Webinar presenter Karen Ziegler answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Writing Winning Grant Proposals for a Regional Preventive Crime Gun Strategy. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Under an SAA and as a sub-recipient, what is the best way to request funding or find out funding is available?
Karen Ziegler: All State Administrating Agencies across the country should have a website. A lot of them have formal grant programs so go their website, look at when those grant announcements are open. Typically, they’re pretty standard during a particular time of year. Reach out to the designated program manager for that particular program for information about the program. They can provide more assistance outside the open solicitation period. They also can give you very specific ideas about how your project meet their requirements.
Audience Question: Our agency has a policy that requires items to be put under the equipment category. However, OCFO wants them listed under supplies. Do you have recommendations on how to deal with this difference?
Karen Ziegler: This does happen on occasion but keep in mind, you’re applying for a federal grant. You need to follow the requirement of the federal funder. Putting it in the application under supplies doesn’t mean that when you buy the equipment that you have to categorize it as supplies on your accounting system. You can record that as an asset in your accounting system and report it as supplies on the federal report. Just make sure you clearly document the transaction.
Audience Question: If we are submitting for a gun crime-related grant, is Ultra able to assist in the grant submission process or probably the grant proposal process is my guess?
Karen Ziegler: Yes definitely. I contract with Ultra Forensic Technologies to provide support to agencies that are looking to buy NIBIN equipment. You can contact Jim Needles or Brandon Huntley for assistance with a proposal. They will contact me and connect us.
Audience Question: On that previous question, the one related to the equipment category and stuff. The issue can become an indirect cost calculation problem though. I don’t know if you have additional comments on that or if you could shed more light on that equipment categorization.
Karen Ziegler: It depends on how the indirect cost proposal is developed. If it is a direct cost of the project then it shouldn’t be part of the indirect cost calculation. But there’s a variety of different ways that agencies put those proposals together and sometimes they will reduce the total cost by the equipment and I think maybe that’s what she’s referring to. Again, I think what you need to do is to work with your finance people and there could be a way to adjust your indirect cost proposals to account for that and again you need to file those in accordance with the federal requirement and in my experience they’re pretty strict about that equipment reporting category.
Audience Question: What are the most common reasons why grants aren’t awarded?
Karen Ziegler: I think the first one is there’s more request than there’s money available and sometimes it’s just the competition that you face in that particular cycle. You may have a great proposal but there were just several other great proposals and they needed to prioritize what they were going to fund. That’s why I suggested that if you don’t get the award, you reach out to that agency and ask for the comments and feedback. Another reason is that you did not identify the problem or the project sufficiently, or you did not identify how you were going to solve that problem.
Audience Question: Are you aware of any grant proposal writing software or templates that we might be able to use?
Karen Ziegler: I’m not aware of a grant writing software but there are several templates that are out there. What I usually do on the grants that I work on with the different agencies, is take the solicitation and as you saw in the table of contents, I pull out those sections and then write in some key elements that need to be included in that section. The solicitations are pretty good guides on how to develop that proposal and I suggest you actually use those headings in your proposal.
Audience Question: What is meant by the term cooperative agreement in a grant?
Karen Ziegler: We talked about different types of grant and the federal government will award a basic grant that has very little oversight from federal agencies, you still have the reporting requirements but you’re responsible for putting that project together and how you’re going to execute the grant for your project. A cooperative agreement is very different. It is a partnership with the federal agency. The federal government will work with you to develop the project. They will have a lot more oversight. For example, if you were going to make sub-awards, the federal agency may require you get those sub-awards approved first. Also, in the your evaluation process, the federal agency may work directly with you on developing the evaluation criteria for the project.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Writing Winning Grant Proposals for a Regional Preventive Crime Gun Strategy.