QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL FUNDING AGENCIES
Grant seekers who discuss their projects with program officers gain insights not necessarily available from reading the RFP. The best approach is to e-mail a request for a telephone appointment. The Development Office can also arrange in person visits if that seems necessary. Here are some suggestions for opening the conversation.
- Is funding available for new applications? (This is especially important at the US federal level, as some agencies may be obligated to spend a significant percentage of their budget to support continuing projects.)
- How many new applications does the program typically receive and what percentage is funded? (A 20%-30% funding rate is good; if it's less than 20% you need to consider whether it's worth the effort.)
- What are the most common flaws in proposals they receive?
- What criteria are used in evaluating your proposal and relative weight given to each?
- Do they fund institutions like AUCA? Ask for a list of previous recipients.
- Will they recommend a previously funded proposal for style or format? Can you obtain a copy?
- Who will evaluate your proposal; i.e., what background will the reviewers have? Would they send you a list of current or previous reviewers? (It is important to know the audience for which you will be writing.)
- Are there areas or topics of particular interest that the funding agency values?
- If you have last year's application guidelines, do they expect to make any significant changes? Can you use last year's information to get started?
- Would they be willing to review a draft of your proposal?