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 PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT A BID IF YOU DO NOT HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH GRADUATE-LEVEL WRITING. MUST FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS MUST BE FOLLOWED, AND NO PLAGIARISM. USE THE SOURCES INCLUDED.   

Week 4 – Discussion 1

Topic: Kids in Distress

Organization Background

Step 9 in the text provides an overview of the organizational background component. In 200-300 words, write up a background on the organization you have selected for your project, addressing some of the following components (addressed on page 88 of the text):

a. A brief description of the organization and its mission and vision, as well as a description of how it came to be (its history).

b. The demographics of the community your organization serves, followed by the ways in which both the board members and the staff reflect those demographics. This information is growing steadily in importance to funders, as they want to make sure that the nonprofit is in the best position to truly understand and connect with the community it strives to serve.

c. A description of the organization’s position and role in the community. Who are the organization’s collaborating partners in the community?

d. A discussion of the ways the organization is unique in comparison to others providing similar services.

Week 4 – Discussion 2

The Grant Writing Process

Search the Internet and/or the online library for articles on the “how-to’s” of writing grants. Summarize the article you select in 150-200 words. What key points should a grant writer keep in mind in order to successfully persuade potential funders with a well-formulated grant proposal?

Week 4 – Assignment

Evaluation Planning

Download Worksheet 6.1: Evaluation Planning Questionnaire. Once you have opened Worksheet 6.1, select “save as,” and save it to your own computer as a Word document. Answer each question on the questionnaire by typing your responses directly into the worksheet, and upload the completed worksheet as part of your written assignment.

Note: You will use this paper and completed questionnaire to craft the evaluation component that will be included in your grant proposal/final project due in Week Six (a Sample Evaluation Component is included on page 56 of the text).

Resources

Required Text

O’Neal-McElrath, T. (2013). 

Winning grants step by step: The complete workbook for planning, developing and writing successful proposals (Links to an external site.)


 (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN: ISBN: 978-1-118-37834-2

· Step 6: Preparing the Evaluation Component

· Step 9: Writing the Organization Background Component

·

Worksheets



.

Kids In Distress

http://www.kidinc.org/

WORKSHEET 6.1A: Evaluation Planning Questionnaire

Use the filled-out Worksheet 6.1B in the book as an example to follow as you complete this questionnaire.

1. What questions will your organization’s evaluation activities seek to answer?

2. What are the specific evaluation plans and time frames?

a. What kinds of data will be collected?

b. At what points?

c. Using what strategies or instruments?

d. Using what comparison group or baseline, if any?

WORKSHEET 6.1A: Evaluation Planning Questionnaire (Continued)

3. If you intend to study a sample of participants, how will this sample be constructed?

4. What procedures will you use to determine whether the program was implemented as planned?

5. Who will conduct the evaluation?

6. Who will receive the results?

7. How are you defining success for this program or project?

(Continued)

Winning Grants Step by Step, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

85

Step 9
Writing the Organization
Background Component

IN ADDITION TO THE PLANNING SECTIONS of the proposal, grantseekers
need to develop an organization background component. This step provides
an overview of the purpose of an organization background statement and
of what it should contain to best establish a nonprofi t’s credibility. Using
examples and a worksheet, grantseekers will learn how to present their
organization’s strengths to funders.

Purpose of the Organization Background Statement

What are the mission, values, and other distinguishing characteristics of the
organization? And what is it about this particular organization that enables
it to successfully execute on what it promises to deliver? The organization
background component answers these two questions and more. This is the
section of the proposal that highlights all the positive qualities of the orga-
nization, which means this section can get rather lengthy if restraint is not
employed. Try to limit this component to no more than three pages. A good
organization background statement describes the nonprofi t well enough to
assure prospective funders that this nonprofi t can successfully undertake
the proposed program.

Funders may refer to this section as the “Introduction” or the “Applicant
Description,” but the same basic information is expected regardless of its
name. This section of the proposal should allow the reviewer to get a strong
impression that the organization

• Meets an unmet need or fi lls an essential role in the community

• Is fi scally secure

• Is well managed

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
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Winning Grants Step by Step86

• Provides important community services

• Understands the community it serves

• Refl ects that community in its board and staff

• Has the respect of the community

Content of the Organization Background Component

Organizations should include the following:

• A description of the organization and its mission and vision, and how
it came to be—its history.

• The demographics of the community served by the organization,
followed by the ways in which both the board members and the staff
refl ect those demographics. This information is growing steadily in
importance to funders, as they want to ensure that the nonprofi t is in
the best position to truly understand and connect with the community
it seeks to serve.

• A description of the organization’s position and role in the com-
munity. Who are the organization’s collaborating partners in the
community?

• A discussion of the ways the organization is unique in comparison to
others providing similar services.

• Descriptions of innovative programs or special services the
organization has provided. Has it received any awards or special
recognition?

• A very brief history of funding by other sources.

The primary goal in crafting this section of the proposal is to establish cred-
ibility with potential funders. Organizations need to use sound judgment
as to what is appropriate given the specifi c proposal—and the funder. The
guiding question should be, “What is the key information that this funder
needs about the organization and its qualifi cations to solidify the case for sup-
port?” Similarly, when requesting funding for a highly technical project that
makes use of new ways to engage clients via the Internet, information about
the organization’s past experience in web-based communications, as well
as the qualifi cations of specifi c staff members who would be responsible for
the project, would be critical to reinforcing the nonprofi t’s capacity to under-
take the proposed project successfully. If proposing a collaborative project,
thought should be given to using examples of other collaborative projects in
which the organization participated as well as the successful outcomes derived
from those collaborations.

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:47:11.

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Step 9—Writing the Organization Background Component 87

Testimonials and statistics relating to the work of the nonprofi t may be
incorporated, although they should be kept at a minimum. The organization
background component should be primarily an informative and interesting
narrative describing the qualifi cations of the organization. Understand that
the funder would probably prefer a summary of the highlights in the non-
profi t’s history that relate to the project needing funding. In this instance,
don’t be afraid to use bullet points to highlight items in what would other-
wise become very dense narrative.

Don’t eat up valuable proposal space with information on the organiza-
tion’s structure or specifi c details about board members and staff unless such
detail is requested. Supporting documents, such as an organization chart
and résumés of key staff, can provide this information and add credibility
to the proposal, and it should be provided in the proposal’s appendixes (see
Step Eleven). However, some funders specify what appendixes they will,
and will not, accept—so incorporating this information into the background
statement might be warranted. Should this be the case, keep it brief. Sum-
marize how many staff and board members the organization has and also
the number of active volunteers engaged with it.

If the organization is too new to have any accomplishments, try focusing
on the qualifi cations of the staff and board to provide some sense of credibility
for the start-up endeavor. As a start-up, it will be critical to clearly state the
unmet needs or unique problem the organization is being created to meet.

Tips for Writing the Organization Background Component

Background Statement

Start with when and why the organization was founded. Its mission state-
ment should be front and center in the fi rst or second paragraph. From there,
move away from the philosophy of the organization and begin explaining
what it does.

This is one of the few sections of a proposal that can be created as a
standard component and used repeatedly. Grantseekers will be required
to make small edits to tailor the background statement for specifi c funders
on occasion or to highlight items of special interest to a particular funder.
Otherwise, this section is fairly standard for most proposals.

Read the following Sample Organization Background Component.
Then, using Worksheet 9.1, gather the information for this section of your
organization’s proposal. Next, write the narrative, using the Sample Orga-
nization Background Component as a guide. Finally, review the work using
the Organization Background Review Questions. Organizations should be
able to answer “yes” to each question.

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:47:11.

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Winning Grants Step by Step88

Sample Organization Background Component
Swim 4 Life was established as a 501(c)3 organization in 2008 by 2000 Olympic swimming hopeful
Jane Swimmer, who emerged as one of the brightest female swim stars in the United States at the 2000
Games. The mission of Swim 4 Life is to empower youth in underserved communities, through high-
quality programs, to utilize the discipline of swimming to improve physical fi tness, nurture self-esteem,
and acquire the confi dence to advance their lives.

Jane was an eleven-time U.S. National Champion and two-time USA Swimmer of the Year. In 2005,
she started for-profi t swim schools at various community centers in two other counties in Any State.
Inspired by the results achieved at her for-profi t schools, Ms. Swimmer began to explore the idea
of bringing a high-quality program to youth in underserved communities that would off er the
same standard of excellence found in the best private club programs, such as her own. However,
she continued to focus on the for-profi t schools until January 2007, when she conducted a pilot water
safety program at the West Hanover Swim School with fi fty middle and high school students who were
bussed in from ABC Youth (ABCY), a nonprofi t organization that provides enrichment programs in the
Gathentown School District. The results clearly demonstrated that the program could be replicated
eff ectively in a nonprofi t setting.

Because the school lacked the capacity to accommodate growth of Swim 4 Life programs, and
considering the cost of recruiting and transporting youth across the city to the selected site, it was
determined that the optimal pools to use for program sites would be those located in the communities
where the target population lived. The fi rst site chosen was Arthur Schomburg Middle School in South
Spring, where a pool that had been out of service for fi fteen years was about to re-open. In 2008, a
second site was added at the Rockmore Education Complex, a high school near downtown Abbington.
The Adapted Learn-to-Swim program began at the high school in summer 2008 to meet the needs of
students with disabilities.

As of 2006, the Gathentown Unifi ed School District must comply with a statewide mandate to
include aquatics programs in all high school physical education curricula for 9th and 10th grade
students. However, because of poor staff training and long-term cutbacks in funding for physical
education, the district was ill-prepared to teach students to swim despite its large investment in
building nine new high schools with competition-size pools.

Too often, youth in the communities our program targets lack the opportunities, guidance, and/
or family support equal to that of their surrounding counties to provide them the foundation to help
guide them in the right direction. By providing these kids with valuable access to swimming via the
Swim 4 Life program, we endeavor to empower these kids to learn the values of self-discipline, decision
making, hard work, and dedication that have a real chance of forever changing their lives. The aim is to
inspire children to explore their potential through swimming and give all children the same opportunity
to enjoy the sport.

The organization uses swimming to reach out to children who are at risk of failure in school, gang
affi liation, unhealthy lifestyles, including childhood obesity, and other physically, mentally, and
emotionally unhealthy outcomes. More than 450 youth have participated in its short history, and
85 percent of those in the non-adapted classes have passed a water safety survival test. Programs are
delivered by two full-time and seven part-time employees, with a seven-member board of directors
providing oversight and governance.

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:47:11.

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Step 9—Writing the Organization Background Component 89

WORKSHEET 9.1:

Organization Background Exercise

[Organization Name] Accomplishments Personnel

Location

Legal status

Date of founding

Mission

Target population

Programs

Partnerships

How unique

Special recognition

Summary of need statement

Financial

Board and staff

Winning Grants Step by Step, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.

On the
Web

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:47:11.

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Winning Grants Step by Step90

Organization Background Review Questions

1. Does the organization background section give the nonprofi t cred-
ibility by stating its history, specifi c qualifi cations, purpose, programs,
target population, total number of people served, and major accom-
plishments?

2. Does the background suggest sources of community support for the
proposed program?

3. Does this section highlight any awards received? This can include
winning government funding through a competitive process.

Now it’s time to pull the entire proposal together with the proposal
summary, which is Step Ten.

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:47:11.

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55

Step 6
Preparing the Evaluation
Component

EVERYTHING COMPLETED UP TO THIS POINT in the development of the
organization’s proposal (problem statement, goals, objectives, and methods)
naturally leads to this component, as evaluation answers critical questions
that both the organization and the funder have, such as

• Was the program successful?

• Did it do what it was designed to do?

• What impact did the program have on the community or target
population?

• What did the organization learn from this experience that can be
leveraged?

• What didn’t work—and why or why not?

• What’s different in the community or the lives of those targeted as a
result of the program?

Just as the preparation of the goals, objectives, and methods required
clarity, focus, and strategy, it is now more important than ever to plan how
the organization will evaluate what it proposes to do. This step explores
learning how to write an authentic and effective evaluation plan so that the
organization can effectively demonstrate the success of its program and mea-
sure program impact—and also capture the lessons learned. An exercise will
help grantseekers think about what their evaluation plans should contain.

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:46:00.

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56 Winning Grants Step by Step

Purpose of the Evaluation Component

Evaluation is a process that determines the impact, effectiveness, and effi ciency
of a program. It reveals what worked and—equally important—what did not.
Decisions made during this process can help the organization plan for the
program’s future, and the process can produce an organized and objective
report documenting the return on investment for funders and the realized
benefi ts to the community the organization serves. How a program will be
evaluated must be determined prior to implementation so that the organiza-
tion can build evaluation measurements into the fi nal program plan—before
the program or its expansion is launched. Always keep in mind that funders
expect to hear from organizations how they defi ne and measure the success
of a program, whether they explicitly request an evaluation or not.

Specifi c Virtues of Evaluation

First, a good evaluation component strengthens the proposal from the
funder’s perspective. Grantseekers are asking potential grantmakers to invest
in their organization and program—and they are asking the funding staff to
be their advocate. They want the funder to bet on the fact that the world as
the nonprofi t sees it will be improved in some specifi c way as a result of the
proposed program. Essentially, proposed programs serve to test a hypoth-
esis: “If we do this, then that will happen.” A solid evaluation component

Defi nitions
Impact. “The fundamental intended or unintended long-term change occurring in organizations, com-
munities, or systems as a result of program activities.”

Leverage. “A method of grantmaking practiced by some foundations. Leverage occurs when a small
amount of money is given with the express purpose of attracting funding from other sources or of
providing the organization with the tools it needs to raise other kinds of funds. Leverage may also be
defi ned as building momentum from one eff ort to the next.”

Defi nition
Return on Investment (ROI). “The amount of benefi t (return) based on the amount of resources (funds)
used to produce it.”

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
Created from ashford-ebooks on 2022-03-21 10:46:00.

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Step 6—Preparing the Evaluation Component 57

in a proposal reassures a funder that the organization is interested, as the
funder is, in learning whether this hypothesis is correct.

Second, through evaluation, the organization will learn about the
program’s strengths and areas of weakness. The process alone of think-
ing through the evaluation design can strengthen a program before it’s
even implemented. From there, the organization can take the knowledge
gained through an actual evaluation and share it with staff and volunteers
to improve programs as they are being implemented. This knowledge may
also be shared with others in the fi eld so that they, too, can learn the lessons
of the program’s work.

The third benefi t is to the public—the impact. Dollars granted from
foundations and corporate giving programs are dollars dedicated to chari-
table good; therefore, with each grant an organization receives, it becomes a
recipient of public trust once again. Because of that, the organization has an
obligation to ensure that its programs are actually having a positive impact
on the community as a whole or on the target audience that it purports to
serve within the community. Evaluation is one of the strongest and most
effective tools any nonprofi t has to verify and document that it is indeed
fulfi lling its obligation to make a positive impact on the community it serves.

Internal or External Evaluation

Some foundations will allow organizations to designate from 5 to 10 per-
cent (sometimes more) of the total program budget for evaluation; others
will not. Therefore, organizations need to consider how they will evaluate
their programs for the purpose of documenting results, key fi ndings, and
lessons learned. There are some organizations that will spend time up front,
crystallizing their evaluation components and coming to feel confi dent that
they have both the staffi ng and the expertise in place to objectively and thor-
oughly handle the evaluation internally. Other organizations will decide to
engage an outside evaluator, for any number of reasons, such as (1) lacking
expertise among the staff, (2) having the staff expertise but lacking the staff
time to dedicate to evaluation, or (3) wanting the evaluation to be deemed
as objective as possible. These are three of the most common reasons for
hiring an outside evaluator. In any case, organizations should provide some
background information in the proposal that indicates which direction it

Defi nition
Hypothesis. “The assumed proposition that is tested in a research process.”

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
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Winning Grants Step by Step58

intends to take. The proposal budget should also refl ect an expense line
item for evaluation.

Content of the Evaluation Component

The ability to fully understand both the big picture of the program and the
individual pieces that make up that big picture is a must. Evaluation design
requires dedicated thinking. First, one needs to consider the organization’s
defi nition of success—the “so what?” factor. Then one must determine the
relationship between the expected outcomes and the activities described
in the proposal. Finally, one needs to identify the most important aspects of
the program, then identify why it is important to evaluate them.

Organizations conduct evaluations primarily to accomplish six specifi c
goals:

1. Find out whether or not the hypothesis was correct: Did what the
organization originally propose actually do what the organization
expected that it would?

2. Determine whether the methods that were specifi ed were indeed used
and the objectives met.

3. Determine whether an impact was made on the problem identifi ed.

4. Obtain feedback from the clients served and other members of the
community.

5. Maintain some control over the project.

6. Make midcourse corrections along the way to increase the program’s
chances of success.

When preparing the evaluation section of the proposal, answering the
following questions will help to frame what will be stated:

1. What is the specifi c purpose of the organization’s evaluation?

2. How will the fi ndings be used?

3. What will the organization know after the evaluation that it does not
know now?

4. What will the organization do after the evaluation that it cannot do
now because of lack of information?

5. How will the lives of the people or community served by the organi-
zation be better?

6. Did the organization use the funder’s investment wisely? Were the
funds effectively managed or leveraged?

7. Was the program budget accurate?

O’Neal-McElrath, Tori, and Mim Carlson. Winning Grants Step by Step : The Complete Workbook for Planning, Developing and Writing Successful Proposals, John Wiley & Sons,
Incorporated, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ashford-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1469450.
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