A grant is a great way to fund a special project or idea. You can receive small to generous amounts of money, and this is an opportunity to be creative and try new things ‘outside of the box’ to further the goals of your academic program or area. Sometimes grants can allow for new and exciting changes that would not have been possible without the funding they provide. Receiving a grant can be a positive and rewarding experience.
Much like snowflakes, grants are unique. Each grant opportunity has its own goals, subject area(s), budget minimums and maximums, applicant eligibility criteria, funder streams, application process, forms and other related details.
The below information provides an overview of the grant process at Lake Land College. It gives a summary of the services provided by the Grants Office as well as direction for finding and applying for grants. We are here to support all of your grant endeavors.
The Grants Office provides the following services for grant development:
The Grants Office also provides the following post-grant support:
Do you have a great idea, but no idea about how to get funding to support your initiative? Who do you call? GRANT BUSTERS! Yes, that is right, just contact the grants office at Lake Land via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 217-234-5405. Share your idea and provide a description of the project and the Grants Office will begin looking for funding sources. Once potential possibilities are found, we will contact you and the exciting process of proposal development can begin!
You may find a grant on your own for which the College should apply because it 1) aligns with the College’s strategic plan and/or 2) meets the needs of the project you have in mind. What is your first step? Contact GRANT BUSTERS! Yes, you can experience the exciting prospect of working with the Grants Office on developing a proposal for submission. DON’T overlook sharing the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) with the Grants Office. Print the NOFO or preferably, email it to yourself so you have the information to share with the Grants Office.
Once a grant opportunity has been identified, schedule a meeting with the Grants Office to talk through the details of the grant. Details could include but are not limited to
Once these details have been talked through, the Grants Office will prepare and electronically sign a Grant Notification Form that contains the details of the grant. You, the Grant Project Leader, will electronically sign and date the form. The form will then go to your supervisor to sign and then to the appropriate Vice President for signature. Once all signatures are completed, the form will be electronically filed on the College S drive in the Grants folder.
If grant funds are requested for employee pay, Human Resources (HR) will need to be consulted prior to grant submission in order to determine appropriate pay ranges to be included in the grant budget. If a new position to the College is developed for the grant, HR will need to be notified to help estimate what level the new position will fall into, which in turn impacts pay. The following folder may be helpful in determining salary information: S:\Human Resources\Salary Information.
Based on the grant details provided, the Grants Office will create the grant narrative and grant budget and send them to you for review and revisions. You may need to provide assistance with the proposal development by identifying and providing pertinent information such as historical information, goals and objectives, activities, expert information, resumes, bio-sketches or other items in the grant writing process.
Once all revisions are complete and you approve the revisions, the Grants Office will submit the grant narrative, grant budget and related paperwork to the grant agency for review and possible funding.
Each grant application is different and has unique criteria but some common sections in the grant narrative may include the following:
Statement of Need = the underlying problem, issue or project within your academic department or within the College that the grant application will address
Project Goals and Objectives = a description of what the College hopes to accomplish with the project you are proposing and the specific outcomes you plan to accomplish
Methodology = clearly outline how you will use the grant funds to accomplish the project objectives
(i.e., what are we doing and how are we going to do it)
Metrics and Evaluation = how will you measure the efforts of the project and what evaluation approaches will be used to determine the success of the project
Logic Model = a visual representation that shows the resources and inputs needed to implement a grant project
Timeline = a detailed list of all grant events and the dates when the events will occur
Sustainability Plan = a detailed plan explaining how you will sustain the grant activities, strategies, grant staff, etc. and how you will continue to implement successful strategies/activities after grant funding has ended
Each grant budget is very different. Different funding sources (i.e., ICCB, IBHE, federal government, etc.) have different budget categories, and some funding agencies have specific spending stipulations. However, there are some common budget categories like the ones listed below.
Staff salaries = funds to pay part time or full time staff who will be employed in order to fulfill grant requirements
Fringe benefits = non-wage compensation that includes State Universities Retirement System (SURS) for part time or full time staff as well as healthcare benefits for full time staff
Equipment = any item that costs $5,000 or more to purchase or can be used for more than one year (e.g., robotic arm, simulation dummies, wheelchair, storage carts, etc.)
Travel = hotel accommodations, airline tickets, airport transfers, mileage and any other accommodations for conference travels; this category can also encompass travel for general grant activities
Supplies = items to purchase in order to complete the grant, as well as marketing materials; most purchases for a grant are listed in the supplies category
Training and Education = educational opportunities needed in order to successfully facilitate a grant
Miscellaneous/Other = a category that encompasses stipends for faculty, staff, businesses, etc. who play a role in the grant project
Direct costs = the cost categories listed above, which directly benefit the grant project
Indirect costs = costs that are related to the costs of using College facilities and administrative support for the grant that cannot be claimed as direct costs; an example of this would be Accounting department costs; the College has an indirect rate of 40% of salaries and fringes only, but some funding agencies limit the indirect costs they are willing to provide for a grant
Totals = the total amount of funding needed to complete the grant project; the totals incorporate all of the items listed above
Budget Justification = detailed explanation of the purpose of each budget line item. This may or may not be required depending on the funding agency.
Prior to submitting the grant application to the funding agency, a meeting with the Accounting group will be held to go through the budget and make sure all items are accounted for and are in compliance with College guidelines.
Different funding agencies have different fiscal years. So your grant may start at the beginning of the calendar year on January 1 and go through December 31, while the College’s fiscal year starts on July 1 and ends on June 30 of the next year. This can be confusing, since your grant could be running over two fiscal years (6 months in one fiscal year and 6 months in the next fiscal year). You will want to make note of this information so that you can be sure to spend funds and complete your grant project within the funding agency fiscal year. This will likely require collaboration with the College Accounting group.
Sometimes, funding agencies require a demonstration of the College’s financial commitment to a project, or the commitment of other funding sources or project partners. This is done by sharing the total project costs through in kind or matching contributions. In kind contributions are non-monetary contributions and are typically a contribution of a good or service other than money. Examples of in kind contributions are staff time and labor, use of facilities/office space, computers, etc. In order to include in kind contributions for a grant, you would place a fair market value on the staff time, rental of facilities, etc. so that costs could be captured and included in the grant budget.
Matching funds require that you match grant funds with College funds. So if the College applies for a
$50,000 grant with a matching funds component, the funding agency will require the College to provide a certain amount in matching funds. This may be a dollar-to-dollar match or a percentage to dollar amount (i.e., 25% or 50% of the budget). For matching funds, you will want to be sure the funds are available. This may require a discussion with College administration (i.e., Vice President, President, and/or Vice President of Business Services) to be sure the funds are available, should the grant be awarded.
When a grant is awarded, the College receives an email (or in some cases a letter via U.S. mail), from the granting agency. This communication is referred to as the notice of award, letting you know that you have been awarded a grant. Be sure to forward the notice of award you receive to the Grants Office.
Congratulations! Take a moment to feel pride in this accomplishment. You have worked hard to put together a grant proposal, and a funding agency likes your idea and wants to fund the project. This is a big accomplishment! This is also an important responsibility.
The Grants Office will write a Memo to the Board of Trustees asking them to accept the grant on behalf of the College. The Memo will be presented at the next upcoming Board of Trustees meeting and will likely be approved by the Board. Once the grant is approved, you are now ready to begin implementation of the project. Work with the Grants Office to schedule a meeting with all key stakeholders in the project so everyone is in the loop on the grant activities and timeline.
Most funding agencies require quarterly and/or annual narrative reports and financial reports. Typically both of these reports will be due at the same time. The deadlines for reports will be contained in the grant paperwork received from the granting agency. The narrative report will ask you to provide status updates on the progress of each grant activity, objectives and milestones. The financial report will list the money that has been spent as well as what money is currently left to spend. Most funding agencies have their own reporting templates. Krista Pickering in the Accounting office will complete the financial reports for the grant and will forward them to you and to the Grants Office to review. The Grants Office will send you reminders that report deadlines are approaching, and will also submit the reports to the funding agencies once the reports are complete.
Even when you try your best to spend all of the grant money the College has been awarded, sometimes this is not possible. Delays in funding, delays in the ability to hire staff, or unforeseen circumstances can cause issues that delay implementation of project work and the expenditure of project funds. When this happens-one of three things can occur:
If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a job description for the staff position(s) you want to hire. Once this is complete, you’ll submit this to Human Resources (HR). HR will look over the job description, provide an audit of work responsibilities and assign a numerical level to the position which will correspond to a pay level. Once this is complete, HR will post your job description on their web site, and collect candidate paperwork for the position(s). In the meantime, create a hiring committee to review resumes and to participate in the interview process. After the application deadline has passed, HR will notify you that the candidate paperwork is ready for the hiring committee. You will convene your hiring committee to review applications and decide which candidates to call for interviews. You will also create an interview guide that lists interview questions you will ask each candidate. Schedule interviews that correspond to your hiring committee availability. Once interviews are complete, confer with your hiring committee for top selections. Confer with HR on your final candidate and call to offer them the position.
One important item to note – if the position is part-time, no Board of Trustees approval is required prior to the candidate starting the position. If the position is full-time, Board of Trustees approval is required prior to the candidate starting the position.
Grant Project Leader/Principal Investigator/Project Manager