Why doesn’t Brown & Associates, Inc. work for contingent fees?
In most cases, grant preparation costs or fees cannot be paid from a grant, unless such costs are included as eligible cost items in the RFP budget instructions and your budget request. Thus, proposing to trade grant-writing services for a percentage of grant funds is generally unethical and/or illegal. Grant preparation costs and fees are usually paid from other agency resources, such as individual donations, reserves, indirect cost recovery, etc.
I’m thinking about setting up a nonprofit corporation. When should I start looking for grants?
Following the submission of an application, it takes the IRS up to six months to issue a letter of determination of tax exemption under Section 501(c) of the tax code. There is no point in conducting grant source research or submitting proposals until you either have the letter of determination in hand or are within a month or two of receiving it. While there are rare exceptions, to be eligible for the vast majority of grants, you must have a 501(c)3 letter.
Does Brown & Associates, Inc. offer grant writing seminars?
Brown & Associates, Inc. does not offer grant writing seminars. Unless you are already an accomplished writer, a grant writing seminar will be of little use in learning to become a grant writer. Grant writing is a highly specialized form of technical writing that takes exceptional writing skills, the ability to write under extreme deadline pressure and an understanding of human service delivery. Such skills cannot be developed in a day or two. Most novice grant writers would be better served taking an English composition or Journalism class at a local college. The only way to learn to become a grant writer is by writing many proposals. So, if you want to get started and you consider yourself a good writer, find a nonprofit organization and volunteer to write proposals for them. You’ll find out fairly quickly if you have what it takes.
Why doesn’t Brown & Associates, Inc. work for individuals or most for-profit businesses?
While there are exceptions, the vast majority of grants are made to nonprofit, 501(c)3 organizations, not individuals or businesses. You may receive junk e-mail pitches or see TV ads touting grants for individuals or businesses, but these are misrepresentations at best. Any money you spend on guide books or seminars is wasted. If you are low-income, however, you may qualify for certain grants and low interest loans for such purposes as home repair, first-time home buying and the like. You should contact your local city or county community development or housing department to check eligibility. Regarding businesses, unless you have a highly specialized research enterprise, you are very unlikely to find any grant funds. You are unlikely to find grant funds for retail, Internet or home business startups.
Why doesn’t Brown & Associates, Inc. calculate a grant writing “success” rate?
Brown & Associates, Inc. does not attempt to calculate rate of funded grants for several reasons. First, we work for all kinds of public and nonprofit agencies, large and small, old and new. This means that some have strong track records with funders, while others are attempting to enter new service areas. Additionally, we do not screen clients for their funding “potential.” Rather, we generally accept any assignment, provided that we have the capacity to meet the deadline and the applicant appears to be eligible. Finally, our clients often do not tell us when they are funded.
In some ways, grant writing is like playing the lotto. To win the lotto, you must buy a ticket; the more tickets you buy, the better your chances. To receive a grant, you must submit a technically correct proposal for a program for which your agency is eligible. After that, funding decisions depend on many variables, such as the number of applications submitted, mood of the reviewers, geographic and political considerations and many other factors not easily identifiable. The more high quality proposals you submit for different programs, the more grants you are likely to receive; as you get proposals funded, funders are also more likely to give you grants. Over time, you should achieve a 25% – 50% success rate. If less than 25% of your proposals are being funded, you’re probably doing something wrong (e.g., incomplete application packages, ineligible applicant, etc.). If more than 50% of your grants are being funded, you probably are not stretching the envelop far enough by trying to get grants to extend your agency’s service capabilities.
Does Brown & Associates, Inc. hire independent contractor grant writers?
Presently, Brown & Associates, Inc. does not hire independent contractor grant writers.
How much will a grant proposal cost to prepare and does the amount being requested impact the fee?
Brown & Associates, Inc. fee for most individual grant writing assignments only ranges from $3,500 – $10,000 with the average fee being about $5,500. This equates to an hourly rate of $125.00. If the client seeks to have Brown & Associates, Inc. serve as a grant administrator for the proposal written, our fees are calculated on a percentage based on the longevity of the project. Our fees are based on the complexity of the RFP and the amount of time we have to complete the assignment. A “normal” time frame is about four – six weeks to complete an assignment. In most cases, a shorter turnaround will result in a higher fee.
Does Brown & Associates, Inc. have a special relationship with funders?
Brown & Associates, Inc. does not have any special relationships with funders and never attempts to influence funding decisions through lobbying efforts. Funders typically do not know about our involvement and we are transparent in the proposal development process. Our goal is to prepare high quality, technically correct proposals, enabling our clients to be considered for funding.
Does Brown & Associates, Inc. provide a discount for nonprofit organizations or do you donate your services for a good cause?
Brown & Associates, Inc. fees are the same for all clients, including nonprofits, since they make up a large percentage of our client pool. All of our clients have good causes, but we do not donate our services.
I’m confused by the many acronyms in grant writing. What do they mean?
The world of grant writing is filled with acronyms. Here are some common ones: LEA (local education agency, e.g. school district); SEA (state education agency), IHE (institution of higher education, e.g. college/university); RFP (request for proposals); RFA (request for funding assistance); SGA (solicitation for grant assistance); NOFA (notice of funding availability); HUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development); CDBG (Community Development Block Grant Program); CSBG (Community Services Block Grant Program); EDA (Economic Development Administration); EDR (Economic Development Representative); EPA (Environmental Protection Agency); DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services); SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration); GFA (Guidance for Applicants); PA (Program Announcement); OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; COPS (Community Oriented Police Services); CBO (community-based organization); FBO (faith-based organization); FY (fiscal year); TEA-21 (Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century); UPARR (Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery) and on and on.
Additional Commonly Asked Questions:
1. If we don’t qualify as an Entitlement community, can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist us in applying for grant funds through the state?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist urban counties and small cities in realizing community and economic development opportunities that exist through various federal grant funds.
2. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in completing the Consolidated Plan?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist your organization in gathering and compiling relevant data for your Consolidated Plan.
3. How much do Brown and Associates, Inc. services cost?
The cost of Brown and Associates, Inc. services are tailored for each individual client and will vary based on the complexity of the project as well as the length of the consulting engagement required by the client.
4. Will I receive on-site assistance from Brown and Associates, Inc.?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. is committed to ensuring that clients receives on-site technical assistance throughout the grant management & administration process.
5. What can I expect from working with Brown and Associates, Inc.?
Brown and Associates, Inc. clients can expect consummate customer service and a high level of sophistication and expertise in the areas of community development, business management and grant administration.
6. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in completing annual reports and the CAPER?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist your organization in streamlining your processes for gathering relevant data for annual reports including the CAPER.
7. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in completing an Analysis of Impediments Study?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. offers the expertise needed to assist clients in successfully completing an Analysis of Impediments Study in your state, county or region.
8. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in maintaining efficient reporting and record-keeping systems?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist your organization in creating adequate reporting mechanisms to ensure compliance with all federal regulations.
9. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in conducting monitoring visits for sub recipients?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist your organization in evaluating and establishing effective monitoring systems that ensure compliance with all federal regulations.
10. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in creating Quality Control processes or systems?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can provide effective internal audit processes that will maximize staff involvement to ensure all programs meet the necessary regulations and guidelines.
11. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. train new employees on grant programs?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. ensures that staff members remain on the cutting edge of federal grant programs and can offer clients a variety of training and technical assistance for entitlements and/or state and local grant recipients.
12. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. train our employees on the CPMP Tool?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. clients were some of the first practitioners in the nation to fully utilize the CPMP Tool. Brown and Associates, Inc. has provided training to multiple Entitlement communities and can provide training to your staff including useful tips for using the system that will make the process user-friendly and a lasting part of your Planning duties.
13. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist in determining the proper procurement processes?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. has assisted multiple jurisdictions in ensuring proper procurement based on federal/state regulations and can assist your organization to set up policies and procedures that will establish processes that guarantee compliance with procurement regulations.
14. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist in conducting a community-wide Needs Assessment?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. has built a distinctive company through assisting urban counties and small cities in realizing community and economic development opportunities. Brown and Associates, Inc., Inc. can assist you to identify the unmet needs within the low- and moderate- income communities in your community and initiate strategies to address those needs using CDBG/HOME/ESG grant funds awarded through federal and state resources.
15. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist in determining eligibility for Pre-Award requests?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. has provided oversight to numerous Pre-Award projects for our clients and can assist you in the process of determining eligibility and the local and federal approval processes.
16. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. help me streamline my organizational processes?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. provides a holistic approach to ensure our clients’ organizational structure is relevant and functioning at a high level.
17. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in setting up adequate financial systems?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can provide a financial systems analysis as part of an overall organizational review.
18. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. help me prepare for a HUD monitoring?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. can assist in the preparation for a HUD monitoring by providing a comprehensive Pre-Monitoring assessment of your policies and procedures, record-keeping tools, etc.
19. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in designing a Risk Analysis system?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. has created a Risk Analysis system for our clients and can assist you in building a tool necessary to assess your sub recipients.
20. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in drafting Sub-recipient legal Agreements?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. utilizes various templates which incorporate the latest requirements for all CDBG and HOME legal agreements.
21. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in creating a Strategic Program Design for optimum performance from staff?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. always considers the “big picture” when reviewing the overall performance of an organization. Strategic Program Design is inclusive of our efforts to every client.
22. Can Brown and Associates, Inc. assist me in designing and implementing a Consortium in my area?
Yes. Brown and Associates, Inc. helped establish, and currently provides, oversight to a Consortium for one of our clients and can assist your organization in designing and implementing a Consortium in your area based on federal regulations.