CBU's Office of Grants supports the university's faculty, students, and administration by identifying grant opportunities, developing proposals, and managing awards. The Office of Grants is an arm of the Office of Advancement, which supports the university by raising funds for scholarships, capital projects, special programs, operations, and other needs.
Please note that the Office of Grants does not award grant funding. It does not develop proposals, review applications, or provide other grant-writing services to the general public. The Office of Grants cannot assist with projects that do not involve and support the university.
CBU faculty members are encouraged to pursue grant opportunities with the support and collaboration of the Office of Grants. The basic grant-seeking process for faculty members is as follows.
1. Identify the Opportunity
You may hear of grant opportunities through press releases, newsletters, industry publications, or other sources. You may also search for grants using free directories such as Foundation Directory Online or Grants.gov. When you find a promising opportunity, read the application guidelines fully and be sure that your project idea fits all the criteria.
Please note that CBU has existing relationships with most major Memphis-based funding organizations, such as the Assisi Foundation. Grantors with existing relationships are generally not available for additional requests. Specialized grant opportunities unique to your field or area of interest are more likely to be good options.
2. Plan Your Program
All CBU faculty members who wish to submit a grant through the university must complete and submit the following form:
Grant Proposal Worksheet (right-click to download)
The form asks basic programmatic questions that will be required in most grant applications. Completing it will help ensure that you are developing a grant-worthy project.
You will submit a completed form to the Office of Grants. From there, a Grants Officer will help you obtain the necessary administrative permissions for the project.
3. Develop Your Application
Once your worksheet is fully approved, it's time to start writing! It's important to note that faculty members wishing to pursue grants are ultimately responsible for the application process, which includes drafting the proposal. The Office of Grants can provide support in the form of revisions, approvals, and supplementary documentation, but it cannot generate proposals on your behalf.
In your writing, be sure to follow the grant guidelines to the letter. If the guidelines are non-specific, consider following the Basic Proposal Outline described below.
4. Application Submission
Once your application is drafted, you will submit it to the Office of Grants for review. A CBU Grants Officer will work with you to revise the application, collect supplementary documentation, final administrative approval, and submit your proposal.
5. Follow Up
After your application is submitted, be sure to note any additional requirements or funding timelines specified in the application. Continue developing your project as appropriate, and keep your fingers crossed!
Basic Proposal Outline
Many grant applications are specific in their requirements, sometimes down to the word count and font size. Others are more open-ended. In the absence of specific information, the Office of Grants recommends following this basic outline, which can be condensed to a few paragraphs or expanded over many pages.
1. Executive Summary
Give a brief but comprehensive overview of the full proposal, including the request amount. This is your "elevator pitch" -- if you only had someone's attention for a few moments, how would you present your project in order to catch their interest?
2. Organizational Information
Start the body of your grant with some basic information about CBU as well as your particular School, Department, or discipline. This is where you can establish some key credentials in the reader's mind. Why are you the right person to lead this project? Why is CBU the best home for it? Keep this section relatively brief.
3. Statement of Need
What need or lack will your project address? What benefit will it create? Use data when possible, and cite your sources. Most importantly, remember to think in terms of your end users, whether they are students, alumni, the broader community, etc.
At this point, do not make reference to your proposed project. You want to create a sense of urgency, convincing the reader that something must be done. Your solution arrives in the following section.
4. Project Description
Here you get into the details of what you want to accomplish. What are the elements of the program? Who will be carrying it out? How long will it take? What resources are required?
This is generally the longest section of a proposal. Be as specific as you can, but be careful not to over-promise. You will have to abide by your description if the grant is awarded.
5. Goals, Objectives, and Evaluation
Goals are the big-picture, intangible targets that your project will aim for, such as improving college attainment. Goals are supported by multiple objectives, which are specific and measurable, such as raising college acceptance rates among graduating seniors by 5%. Remember that objectives describe a change in the audience served by the project.
Evaluation is your plan for assessing whether your project was successful. What information will you track in order to know whether your objectives were met? How will you track it? Who will be responsible? Try to go beyond basic outputs, such as attendance numbers or number of meals served. Grantors are more interested in outcomes, which are the results of that attendance or those meals.
Grants don't last forever. If you are requesting support for an ongoing project, describe how it will be sustained after the grant period ends. Try to go beyond a vague promise to seek out additional funders. Does your program have the potential to generate income? (Remember that recruiting additional students to CBU results in income to the university.) Can it be endowed? Absorbed into your departmental budget? Or is it a project that is limited in scope, which only needs to last for a certain amount of time?
7. Closing and Request
Restate the main points of your proposal and clearly state how much funding you are requesting.
Provide a complete, balanced program budget itemizing all program expenses and income. Be specific.
- For full-time CBU employees, add a Benefits line at 25% of salary or stipend. For part-time employees, use 15.07%.
- Unless it is prohibited by the guidelines, add an additional 15% to your budget's total for Indirect Costs. These are unquantifiable but real costs of your program provided by the university, such as phones, internet, utilities, security, etc.
- If you estimate any costs, provide a note or a narrative section explaining the estimate.
The income section should include secured and potential grant funding. Funders are often more comfortable knowing others are also invested in a program, so list any additional commitments or requests and label each as "confirmed" or "pending."
Also include information on "in-kind" support, which are non-cash contributions that will benefit the program. CBU often provides in-kind support to campus-based programs, such as facility costs, security, and supplies. Estimate the cost of these items, and include that number in both the Expenses section and the Income section (as "In-kind income").
Most applications request some version of the information outlined above. Completing the Grant Proposal Worksheet will help you collect and organize your thoughts.
Senior Director of Grants and Foundations
Christian Brothers University
Barry Hall, Room 101