1. Identify an appropriate grant funding source.
2. Check the deadline for submission. It is advisable to allow 6-8 weeks for preparation of a grant proposal.
3. Make an appointment to discuss the grant proposal with the Dean of your college or immediate supervisor.
Be prepared to talk about how the grant is consistent with the university’s strategic plan, as well as the unit’s goals.
Provide the Dean or supervisor with an overview of your ideas, as well as a copy of the grant guidelines or RFP.
Allow adequate time for the Dean or supervisor to thoroughly review the guidelines and provide input.
4. Notify the University Advancement Office of your intent to pursue the grant. To avoid conflicting submissions, the Advancement Office will act as the clearing agent for grants.
The Advancement Office maintains a database of all the grants written and submitted by faculty and staff members, as well as a record of grants that are funded or denied.
They can provide helpful information about grantors (e.g. Do we have alumni or friends who serve on the Board of Directors?) and their funding patterns (e.g. What kind of initiatives does this granting agency tend to fund? Has UM ever received funding from this organization? How many grants have been submitted to this grantor in the last five years?).
They can also provide the basic institutional information that you are required to include in most requests for proposals (rfps), such as institutional history, mission, etc.
5. Prepare to write the grant.
All proposed activities, timelines, personnel, assessments, and budgets must be approved by the Dean; therefore, it is advisable during the writing process to regularly provide the Dean with drafts of the proposal.
If necessary, solicit letters of support and gather other supporting documentation during this time.
If necessary, make an appointment with the Director of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment (IRPA) who can provide guidance related to the assessment components of your grant.
It is a good idea to make an appointment with the Vice President for Business Affairs (or designee) to discuss the grant budget. (In the case of state or federally funded grants, it is necessary to schedule a meeting with the VPBA for review of the grant budget and financial guidelines, as well as to learn about in-kind contribution amounts, matching funds, tax status forms, restrictions, etc.)
Provide the VPBA with a copy of the grant guidelines, budget guidelines, or RFP prior to your meeting date and be prepared to describe the grant proposal when you meet.
Allow adequate time for the VPBA to thoroughly review the proposal and provide necessary budgetary guidance.
6. Write the grant.
7. Submit the completed grant to the Dean or immediate supervisor who will route the proposal to the VPBA for final approval and signatures.
8. Make copies of the grant before electronic submission or mailing.
9. Copies should be provided to the Dean’s Office, the Academic Affairs Office, the Advancement Office, and the Business Affairs Office.
10. Once award or rejection letters are received from grantors, provide copies of the feedback materials to the Dean’s Office, the Academic Affairs Office, the Advancement Office, and the Business Affairs Office.
Statement from Dr. Roberson and the President’s Staff (July 2009):
Any grant related to a unit or budget in a dean’s college is her/his responsibility, making the dean the “go to” person for the VPAA and others on the President’s staff regarding questions, etc. Deans have the authority to oversee the grant, including approval of all activities, budgets, etc. associated with the grant from the writing to the funding to the reporting. The nature and extent of oversight is a decision is left up to the Dean as it involves designating others with particular responsibilities.
Assessment and Reporting
Most grants require a mid-cycle, year-end, or final assessment report that includes an accurate record of expenditures and progress-to-date toward the achievement of the goals of the grant. Granting agencies want to know if their money was well spent! A polished and professional assessment report can make the difference in whether or not an institution, a college, or an individual receives future funding.
Preparation of assessment reports is the responsibility of the grant director/manager. However, a draft of all reports should be provided to the dean before submission. Be sure to allow adequate time for the dean to review the draft and provide input. Copies of all reports should be provided to the Dean’s Office, the Advancement Office, the Academic Affairs Office, and the Business Affairs Office.
Making Changes to a Grant
If substantive changes are made to grant activities or budgets, these should be discussed with the dean ahead of time. Budgetary changes also require consultation with and the approval of the VPBA, as well as approval from the granting agency. Copies of requests for changes should be provided to the Dean’s Office, the Advancement Office, the Academic Affairs Office, and the Business Affairs Office.