Monday, December 19, 2011

Passing the Ball: Grant Writing Suggestions for Youth Rugby Programs

From a good friend:

Some places to obtain funding are community and personal foundations,
government grants and educational resources. Some places will agree to
a portion of the asked amount, as long as it is matched by other
funders. It's important to a lot of places to know where your previous
money came from so they feel a sense of security with their
investment. Some places take open proposals, some want an application
first, or a letter of intent, and then we would get an invitation for
a proposal. It all depends.

It's better to apply to fewer, well-suited grants rather than to do a
bunch of them and hope one sticks. The whole process takes a couple to
a few months to finish, but it might take up to a year to get a check
cut. What I start off doing is researching both the organization and
potential funding sources thoroughly, see how we fit, build a
relationship with their representatives, and find out how we can
present ourselves as the best match for their resources.

There's a couple of angles the Warthogs can take to be competitive. 1)
You're helping youth in 2 ways- health promotion and education
promotion. Healthy People 2020 is the list of objectives that the
Department of Health and Human Services sets as their top priorities.
This list has a lot to do with where government funds are directed.
Healthy People itself doesn't provide a lot of grants, but we can use
their objectives as compelling rationale when applying to funds.

"Adolescent Health" (AH-2) happens to be one of their new objectives!
Some areas they are targeting are Environmental Factors, namely
Deliquency Prevention Programs, programs that prevent chronic diseases
(i.e. cardiovascular) and ones that deal with racial and ethnic

From a health standpoint, your team is addressing all of those
factors. I'm not sure what the educational benefits are; clearly you
are striving to encourage these young men to attend college. So that
opens up an entirely other branch of potential sources.
I think by coming up with some concrete statistics or qualitative case
studies (which you have on your website), we can use this data as more
compelling evidence to obtain funding. For example, we can figure out
what the percentage of Warthogs finish high school and attend college
versus the rates for the rest of the community, or how many hours of
activity the young men are getting versus their peers.

The other thing that makes an organization competitive is how it
intends to use the funds. "Modeling" is a big buzzword, meaning we're
setting an example/precedent  for other similar organizations to
follow. From the little I've seen from TRY, other upcoming leagues
might embrace new direction. Funders also want to see that we're using
the funds to enhance the future of the program and keeping it
sustainable- as opposed to fulfilling one time operational expenses.
Maybe we can put a few heads together to brainstorm about ways of
doing this. Not sure what the laws are about investing grant funds to
receive income from dividends- if you know anyone who is smart with
finance we could talk to them.

One idea is that because it is a long, tedious process to obtain
501(3)c status, many non-profit organizations will use their
established status to be a fiscal sponsor.
This is a formal arrangement where the non-profit takes responsibility
for recieving and accounting the funds for a smaller group w/out
501(3)c status in exchange for a cut/percentage of the amount. It's a
good way to get consistent income.

2) You're helping out an at-risk, low-income population. I'll have to
see exactly what the charts for these grants say, but there's certain
pre-determined locations known to be at risk that funds are set aside
for. Same for ethnicity, I think there's funds if a percentage of the
population has a certain cultural background.

This probably sounds pretty objective and dry, but I thought it would
be helpful to have something for you to reference so you know where
I'm starting from and can share it. I think what you're doing for the
kids in your community is awesome and I'd like to hear your story.
What I lack in experience I hope I make up for in moxie. I think if we
get creative we'll find we have a lot of untapped resources, clearly
you have support. I'm a firm believer that if people are working for a
greater goal, the means make themselves available.

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