Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is there assistance on campus for me in researching grant opportunities?
A. Yes! For private/corporate funding sources, Corporate & Foundation Relations provides assistance in researching funding opportunities. Contact Annie Heidersbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ext. 3530. You may wish to refer to the online guidelines and links.
Linda Mihalik in the Academic Affairs office can assist you with research opportunities through various governmental funding agencies. Contact Linda at email@example.com or Ext. 5946 for assistance.
Q. How do I request corporate or foundation funds?
A. All requests for corporate or foundation funds must be made through the Corporate & Foundation Relations office with the approval of your immediate supervisor and Vice-President.
Q. Where can I go for help in writing a grant proposal?
A. Annie Heidersbach (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Linda Mihalik (email@example.com) can provide you with a blue print to follow and feedback about your proposal throughout the writing process.
Q. What are the steps I should take to request corporate or foundation funds?
A. Discuss your project with Annie Heidersbach, and send her a brief written description of it, as outlined on the BW Guidelines for Submitting Proposals page. The CFR office will look for potential sources, obtain their guidelines, and send them to you with suggestions on submitting your project to them. Alternatively, you may use the resources available in the Corporate & Foundation Relations office.
To make initial contact with a source, you will make phone calls and/or write letters of inquiry to the sources. The Development Office will advise you on how to approach each source.
If appropriate, follow the initial written inquiry with a phone call or visit to the funding source to discuss its reaction to your project description.
Use the information gained from these preliminary inquiries to write a full proposal. Annie Heidersbach can assist you in designing and editing the proposal.
Q. What office should I go through when I'm ready to submit a proposal?
A. For private/corporate grant proposals, submit all grant requests through Annie Heidersbach in the Corporate and Foundations Relations Office. Submit grant request proposals for governmental research funding through Linda Mihalik in the Academic Affairs Office.
Please contact us as early as possible prior to the deadline date. We can offer advice and other information that will aid in a more favorable grant review by organizations.
Q. How long does it take to obtain corporate and foundation funds or funds from Federal agencies?
A. This is not easy to predict, but corporate and foundation funding usually requires 6 months to a year. The right time to begin searching and inquiring is always now. Most foundations accept and fund proposals throughout the year and award grants 2 to 4 times a year. Corporations often make funding decisions once a year, usually several months before the end of their fiscal year (usually Dec. 31 or June 30.) Federal grants have a slightly longer lead time. Applications are typically received 1-1.5 years before an award.
Q. What sorts of projects do corporations and foundations fund?
A. Corporations prefer projects directly related to their business and/or projects that will enhance their public image. The first category includes scholarships for students in related fields, research grants, and equipment. In the second category, the corporation may have defined a special need that it wishes to address, such as early education, the homeless, women and children. Within these fields, corporations prefer projects that are visible to the public and that directly assist persons in need.
Foundations tend to concentrate their giving either in a particular geographic area or for a particular set of needs. Some combine the two, giving within a region for certain types of projects. Some foundations have a large staff of professionals in their interest field while others are operated by the family of the donor. Some give only to national organizations; some fund only research; others fund only direct service projects.
Most corporations and foundations want the projects they support to be innovative (at least within their region), and replicable by other organizations. All will insist that the project produce specific results, and usually that these results be measurable. Most will want to see your plan for continued funding after grant money has been spent.
Q. What sort of projects do corporations and foundations seldom fund?
A. Very few foundations or corporations will support a project for longer than three years nor will most provide funds for endowments. Most will not provide general operating support for programs or organizations.
Q. What sorts of projects do Federal agencies typically fund?
A. The range of opportunities seems almost unlimited. There is Federal support for individual research projects, artistic activities, fellowships, faculty development, course development, equipment purchases, facility enhancements and more.
Q. I need the money NOW! Can you help?
A. If you need the money NOW, it's too late. Proposal planning and submission takes forethought, relationship building, and a thorough editing process. Planning is key to successful funding.
Q. What can I do to expand my opportunities for Federal, corporate or foundation funding?
A. Improve your acquaintance with the mission of the funding agency, corporation or foundation. Also, let them get to know you. Be active in efforts that bring professionals in your discipline together with persons from foundations, corporations or other agencies. Such efforts might include conferences, panels, task forces, etc. The large Federal agencies (National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, etc.) put on frequent grant-writing workshops at various locations around the country.
Q. I am applying for a grant from a private source, and they have requested a copy of our most recent audit and proof of our non-profit status. Where can I find these?
A. The Corporate & Foundations Relations office can provide you with a copy of the IRS form confirming its 501(c)(3) status as well as a copy of the most recent audit. Call the Foundation Office at x 2739 with questions or for more information.
Q. What is BW's negotiated indirect (Facilities and Administrative Cost) rate?
A. Ask about the details, but the University has negotiated rates of 35% (for on campus work) and 15.5% (for off-campus work) with the base being direct salaries and wages including vacation, holiday, sick pay and other paid absences but excluding all other fringe benefits. This rate is effective until June 30, 2015.
Adapted from the University of Northern Iowa Foundation Web site