Wednesday, June 20, 2007

#35: Speaking the Language of Grants

Kaylea Hascall at Educause Connect posted a piece recently on a grant writing course she attended. One of the things that caught her attention was the jargon. I try to avoid jargon so her list gave me pause.

How could anyone write a grant application without using most of these words? They're so integrated into RFPs and narratives that I assume everyone knows what they mean. And, of course, that's just what jargon is -- a word that has special meaning within a particular group.

So here, thanks to Kaylea, are some important terms that may be foreign to new grant writers.

"I noticed a number of terms came up again and again. Some of these are very familiar to the business world or the IT world, but they have a specific meaning in the context of dealing with funders.
capacity-building -- This is a particular category of grant, where the non-profit seeks funding which will expand their reach or make them more self-sustaining. One example of a capacity-building grant is obtaining funds for a development person who can raise money from other sources and move the organization toward being self-sustaining.

sustainability -- Once you get started, how will you continue this project or program? Will you be dependent on the funder for some time into the future? This is an important consideration for foundations in particular....

cost-sharing -- A popular term, if you can use it. Basically it means that someone else is putting up some of the money, and thus the foundation gets more bang for their buck.

dissemination -- How you will share the project with others. Will an article be published in the New York Times? Will you present results at conferences? Historically, this is of particular concern to agencies that fund basic research, but over time this is also more of a concern for foundations.

leverage -- Another popular term, if applicable. Will foundation money enable you to better use existing resources?

stewardship -- the process of taking care of a grant and its funder after the grant is made. Thank-you notes, progress reports, and invitations to view the results of the work are all appropriate. Getting a grant from a funder more than once is impossible without this.
Thanks, Kayla.

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