Grant & Proposal Resources
The GIFT Center Charitable Grants Hub offers rich resources on charitable grantseeking. Find information and tips for charitable grantwriting and information on grant budgeting and post-award coordinating at the University of Arizona. GIFT Center staff can help you with both specific charitable grant applications and general questions.
Getting started can be the hardest part of pursuing charitable grant support. Understanding the culture of grants and doing effective planning and research improves the probability that your project will be awarded charitable grant funding. Keep in mind that not every campus project and program is a good fit for private grant support. GIFT Center staff are well-versed on general fundraising best practices along with other campus resources that are available for faculty and staff, and they can guide you if foundations are not your best fundraising fit.
The GIFT Center has tools available to help identify funders, who may take an interest in your project, and we can advise on how to make the best approach. We also maintain relationships with a number of grantmakers who have past, ongoing, or potential partnerships with the UA.
Remember—be sure to obtain clearance through your unit's development office, business office, and the GIFT Center prior to submitting charitable grant requests, and to also run your budget through your business office for approval.
The following resources will familiarize you with the grant world, pre-proposal planning, and they will help get you started on funder research and relationship building:
Who Makes Charitable Grants?—Discusses what entities make grants, why they do so, and includes information about the larger grantmaker landscape
Grants and the Grantseeking Process—Defines charitable grants and the entire grantseeking process
Project Concept Form—An intake and program planning form that asks questions about your project, framing the information to prepare your program content for fundraising
Pre-Proposal Research and Relationship Building—Provides information on seeking potential funders, and on making an initial approach
GIFT Center News Listserv—Sign up to receive important GIFT Center notices, including the GIFT Alert, our biweekly update of upcoming grant opportunities
Program Planning Resources and Links—Links to useful program planning resources
Budget planning is an integral part of your overall program planning. Your proposal budget is an extremely important component of your proposal package. Grantmakers emphasize time and again that program budgets are often the first proposal item reviewed. Consider the budget as a financial expression of the proposal narrative, with figures that reflect proposed activities and include an estimate of every real cost associated with your program. In other words, the budget provides another chance to tell your story to a prospective funder.
The following PDFs contain information to help you through the budget creation process:
Budget Planning—Describes the important process of planning for a clear and effective budget
Indirect Costs—Details costs included in grant budgets that are not directly associated with programming
Budget Narrative or Justification—Gives tips on how to best write your budget narrative
Budget Template and Planning Tools—Provides two common budget templates useful if a grantmaker does not specify budget preferences
Helpful Budget Links—Links to helpful budget creating resources
Proposals range in complexity and detail, from a two-three page letter of inquiry, to 25+ page narratives with multiple attachments. Grantmakers typically provide some guidance regarding their preferences, such as coversheet forms and online applications, through detailed proposal guidelines. Grantseekers should closely follow funder guidelines, application processes, and proposal requirements—except in rare cases for which such guidance is not available. Funder guidelines, requirements, and instructions are your roadmap. The majority of the time, creating the basics of a proposal is simply a matter of following directions.
The following PDFs discuss aspects of the grantseeking and proposal writing process in more detail:
Letter of Inquiry and LOI Elements—Before submitting a full proposal, many funders want to see a shorter pre-proposal called a letter of inquiry (LOI). This PDF discusses the letter of inquiry in detail, and describes the content of each of its sections.
Model Letter of Inquiry—Includes a sample letter of inquiry with additional commentary on its sections and craft.
Proposal Writing and Proposal Elements—Defines the proposal in more detail and describes typical proposal sections.
Helpful Hints for Proposal Writing—Includes extra writing tips for proposal writing, of which go beyond basic components.
Helpful Links for Proposal Writing—Provides links to other proposal writing resources.
What is stewardship?
Stewardship means a responsibility to take good care. As grantees, we need to take good care of a grantmaker’s investment. We also need to make every effort to achie the shared mission that motivates the gift. Proper stewardship encompasses following the legal requirements of the grant agreement as well as the implied moral responsibility to take good care. Faculty and staff are responsible for formal stewardship and post-award reporting for charitable grants. Business offices and the GIFT Center are ready to assist and are your best resources for accurate grant reporting, of which communicates both the impact of your program and responsible management of a grantmaker’s investments. Note that the GIFT Center does have a courtesy reminder system to help with reporting deadlines.
Why does stewardship matter?
Mistakes in stewardship, such as not communicating promptly when problems arise, affect the entire organization, not just one unit or department. Some organizational funders have relationships with the University that stretch back decades and, we hope, will continue for decades more. Careful attention to stewardship builds a legacy of trust, performance, and positive relationships with people involved in grantmaking. This improves the reputation of the University as a whole and makes future proposals more competitive.
The following resource documents contain best practices when it comes to Post-award coordination and Stewardship:
Foundation Stewardship Best Practices—Information on how to work with the GIFT Center to best steward your gift
What Do Funders Hope for in Grantee Relationships?—Provides the most common and important grantmaker hopes for post-award relationships
Top Ten Ways to Appreciate Foundations—Provides ways of interacting with grantmakers that go beyond standard acknowledgement and reporting procedures
Site Visit Tip Sheet—Sometimes grantmakers want to visit to see your program or unit first-hand. This information can help to ensure that site visits go smoothly
FAQ Charitable Grant Accounting—Provides information about post-award financials, and answers common questions related to UA grant accounting