Grants/Communications - SMILE Community Action Agency
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Grants/Communications

RUTH FOOTE, DIRECTOR

rfoote@smilecaa.org
Ph: (337) 234-3272, Ext. 210
 
The Department of Grants/Communications is responsible for developing and coordinating grants for Agency programs and activities, as well as providing communications, including public relations. The Department is also responsible for the Agency’s Community Assessment, Annual Report, Focus Newsletter and Social Media. The Director also supervises the Quality Control section, which conducts in-house monitoring of programs, and also provides assistance on grants/communications.
 
The Director of Grants/Communications is supervised by the Chief Executive Officer.
 
Most of the Agency funding is from local, state and federal sources. Over the years, competitive grants have enabled SMILE to provide numerous services, from transportation to emergency assistance to housing counseling to youth mentoring.
 

Trends

 
Funding has become more and more competitive, and also, funding dollars have become more limited and restricted.
As dollars shrink, more funding opportunities, particularly from governments, are cost-reimbursement. This means that the organizations must first provide the services, and then request reimbursement for the services rendered. This creates hardships for non-profits which do not have discretionary funds available.
 
Another trend is that funding sources also require more in matching funds. This means the Agency must put up the required match (in-kind or cash) to receive funding. Cash matches, particularly those that are dollar-for-dollar, prevent some organizations from seeking certain funding because they cannot afford to apply. That’s why it is so important for SMILE to have discretionary monies available as match monies in order to leverage its resources. If you are interested in supporting the organization and its quest to help disadvantaged individuals and families to become more economically secured, please consider a donation.
 

Grant Application Tips

 

For individuals and organizations interested in obtaining grants, it’s advisable for them to take advantage of grants work-shops, which are sometimes even offered free in their communities. Also, utilize the internet and the library for assistance in developing and writing grants. Moreover, search the internet and the library to locate grants and funding, which coincide with your organization’s needs.
 
Always read a grant proposal carefully not only to ensure that you qualify to apply, but also to understand all the directions and be confident that you can fulfill all the requirements if you are awarded the grant. Give yourself enough time to complete the grant so that you can meet its deadline. Also, be very careful that you are not confused by the deadline; make sure you know whether the grant must be “postmarked” or “received” by the deadline “date”. Also, note the time that the grant must be received whether it is sent through the mail or submitted online. If it is a federal grant, the deadline “time” is usually noted as EDT or EST.
 
Most grants are composed of the following categories: Need/Impact, Capacity, Program Design, Budget and Evaluation.
The Need/Impact means that you justify the need for the project (whatever you are proposing) with statistics, including demographics, and an assessment of your community.
 
Capacity simply means your organization has the “capacity” to implement the grant. Here is where you portray your experience, as well as your ability to partner with other community organizations or groups to fulfill the grants. Not only do you want to highlight your experience as an organization, but you also want to highlight your experience in being able to implement such a project. It is also important to show that you have financial stability and an accounting system in place.
 
Project Design is where you explains the goals and objectives that will be achieved during the grant. It also explains exactly how you will carry out the grant, including the steps you will take, and the staff you will involve. It is also a good idea to include a timeline.
 
Budget is how much you estimate it will cost to carry out your program. Don’t underestimate or overestimate. However, do provide for a little cushion. For instance, do not calculate a salary at simple entry level. Provide enough cushion so that you can truly have qualified persons to perform the job. Utilize the prevailing wage salaries for similar positions as your justification. Remember, you must be able to justify each expense. Each expense must also be an allowable expense, according to the grant guidelines. For instance, some grants may not allow you to purchase equipment, but you are allowed to lease it.
 
Evaluation means you will implement a mechanism that can measure your program’s success on achieving its goals and objectives.
 
These are simply tips on writing grants. For more detailed guidelines, search the internet, the library and bookstores. 
Another Tip: Don’t ever let rejection prevent you from reapplying to a funding source during the next round of applications. Don’t ever become discouraged.
 
Good luck!

Smile Community Action