Alphabetical listing of common grantsmanship terms.
Articles of Incorporation
Legal document to create a nonprofit organization. Filed with the secretary of state.
Spending plan based upon income and expenses for a defined period of time.
Explanation of how each expense in the budget relates to the program or project.
Internal document detailing policies for governing a nonprofit organization.
Grant award to strengthen an organization’s sustainability and effectiveness. Examples: strategic planning, Board or staff development, new fundraising or technology systems, etc.
Time-limited funding for needs including equipment furniture, renovations, construction, etc.
Cash Flow Budget
Plan that shows income, expenses, and bank balance. A cash flow budget predicts the amount of funds left it your bank account at the end of the period.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
Supports community development activities to build stronger and more resilient communities. Addresses needs such as infrastructure, economic development projects, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, code enforcement, etc.
Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
Federal funds for states, territories, and tribes. Supports poverty alleviation programs in under resourced communities. Activities include housing, nutrition, transportation, employment, education, crisis services, etc. CSBG funding is available to Community Action Agencies.
Budget items associated with the program/project allowable under the funder’s guidelines. Examples include program/project staff salaries, materials, and fees specific to the program/project.
Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)
Foundation account allowing donors to make contributions, gain tax deductions, and recommend grants. DAFs may be limited to favorite charitable organizations identified by the donor.
Revenue from work performed, services rendered, or sale of goods. A nonprofit example of earned income is the sale of Girl Scout cookies.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Unique 9-digit number assigned by the IRS to United States businesses with employees. Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status and employees do not pay taxes but are classified as a business entity.
Collecting, analyzing, and using data to determine if stated outcomes are met. Can also inform areas of improvement. Evaluation methods may include testing, participation, data collection, financial reports, performance, and qualitative.
Also known as a Project Description, Summary, or Abstract. Summarizes the grant proposal in a few paragraphs. Components may include program or project goals, personnel, organizational capacity, etc.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) categorization for a group existing for charitable purposes. Entities are subject to specific rules and laws and exempt from federal income tax. Examples include nonprofits, churches/other religious organizations, and private foundations.
Nonprofit corporation or charitable trust making grants to organizations for charitable purposes. Community Foundation - Public charity that focuses upon supporting a specific geographic area. Corporate Foundation – Established to support the community where the corporation operates, and their employees live. Awards funds in fields related to their corporate activities. Private Foundation - Established by an individual, family, or corporation to fund specific interests.
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
Also known as Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), Request For Proposal (RFP), and Request For Application (RFA). Notice of an active funding opportunity, including guidelines for preparation and submission.
Funding Opportunity Number (FON)
Number that a federal agency assigns to its grant announcement.
General Operating Support
Funding not tied to a specific program or project. Organization may use to support daily operations as needed.
General statement about what a program or project intends to do. A goal can address process, performance, or outcome.
A procurement tool used by the government to get supplies or services. Typically awarded by competitive solicitation to commercial enterprises. Also open to nonprofits and state or local governments by response to a competitive solicitation. Some contracts are only open to small businesses, minorities, or special competitor classes. Government contracts are legally binding and include heavy regulation.
Local, state, or federal grant designed to serve a public purpose. Awarded to states, local governments, colleges/universities, and nonprofits. More flexible scope of work than a government contract. Awarded on a competitive basis to entities best able to meet identified government need.
Money given to an organization for a particular purpose.
Document signed by grantee and grantor. Outlines start and end dates of the award and requirements to accept funding. Details any required narrative and or financial reporting.
Activities associated with administering a grant. Can include progress toward goals and objectives, expense tracking, and reporting requirements.
Request for funding submitted to grant-making entities. Proposal components vary by funder. Executive Summary, Statement of Need, Program/Project Plan, Budget, Evaluation, and supporting documents.
The recipient of a grant.
Grantmaking Public Charity
Also known as a Public Foundation or Community Foundation. Funds come from a variety of sources – foundations, individuals, government agencies.
The entity providing grant funds to a grantee.
Website for federal grant opportunities. Provides grant learning center resources, terminology, and opportunity to subscribe for funding alerts. Track status of submitted applications. Organizations must also register on the SAM.gov website.
Effect of program delivery and achievement of specific goals and objectives.
Budget items incurred as the cost of doing business, not specific to the program. Indirect costs are often called overhead. Examples: administrative staff salaries, office supplies, rent/mortgage, occupancy, utilities, etc. A funder may allow calculation of a percentage of indirect costs as costs for the program or project.
Organization components required to be effective, efficient, and sustainable. Examples include staff (administrative and direct service), facilities, technology, vehicles, rent, utilities, etc.
Non-monetary donation to an organization. Examples include volunteer time, pro bono professional services, donated goods, computers, furniture, meeting space, etc.
What an organization invests to carry out activities of a program or project.
Notice that organizations are not to apply for funding without an invitation from the grantmaking entity.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Measure of quantifiable performance over time for an objective. KPIs create progress milestones and help an organization make better decisions.
Letter of Interest (LOI)
Also known as a Letter of Inquiry. Brief letter providing an overview of the organization and funding request. Often required as the first step in applying for a grant. The purpose of a LOI is to give the funder the opportunity to decide if they want to see a full grant proposal.
Letter of Support
Letters of support from community leaders and entities demonstrate organizational credibility. They state support for the organization’s submission of a grant proposal.
Step by step roadmap that describes how a program or project is supposed to work. Includes inputs (resources), outputs (activities), and outcomes (results).
Organization must raise a certain amount of money before receiving grant funds. In-kind resources are also considered matching funds. Examples include volunteer time, pro bono professional services, donated meeting space, etc. A match demonstrates to the funder that other donors support the organization’s mission.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Also known as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Agreement between parties clarifying roles and responsibilities, facilitating cooperation, and ensuring compliance. A MOU is not a legally binding agreement.
Months of Available Net Assets (MANA)
Number of months an organization could operate with available reserves if revenue ceased.
Funder’s commitment to provide a guaranteed income stream for two or more years. The organization can focus efforts on service provision instead of on fundraising.
Also known as a Statement of Need or Problem Statement. Describes the problem and target population that the program or project will serve. Includes factual data to support planned programming. Indicates how the funder’s investment will address under-served or unmet needs.
Annual IRS tax return form that public charities and foundations must file with the IRS. Can provide insight into a foundation’s key relationships and giving history.
Notice Of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
Also known as Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), Request For Applications (RFA), and Request For Proposals (RFP). Notice of an active funding opportunity, including guidelines for preparation and submission.
Statement that describes a result to be achieved and is used to monitor progress toward a program/project goal. An objective is SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Results of participation in program or project. Changes in conditions, behaviors, or attitudes. Should be specific, measurable, and meaningful.
Services or products delivered in a program or project.
Administrative and fundraising expenses necessary for an organization to do business. Also known as indirect costs. Examples: staff salaries (executive, finance, development, human resources), insurance, audit, technology, mailing expenses, etc.
Writing that is clear, concise, and well-organized. Communicate in a way that your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it.
Ongoing, consistent set of activities and resources to provide a service.
Also known as Proposal Narrative or Project Narrative. Key component of a grant proposal that describes the planned work. Includes purpose, goals, objectives, timeline, evaluation method, and outcomes.
Foundation employee responsible for most aspects of the grantmaking process.
Single, focused initiative with set beginning and end dates.
Data describing observable qualities or characteristics. Collected from open-ended surveys/questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, case studies, and observation. Usually reported in narrative form.
Data counted or measured, related to numbers. Can include clients who participated in a program, classes provided, completed surveys, etc.
Request For Applications (RFA)
Also known as Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), and Request For Proposals (RFP). Notice of an active funding opportunity, including guidelines for preparation and submission.
Request For Proposals (RFP)
Also known as Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), and Request For Applications (RFA). Notice of an active funding opportunity, including guidelines for preparation and submission.
Funds legally required to be used for the purpose they are given as identified in the grant agreement. Must be spent before the end of the grant cycle.
Grant available throughout the calendar year without a set deadline for application.
System for Award Management (SAM). Registry for organizations doing business with the federal government. The SAM.gov registration process can take up to 10 days to complete. Annual update required. Organizations must also register on the Grants.gov website before applying for grant opportunities.
Grant that provides non-renewable funds for new programs or projects.
Activity conducted by an organization to fulfill its mission or purpose.
Visit by funder’s representatives to a potential grantee’s location. Part of the decision-making process for a grant. Can also occur at mid-point or end of grant term to track performance.
Solicited Application for Funding
Posted notification that invites eligible organizations to apply for grant funding.
Organization’s capacity to continue a program if a source of funding ends. Sustainability is a key component of an organization’s business strategy.
Beneficiaries or recipients of an organization’s programs or services.
Cost in a project budget that a funder will not cover. This will vary by funder. The RFP should indicate any unallowable costs. Example: The funder may not pay for conference travel expenses for a proposed project.
Unique Entity Identifier (UEI)
Number received through SAM.gov during registration process. Required before organization can apply for grant opportunities through Grants.gov.
Donations used for any purpose if it meets the mission of the organization. Also known as general operating support. Funds are not restricted to a specific program, project or event.
Submission of a proposal to a funder when there is no active request for proposals.
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