Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Grant Development/Writing

Is it necessary to work with the Grants Office to submit a grant proposal?

Not required, but often helpful. The Grants Office serves as a coordination point for matching funds, leveraged funds, matching of grant ideas and funding opportunities. Personnel in Grants can help you assess the likelihood of success on a particular funding opportunity, coordinate proposal development, and ensure that campus approval for grants is obtained. The Grants Office staff works with state and federal program officers to help BPCC increase the competitiveness of grant proposals.

I have an idea for a grant, what do I do now?

Start by reviewing the Grant Development FlowchartPDF File. This will give you a good idea of BPCC’s process for developing and approving grants. Whether your idea is in response to a specific grant announcement or request for proposals (RFP) or whether it is a new idea still under development, complete the Grant Inquiry FormPDF File and return it to the Grants Office (A-112). We’ll look forward to reviewing the form and discussing your project idea. Other resources you might find helpful are samples of the Decision MatrixPDF File, Goals and Objectives, TimelinesPDF File, and Evaluation PlansPDF File.

Why is the grants process so complex?

A grant is an obligation and commitment by the College, so due diligence is needed to ensure that appropriate individuals are aware of and approve of a grant before it is developed and submitted to the funder. A number of issues are considered during the approval process, including the likelihood of funding, ability to charge indirect costs, alignment with the College’s strategic goals, availability of matching funds, and requirements to continue the project after the funding ends. Following this process helps to ensure that you don’t spend a lot of time developing a grant proposal that is not internally approved or submitted.

I just found out about a grant that’s due in a few weeks. Can we submit a proposal?

Call the Grants Office immediately to discuss the grant opportunity. Some grants are simpler to develop and the process may be expedited. However, a large federal grant usually requires months of planning and development in order to produce a competitive proposal. Once again, campus administrative approvals are needed.

Can I write my own grant?

Sure! Some of the strongest, most compelling grant proposals are written by the people who envision the project and have the passion for its success. You are the content matter expert and bring the most informed verbiage to the project. The Grants Office is happy to help you understand what the funding agency is looking for, to assist with collection of the necessary documents, help edit the draft proposal, and coordinate matching and leveraged funds that may be required by the RFP. The Grants Office staff can seek guidance and final approval from appropriate campus individuals and oversee all final edits to the documents and submission on behalf of the College.

My department has been asked to partner on a grant proposal submitted by another agency/institutional and/or to provide a letter of support for another agency’s grant. Do I need to contact the Grants Office?

Yes. If you’ve been asked to partner on a grant or provide a letter of support or commitment, please contact us immediately for assistance. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the level of involvement by individuals or the College. Please do not commit the College to any activity without checking with your Supervisor/Dean. Besides helping you and your supervisor/dean to develop letters of support and coordinating matching and leveraged funds for collaborations with other agencies and institutions, it is helpful for the Grants Office to be aware of various initiatives and partnerships with which campus personnel are involved.

How long does it take to learn about whether a grant has been accepted for funding?

It depends on the funder – state and local agencies can take as little as 90 days; some private foundations range from 60-90 days, and others award grants only once per year. A federal grant can take up to six months to write and another six month to announce awards. Contact Grants Office personnel to inquire about the projected timeline for a specific funding opportunity.

Grant Management

I am a project director for a newly funded grant, now what?

If at any time you have a question or problem implementing your project you should feel free to call the Grants Office for assistance. Once an award notice from a funder is received by the College, an initial grant launch meeting will be scheduled. Members of the project staff, grant finance and Grants Office will attend. During this meeting the highlights of the grant- including the objectives, reporting and budget requirements, activity implementation, and College grant management protocol will be reviewed. The goal of this first meeting is to clearly define the responsibilities and expectations (of both the funder and the College) associated with the management of the grant.

What is the single most important thing I should do as a new project director?

Be familiar with your approved grant proposal. Your proposal is your blueprint of what you should do, when it needs to be done, who is responsible for it, and what you should accomplish.

How do I know what is allowable under a grant?

Every grant program has a unique set of requirements and regulations. The best place to get started is l look at your approved contract and submitted proposal. If your proposal does not clearly state that you can do or purchase something, don’t assume it is allowable. Check with the Grants Office to see if permission is required or if a revision can be requested from the funding agency. Bear in mind that grant funds are not exempt from standard state and College policies and procedures.

How should I respond to a funder asking for information about my grant?

Before you respond to any inquiry please contact the Grants Office. We can often help determine what the funder wants and help to draft a response.

Is a grant budget different from a College budget?

In most cases, yes. Grant budgets come with very specific regulations that may restrict the transfers between budget categories, prohibit the purchase of certain goods, or services, and limit the specific timeframe when the funds are available. In many cases, modifications to the originally-approved budget require prior approval from the funder. This approval process, which is coordinated by the Grants Office) can be very detailed and may require several weeks to obtain. You may save yourself time and frustration by consulting with the Grants Office and Finance Grants Accounting before expending any grant funds not specifically provided for in the approved contract.

What are the reporting requirements related to my grant?

Because every grant program is different, funders will have different reporting requirements. However, the reporting process for all grants is coordinated and submitted by the College. Grant accounting will process and submit all financial reports. Program reporting is coordinated by the Grants Office. Normally, project directors submit a draft report to the Grants Office several weeks prior to the due date. The Grants Office will then submit the report for an internal review, which includes approval from the administrator(s) responsible for the grant, and if required, the Chancellor’s signature. The report is then submitted by the Grants Office on behalf of the College.

 

Still have questions about Grant Management? We’re happy to answer them. Call or email Sandra “Tootie” Guy at sguy@bpcc.edu or 318-678-6176.