help because you catch things that your eye would skim over, but your voice picks it up. And then double check that you've met all the requirements, so again that methodical component. Make sure that you have everything in there that's supposed to be in there. You would hate to have done all this work and then have forgotten include -- to include one component and have them disqualify you.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Polishing

What techniques do you use to polish

your academic writing that could work

well for grant proposal writing too?

Audio:So real quick, let's talk about polishing. I want to hear what techniques you guys might use to polish your economic writing. And you can either say what you do for academic writing, just right now, or you could talk about, which techniques you think might work best for grant writing proposals as well. So, take a minute to type in the chat box here.

[pause as student’s type]

Okay, we've got some great responses coming? Professional editing service, lots of people saying they might hire an editor. I think that's a really great idea. There’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional whose business it is to know about this stuff. Just like you might hire a plumber to fix your leaky toilet. You hire an expert. Using Grammarly, you can use some of these resources you have available to you as a Walden student. Read it through at least twice. I think that's a really good rule of thumb. Not glance over it once and then submit it but carefully look at it at least a couple of times. I like this one about walking away. I think taking breaks and coming back is a huge, huge part of the kind of revising and polishing process. It’s kind of cool actually, your brain works on problems, subconsciously when you're doing other stuff, and you might find puzzling you, when you were sitting kind of pouring over your writing earlier, makes kind of sense, you may have an ah-ha moment later on, so taking breaks is really important. Lots and lots of really great feedback here. Have someone else read it out loud to you. That's a good idea. Then you can listen and hear what things might sound strange or might be things that you want to change. Great responses here, you guys. Just in the interest of time, I’m going to cut off our discussion. We're almost done, and I want to get through a couple more slides and then they've some times for questions. All right.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Funder Feedback

Positive:“The proposal was very readableand well written. We use fill-in-able forms, ensuring all applications follow the same format and graphic presentation, and in this case the writing stood out, as points were clearly statedand tied together well. The overall casemade for the project was strong. Local studies and national research were referencedto make a compelling argument, and the proposal strongly tied the project to our missionof improving health, especially among underserved populations” (Foundation Center, n.d.). 

To improve:“Within the narrative the proposal could have expanded upon expected barriers and how they would be overcome. The work plan also could have expanded on overall project objectives” (Foundation Center, n.d.). 

Audio: So, I wanted to include this, because I thought this was really cool that the foundation center grant space website included this on their website. They actually printed feedback from the funder, so this was somebody from that organization that published the RFP and gave the grant to the community college, giving feedback and saying, why they thought that the proposal was worthy of being funded. So, here's some positive feedback that they gave. The proposal is very readable and well written. We talked about keeping your language simple and straight forward. We used fill-in-able forms ensuring all applicants used the same format and graphic presentation and therefore the writing stood out. So that methodical part as well. The overall case for the project was strong. So that's that vision we talked about before. Sort of the articulating of the social problem. Local studies and national research were referenced. That’s the credible piece to make a compelling argument. And the proposal strongly tied the project to our mission. So again, those two things intersecting and grant proposal falling in the middle in the intersection. So, they also gave some critical feedback. And this, I think is helpful to note, that there might still be issues with the proposal, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it won't get funded. Okay. So, you want to work as hard as you can to articulate your problem and do everything exactly right. But if you have an error here or a funder finds something they don't think is perfect, that might not prevent you from getting funding. So here is what they thought could be improved in the narrative the proposal could have expanded upon expected barriers and how they would be overcome. So, the work plan also could have expanded on the work project objective all right.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Budgets & Timelines

Grant makers will require you to submit budgets and timelines

•  Organization operating budget

•  Project budget

•      Adds accountability

•      Avoids unexpected costs

•      Shows grant isn’t only funder

•  Timeline 

•      Shows you have a plan!

Audio: Real quick, I just wanted to mention, that usually when you write a grant, the grant maker will also require you to submit budges and timelines. So, you may need to submit an organization operating budget if you're submitting proposals through an organization. A project budget, if your submitting for a specific project so this adds accountability, it shows that you have thought through how this project is going to work, how much it will cost. It might show that you have other funders already agreeing to fund this project which might make this particular funder, more interested in funding your project. And the timeline shows that you have a plan. Of course, you want to be able to show that you thought about this ahead of time, and you understand how it's going to work after you receive the funds.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reporting/Accountability

  • Different from academic writing
  • Process doesn’t end w/ proposal or with the dispensing of funds
  • Funder will require reporting that project is on track, and a final report when project is complete
  • If project does not go as planned, funder will require explanation

Audio:Now, here's one way that grant writing is very different from academic writing. When academic is done, for the most part, now this is not always true, especially maybe for doctoral study or dissertation but for the most part, you turn in your paper, you get your grade on it, it's over. But with grant writing, the process doesn't end with the proposal or even with the dispensing of funds if you do get funded. The funder is going to ask you to report back about your project. They want to know that your project is on track, how you’ve spent their money, and you'll almost certainly need to submit a final report when the project is complete to tell the funder how you spent their money and what the outcome was. And if the project doesn't go as planned. The funder will require an explanation for that as well. That doesn't necessarily mean that they – there might be some really valid reasons why the project doesn’t go as planned, but the funder is going to want to know about it one way or the other.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: References 

Community Health Endowment of Lincoln. (2014). Grant program. Retrieved from                http://www.chelincoln.org/grant_program/current_priorities.html

Foundation Center. (n.d.) GrantSpace sample   documents. Retrieved from http://www.grantspace.org/Tools/Sample-Documents

Southeast Community College. (2007). Proposal from Southeast Community College to Community Health Endowment of Lincoln. Retrieved from           http://grantspace.org/Tools/Sample-Documents/Proposal-from-Southeast-Community-College-to-Community-Health-Endowment-of-Lincoln

Audio: Here are some references. You guys can take a look at that on your own later.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions

Now: Type into the Questions? Box

Anytime: writingsupport@waldenu.edu

Survey ·             Recording

Audio: And we have just a few minutes for questions. Beth and Amber, is there anything that had come up that would be helpful for me to address out loud? Or if there isn't, then attendees, feel free to type into the question box and I can answer your question allowed here.

Beth: To start us off Brittney, and I know you mentioned this, already, could you repeat, again, you had said -- there's usually a contact person for a funder that students could – so students, we've gotten a couple questions about, you know, what if they are not sure if someone requires a certain part of the proposal, or there’s someone students can ask for.

Brittany: Yeah. Nearly always, foundations or government agencies that-- that fund projects, will have somebody available, and usually that person is listed on their website. Or on their request for proposal. Who will hear those kinds of questions from potential grantees. So, take a look, whether they want you to submit something or what something is in a proposal, that's the person to call or e-mail. Some organizations even have an online chat, depending on, how big they are and robust their web presence is, they might have something like that. There’s almost always somebody that you can contact, who can answer your questions about your grant proposal.

Beth: In your experience I know this wouldn't maybe work for all funders, do some funders, at least probably the bigger ones, do they have maybe their own people that maybe students could use as well? Is that a possibility?

Brittany: I’ve seen that before.

It really depends on the type of funder. Some funding organizations are kind of closed off about that sort of thing. I think particularly because that's because oftentimes the organization that wrote the grant, doesn't want the grant to be made public. They may feel that that's proprietary information, that they want to keep to themselves. So again, if you're looking for something like that, you know, a sample that is, a sample of that particular organizations, you can contact that organization's RFP, you can contact that liaison and see if that's available. Not all organizations will have a sample of their specific organization available.

Beth: That’s helpful. One last question, when we were going through that website, one question that came up was whether you know, what if there are words or phrases there that you're not familiar with? What would you do in that situation?

Brittany: Oh, sure. That's a great question. So I guess -- I mean, this is sort of a general response, in general, if you don't know what it means, I usually look it up in a dictionary, now we have, you know, great online dictionaries, like Merriam Webster, so you can type it in there or google has a great feature, if you type "define" and then a colon, and then the word that you don't understand, it will pop up a definition for you. So, it's pretty slick. So, of course, you can do that and sort of look those things up that way. Another thing you might do, I mean, typically – so like if you were looking at that website that we used for the example or there were words or terms that were confusing to you, that may be because healthcare is not your field, and usually, again, because of that intersection that you're looking for between your vision or your work or your area of study, and the vision work and area of study of the funder, usually there will be more overlap there, that will probably mean that some of the jargon or terminology that the funder is using, is stuff that you're familiar with, too. I mean, if there's something that is confusing, that you don't understand, again, you can always go back to the funder and say, look, you wrote this confusing proposal. Can you clarify these terms for me so that I can write an educated proposal? Does that help?

Beth: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense Brittany. I know we're at the end of our time, so do you have any last thoughts before we end the webinar?

Brittany: Just thank you to everybody, so much. This is the first time that we've presented this webinar, and you guys have been a really, really great audience I appreciate your participation in all the different chat boxes and I hope that you have found the webinar helpful.

Beth: Wonderful. Thank you so much Brittany and thank you everyone. Feel free, as you said I said, I’ll be posting the recording of the webinar in our archive, hopefully tomorrow so feel free to access that and have a wonderful rest of your day. Thanks, everyone.