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How to Use Data to Get Grants

  1. Sponsored by: How to Use Data to Get Grants Mark Goldstein, CFRE October 9, 2013 Twitter Hashtag - #4Glearn Part Of:
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  4. Sponsored by: Today’s Speaker Mark Goldstein, CFRE CEO Communication Mark Assisting with chat questions: Jamie Maloney, 4Good Founding Director of Nonprofit Webinars and Host: Sam Frank, Synthesis Partnership Part Of:
  5. How to Use Data to Get Grants Mark Goldstein, CFRE Nonprofit Webinars October 9, 2013
  6. What, Precisely, Is “Data”? • “Factual information used as a basis for reasoning, discussion or calculation” —(Merriam-Webster) – Note to Grammar Police: Source also says that it is OK to use ‘data’ as an ‘abstract mass noun’ now, not just as the plural of datum). • Note that data is not just numbers. • Observe that data is factual by its very nature. Source: ETQ Blog:
  7. What Data Should I Gather? Most of the data your organization gathers for a proposal will be to show that (1) a great need exists (external to your organization) and (2) the strategy you propose to solve the problem is sound, fits with your mission and addresses the grantmaker’s priorities.
  8. Which Measurements Am I Taking? With grant proposals, you are usually gathering demographic information (statistical characteristics of a population) or other baseline data (to show past results, measure a current situation or calculate future results). The data is usually either required by the funder or desired to objectively demonstrate the need for funding.
  9. What Your Grant Proposal’s Data Should Provide to Grantmakers • Clear understanding of the problem that funds will address. • Strong impression that the problem is critical. • Firm belief that the problem really does exist. • Rationale that your organization and the grantmaker are the ones to work together to solve the problem. • Evidence that you grasp all key facets of the problem. • Details showing your organization is well equipped to implement a solution (not in “need statement” section). • Confidence that a measurable improvement will be achieved if the project is funded.
  10. Tell the Story of the Need/Problem Be an investigative journalist: Use data to answer the “Who, What, Why, Where, When, How” questions that any reader would ask. These questions will vary, but here are some common ones, along with examples of responses taken from actual needs statements.
  11. What is the problem and its root cause? Many new mothers with low incomes in Jefferson County, TN, lack the necessities to properly care for an infant upon leaving the hospital. According to the obstetric nursing staff at Jefferson County Hospital (JCH), more than 50% of JCH’s homeward-bound new mothers do not have adequate infant care supplies at home. During the past year, JCH nurses have contributed more than $500 of their own pay so that new mothers go home with the items that they and their babies need.
  12. Who is affected by the problem you will address? According to the American Community Survey (ACS) 2010 estimates 154,075 Veterans live in the 10-county area served by the proposed project (3-year sample). Since the 2010 VA Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) indicates that 1 out of every 150 Veterans are homeless, ABC Organization estimates that there are 1,027 homeless Veterans in the area. Mattie Shoreland, the coordinator of the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) program at the VA Medical Center in Lincolnbury, NC, reports that more Veterans services are needed in Cleveland, Lincoln, Gaston, and Catawba Counties.
  13. Where is this problem occurring? Poverty and negative health outcomes are widespread in Leland County. The Leland County Board of Education reports that 66.43% of students at the four elementary schools receive free or reduced lunch and 67.44% are on Medicaid. Due to growing drug problems and other negative influences by high school students, all 8th grade students will be moved from the high schools to the elementary schools. This will increase the need for medical supplies provided by DEF Organization and staff time for purchasing supplies and coordinating services.
  14. How does this problem present itself for various populations? Approximately 45% of HealthyTime patients are minorities, primarily African- American and Latino, compared to a combined presence in the county at less than 20%. According to the County’s 2003 Community Health Assessment, Ireland County death rates for minorities are higher than for Anglo- Americans for heart disease (1.2 X), stroke (1.5 X), breast cancer (1.9 X), pancreatic cancer (1.2 X), prostate cancer (4.7 X), diabetes (2.2 X), liver disease (2.0 X), septicemia (1.7 X), kidney disease (2.0 X), and HIV (11.3 X).
  15. When does this problem present itself, or are there time-sensitive issues? Jefferson Community Hospital estimates that its patients with low incomes miss 2,800 medical appointments and diagnostic tests annually due to a lack of transportation. Approximately 40% of the residents in JCH’s service area are Medicaid-eligible and over 80% of the hospital’s patients cannot pay for the care that they receive. Additionally, in the past two years, 40,000 people in the JCH service area lost health insurance when the State of Tennessee implemented dramatic budget cuts to TennCare, its public insurance program.
  16. Why does this problem exist? The Size and Need of the Local Elderly Population Is Growing Rapidly. The growth of the older adult population in Thompson County is the greatest challenge facing our hospice, as the needs of this primary hospice constituency has exacerbated all of the other challenges faced by Thompson Hospice. The combined total of patients served in the last four (4) years is greater than the total in our previous 20 years of operation. Patients Served
  17. Where To Get the Data The source of your data should be well-documented. A potential source is your organization’s internal files or databases. Your data should be gathered from established, objective authorities, such as a government agency, credentialed expert or established nonprofit entity. Some common data sources and aides: • Online sources (Census,, etc.) • Search Engines (Google, Bing, etc.) • Local experts (University, Health Dept.) • Non-local experts (Known experts) • Published studies • National associations • Other agencies • People affected by the problem
  18. Where in the Proposal Does Data Go? Anywhere it is needed, really. Most commonly in the needs statement, but here are some examples of how I’ve used data in other parts of the proposal. • Summary: Avoid going into great detail in the summary, but reinforce key data that drives home the extent of the problem. “McDawson County lacks safe, affordable housing, and substandard housing is common. There are only 225 Section 8 housing units available in the county; 100% are occupied and there is a waiting list of about 60 people.” • Introduction: Data citing organizational accomplishments: “Since our organization was founded in 2005, we’ve served 1,026 homeless individuals in Oak County, and 90% have succeeded in maintaining permanent housing after receiving services.” • Objectives: I don’t often present new data in this section, but I often use data on area needs and organizational accomplishments in order to create objectives that are realistic yet somewhat ambitious. “Based on past experience, these funds will enable MHC to perform repairs on 15 houses in 2012, serving 40 elderly people.”
  19. Where Should the Data Go? (Cont.) • Project Methods: This section can be a good place to use data to explain the rationale for your project methods. For instance, “We considered Approach A, but since Study X has found that this is an ineffective strategy in a rural area like ours, we decided to pursue the proposed Approach B.” • Budget: The budget narrative might explain line items using data. For example: “Our organization utilizes many volunteers. According to Independent Sector, which sets annual values for volunteer time, the value of a volunteer's time was $22.14 per hour in 2012. This figure is derived by taking the average hourly earnings of all production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls (as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and increasing it by 12 percent to estimate fringe benefits. We utilize this standard for figuring the value of volunteer time.”
  20. Presentation of Data • Informal citations are generally OK, unless full citations are specifically requested. My standard is to provide enough source information to enable the grantmaker to easily verify the facts (e.g., “State of Kentucky, Kentucky Health Facts, 2013”). • Only present data that is pertinent to your request (use local data, for instance) and that backs up your request. It is unethical to distort or mislead by using data out of context, but it is not necessary to cite information that does not support your cause. • Use graphics to make the case if that helps, especially when the data is potentially confusing or complex for the reader to follow. It doesn’t have to be fancy – a simple graph, image or table will often do the trick.
  21. Other Tips and Comments • Compiling good data takes time and often dictates the content of the rest of the proposal, since it defines the problem you will propose to solve. • Share the data with others after you draft your need statement. Ask them what impression they have from the data to listen to whether they get the sense that you want the grantmakers to get, and see if there are areas that they feel need further explanation or documentation. • Bold key need statements so that it is clear on what you think the problem is. • Many grantwriters skip too quickly to the solution and leave the reader lost and wondering what is being accomplished by the proposal. • You can use the data again and again in other proposals, requests to donors, press releases, on your web site, etc., etc.
  22. Thank You for Listening! Mark Goldstein, CFRE (828) 650-0902