Grant Application 101 and Grant Project Coordinator Agreement
Do you have a project that needs funding? Do you know about a grant that fits your department’s strategic priorities? The Grants Administration Office (GAO) is the arm of the Foundation that supports and oversees applications for resources external to CoxHealth. Employees submit their “grant-ready projects” and GAO staff evaluate for potential funding options. Grant-Ready Projects are those that:
- Address an identified community (not organizational) need
- Are either cutting edge or evidence-based
- Operationally sustainable
- Collaborative and/or non-competitive
- Within mission, operations, and/or strategic priorities
Grant Coordinator Job Description
If your grant is funded, the following skills will be very important to project success.
See CoxHealth Operational Pillars.
Skills based on the FIVE Goals of Successful Grant Management
Genuine Process Improvement
- Reviews practices for opportunities for improvement (Quality Pillar*)
- Ensures evaluative measures inform relevant process improvement
- Completes Monthly Communication Form
- Shares relevant information with Grant Administration Office (GAO), Colleagues, Departments, and community contacts
- Communicates challenges, barriers, successes and failures in real time
- Demonstrates integrity
- Works well with all project staff (People Pillar*)
Accurate Budget Tracking
- Maintains an accurate account of expenses
- Submits expenses for reimbursement
- Reconciles reimbursements against expenses
- Ensures policies are followed in procuring products and services (Business Pillar*)
- Understands what makes the project important to the funder, and emphasizes the important factors (Service Pillar*)
- Tracks data pertinent to process outcomes and impact of the project
- Completes all tasks and reports on-time
- Communicates challenges, barriers, failures, and successes as they occur
- Completes funder reports and budget revisions as they are needed
CoxHealth Operational Pillars
- Read the funding announcement thoroughly. The grant writer from the GAO will be available to assist you, but you will ultimately be responsible for grant awards and should be fully informed.
- Self-Identify if your project will make a good grant application. Ask yourself:
- Does this address an identified community (not organizational) need?
- Is the project either cutting edge or evidence-based?
- Is the project operationally sustainable after the grant funds are spent?
- Does the project require collaboration (internal or external)?
- Does the project duplicate a service already provided in the community?
- Does the project fit within mission, operations, and/or strategic priorities?If you answered Yes to all, you are ready to proceed. If you are unsure, contact the Grants Administration office at 417-269-7150.
- If you answered No, more consideration is needed.
- Ensure you have your supervisor’s approval for the project. Most projects require additional staffing, equipment, and in some cases new policies created to manage the award. It is crucial you have your supervisor’s approval before submission.
- Observe the deadlines provided by the GAO and abide by them. Funders set very strict deadlines and do not allow for late submissions. The grant writer working with you has other grant applications in-progress and may not be able to push back other work to submit a grant if you miss a deadline.
- Be prepared to write portions of the Narrative for the application. You are the expert in the project, and as such, you will need to provide the content for the project narrative to the grant writer. Their job is to read narrative for clarity and to reformat as needed to ensure the grant reviewers can understand the project fully. Many grant reviewers are not experts in the field – so you will need to over-explain the project and avoid using any acronyms or health-related jargon.
- Locate data and statistics to support your project. Data is necessary in grants, to prove the need for a program. The GAO team has a list of resources for data, but as the expert in your field, you will likely have additional resources on the subject matter. Compile data and citations for your reasoning, and share it with your grant writer.
- You will create a budget for the project. Consider the full scope of your proposed project. What staff, supplies, equipment, mileage, marketing, printing, etc. will you need to implement the project, if awarded? Each funder has differing guidelines, but you should always check for eligible costs and consider all costs you will incur if the grant is awarded. Any data that will be tracked during your grant will need to be documented in a tool. If you do not already have the tool, you and your grant writer can review the funding opportunity for allowable expenses and if applicable, the tool should be estimated and budgeted in the grant application.
- Consider what data you will need to track if awarded. Reporting tools may be existing databases or new tools developed specifically for the project. In most cases, these tools should be in place when the grant is approved so staff can focus on implementing the project that will be collecting the data. This could require a work order with Healthcare Analytics, the development of a document with protocols, or even coordination with an external evaluator. It’s important to note here that this will set the bar for reporting throughout the project. Your tools must measure the outcomes outlined in the grant application, which is the primary purpose of the funder’s reporting requirements. If you are unsure about what will be expected during your project, please contact the GAO for guidance in establishing the necessary tracking/reporting process. The GAO will not authorize funds disbursement without a data tracking process in place.
- Show Project Sustainability. Grants are best used as seed money to fund a new self-perpetuating idea. While this isn’t the only kind of funding, those that give away their money in grants want to know that they are leveraging their monies for the future so their money continues to do good for years to come. Most funders ask about the plan to sustain the project after their funds are expended and the grant ends.
Creating a Budget for Application
When writing a grant budget for application, it should include two portions:
- A line item budget and
- A budget narrative that supports your request
Line Item Budget
List all the appropriate budget categories where grant funds will be spent (Salaries, Benefits, Equipment, Printing, Travel, Indirect, etc.). These categories will be dictated by the funder’s guidelines. Indicate the anticipated costs of project activities in each of these categories. When appropriate, work with the finance person in your department to develop the budget based on your chart of accounts; this will enable both GAO staff and your department’s staff to monitor the budget more easily.
The way you present a budget is just as important as what you put in it. Avoid jargon that the reviewer may not understand. Label each expense as clearly and specifically as possible. Large amounts listed as “miscellaneous” or “other” without calculations or no apparent connection to the activities in the project will send up red flags. It is best to use the funder’s suggested format and make sure each expense clearly connects to the project. The funder will need to see the relationship between aspects of the budget and the activities of the project. Be consistent in all text and paragraph formatting so the funder can find information quickly and easily. Depending on the funder’s guidelines, you might be able to group expenses to show, for example, mailing and distribution costs or different types of consultant fees.
If requesting funds for more than one year, arrange the budget in a grant-year format, even though your own fiscal year may be different. The last right-hand column should show the total of each line item for the duration of the project, including the grand total of funds requested.
In some instances, a grant request may seek support for the entire project or only for a portion of a project.
- If requesting support to fund 100% of project costs, the budget should reflect all anticipated expenditures.
- If seeking support to fund a portion of a project, the budget should include anticipated sources of income as well as expenditures for these other funding sources (e.g., your organization’s in-kind support, other grant support, income from registration fees, etc.).
Include a written justification for each line item in your budget, succinctly describing:
- The specific item
- How the specific item relates to the project
- How you calculated the amount requested (per unit cost)
- Staffing Approvals – One of the guaranteed ways to get behind in your grant timeline is the hiring process. While nobody can guarantee when a position will be filled, there are steps that should be taken to minimize uncertainty. Within the first month after submission, you should contact Recruiting in the Human Resources Department to complete job description, submit it in the Position Manager system, and get provisionally approved through the Position Review Committee.
- Send a Thank You note to the funder – hand written or typed, either are great! Please send a thank you note. If you need the address or contact’s name, please ask the GAO.
- PR/Marketing – Following award notification, the GAO will send a summary of the grant project and funding to both Marketing and Corporate Communications. GAO will copy the Project Coordinator on emails to ensure the Project Coordinator is the contact invited for interviews by media.
Grant Application Agreement with Grant Administration Office (GAO)
Please review the statements below, initial next to each number, and sign your name and other identifying information to verify you have completed the Grant Coordinator Orientation. Keep a copy for your records.
___ 1. I understand that I must gain approval from my supervisor or department head to apply for this grant.
___ 2. I understand that I must develop the project, narrative, budget and other items for the grant, in partnership with the Grant Writer from the GAO.
___ 3. I agree to not contact the funder on my own. I will allow the GAO to be the main point of contact with funders.
___ 4. I understand that if my project falls behind schedule, I will not be able to submit the grant application. My timely supply of data is crucial to the success of the program.
___ 5. I promise to do my best to passionately pursue the best outcomes for both the beneficiaries of my project and the organization.