Qualifying for Grants
Whether it is included as a separate component or woven into other parts of the grant proposal, Mary Hall
suggests that the following issues regarding organization and personnel qualifications be addressed in the
- The requesting organization's qualifications to carry out this project. This discussion may
allude to the organization's history, mission, or prior experience.
- The personnel needed to carry out the project. Include information about individuals
experience, professional background, and qualifications specific to grant positions. If some positions have
not been determined, describe the proposed staff selection process.
- The facilities and equipment necessary for the project. Indicate what facilities and equipment
are currently available, and how facilities and equipment not currently available will be secured.
- Organizational issues significant for the project, such as special advisory boards or panels
that will be established.
- Community support. Private foundations, according to Hall, will be especially concerned with
community support. This issue may be addressed in the proposal by referring to special community arrangements,
such as additional funds being offered by the community or the creation of community advisory boards. Letters of
endorsement from community members or entities may also be included.
Some funding organizations request specific information about personnel to be involved in a project. The
following guidelines may help you provide this information (Hall 151-152):
- Include, perhaps in a table or a chart, the title and responsibilities of each project staff
member, as well as the percentage of time that each staff member will be assigned to the project.
- Include names of and biographical information for project staff members. In addition,
potential funding sources often require a full biography or curriculum vitae for the project director or
principal investigator. Biographies and other materials submitted about staff members should emphasize
experience pertinent to the project.
- Briefly describe the selection process and criteria for key positions that are not yet filled.
- Justify any proposed use of consultants. Indicate how many consultants will be used, and what
their specific roles will be. Explain why these roles will be filled with consultants, and, for any consultants
known at the time of the proposal, include background information.
- For any key project positions that are identified as part-time, indicate the other sources
of salary support.
- If it is not included in the Procedures section of the proposal, briefly overview the
organizational and management structure of the project.
- If advisory boards are included in the project design, describe their functions.
- Include or be prepared to furnish letters from consultants and advisors agreeing to their
participation in the project.
- Avoid the practice of including well-known experts names, and indicating that they will be
asked to participate if the project is funded.
- Avoid padding biographies of staff with references to manuscripts in progress.
- Do not include salary for project directors that, together with their other sources of
compensation, adds up to more than 100 percent of normal pay, unless this is explained clearly in the proposal.
Hall addresses the difficulty that occurs when a funding source asks for resumes or curriculum vita for the
proposed project staff, yet Affirmative Action guidelines require open competition for posts. She recommends
consulting a local affirmative action officer, and notes ways that two organizations have handled this issue (152):
You can name the project director as an individual within the institution who will carry some responsibility
for the project. Most projects require the informal supervision of some senior member of the organization or
faculty, even though this persons salary will remain the responsibility of the requesting organization. By
including this information, the organization requesting funds is at least able to report names and backgrounds
of key officials, while indicating that other positions will be hired when funds are secured.
Until qualifiying staff are hired, an existing staff member may be named as the projects acting director.
Sometimes, a projects continuation may be contingent upon the funding sources approval of the project director
hired; in that case, the acting director may take on a different role in the project, or may be designated as
the person to whom the regular director will report. Again, this approach allows the requesting organization to
include background information and qualifications for some key personnel, even if the ultimate project director
cannot be determined until after funding.