The Grants Office was created to provide a high level of services to Rogue Project Leaders and Proposal Development Teams. Services are divided into pre-award (activities leading up to the submission of the proposal) and post-award (activities after projects are funded).
There are four types of pre-award services provided to Project Leaders. The services are designed to increase the probability of receiving a grant.
- Research for Funding Sources
Sometimes a Project Leader will have an idea, but not a source of funds to support the idea. In such cases, the Grants Office conducts research for possible sources. The office has access to traditional research tools (reference materials, files of agency requests for proposals, and a network of contacts at agencies, foundations, and colleges). Electronic research tools on the World Wide Web and databases are also effective.
- Design and Develop Projects and Proposals
Planning a proposal often requires 80% of the effort, while the writing may take 20%. Once a team of content experts is assembled (Proposal Development Team), the Grants Office provides the expertise in the group process. Designing and developing projects and proposals requires expertise in the group process–to lead meetings, to direct the activities of the Proposal Development Team, to maintain focus on tasks, and to summarize the results. The Grants Office will also offer periodic proposal development and writing workshops for RCC faculty and staff.
- Write and Edit Proposals and Reports
The Grants Office staff will write a proposal from beginning to end, contribute to the writing, and/or edit a proposal written by a Project Leader/Proposal Development Team, depending on the needs and expertise of the customer. The Grants Office working with the Community Relations Department provides a full-service technical writing function and can provide charts, illustrations, and take digital photographs for proposals.
- Transmit Proposal to Funding Entity
As outlined above, the Grants Office obtains signatures of appropriate College personnel on final documents. After all approvals and signatures are obtained, the Grants Office duplicates, packages, and ships the proposal to the funder.
Note: The Grants Office is the designated authorized institutional representative for FastLane of the National Science Foundation. In this capacity, the Grants Office manages all aspects of this electronic commerce portal including maintaining the Project Leader database, converting and uploading proposal and budget files, and electronically transmitting proposals to the agency.
- Coordination of Site Visits by Prospective Funding Entities
The Grants Development Coordinator working with the Project Leader will organize site visits including who should be present, organization of information and materials to be presented, and setting up the presentation environment.
Four post-award services are provided by the Grants Office, particularly the Grants Development Coordinator and Grants Accountant for Project Leaders after an agency provides funding.
- Negotiate with Funding Agency
An agency may not provide the exact funding requested. Thus, it is necessary to discuss the awarded amount with the funder and determine which objectives can be accomplished with the actual award. This often requires the revision of the proposal narrative and budget. The Grants Development Coordinator can facilitate and interpret the technical discussions between the funder and the Project Leader and will submit the final negotiated documents.
- Troubleshoot for College and Project Leaders
It can be necessary for the Grants Development Coordinator to troubleshoot issues that surface during the administration of a project. Examples of troubleshooting activities include tracking down late contracts from agencies and interpreting allowable and non-allowable costs.
- Provide Technical Assistance to Project Leaders
The Grants Office and/or the Grants Accountant can provide several types of technical assistance to Project Leaders. For instance, Project Leaders may need help when writing final reports, requesting budget transfers and no-cost extensions, and writing responses to agency requests for data. The Grants Office can also coordinate site visits from program officers, as well.
- Negotiate, Troubleshoot and Contract with Partners
The Grants Accountant has subcontract templates that are customized for individual reports. The subcontract documents are created by the Grants Accountant and then reviewed by legal council, as appropriate. Sometimes there is further troubleshooting and negotiating required with subcontractors.
There are major advantages to creating and following a methodical grants development process and providing comprehensive services. The process results in matured projects, with a high level of institutional buy-in that really must be done and truly adds value to RCC. They are not just one person’s “neat ideas.” As a result, even if RCC receives a rejection letter, the enthusiasm, need for the project, and value of the project plan are not lost. The proposal is overhauled and prepared for re-submission. If it is of such strategic importance to RCC, internal funds may be allocated to at least pilot the project.
A Customer Services Philosophy
All the services are of no value unless the Grants Office has customers. Since the faculty, staff and administrators at community colleges often do not have much experience in grants development, the RCC Grants Office assumes a great deal of the burden of the process. The Project Leader and the Proposal Development Team assume the role of content experts, and the Grants Office guides and facilitates the Proposal Development Team through the process. We strive to make the process non-threatening, enjoyable and rewarding. In that way, individuals will become loyal and repeat customers.
Grants Team Purpose and Operating Guidelines
The Grants Office provides college-wide leadership and technical assistance support for grant to public and private funding entities which will enhance and expand activities that advance the vision, mission, and goals of Rogue Community College.
Snapshot of Major Duties
Grants Development Coordinator
Reports to the Finance and Budget Director, facilitates the Grants Team, participates on the Executive Team, Executive Council and other college committees, oversees development of the annual grant project plan, develops and/or edits proposals, works with proposal teams to plan and/or facilitate proposal development, submits all college proposals, assists with the acceptance and contracting process, and provides technical assistance on reporting to funding entities.
- Facilitates Grants Team
- Oversees development of Annual Project Plan
- Prepares/edits proposals
- Submits all proposals
- Researches grants, data and trends
- Facilitates/guides proposal teams
- Coordinates with funders and Community Partners
- Trains staff on proposal writing
- Provides documentation to Grants Accountant
- Provides technical assistance during grant award contracting process
- Works with President’s Office and Finance and Budget Services staff to submit notice of award & budget to RCC Board of Education for grant acceptance
- Develops and maintains Grants Development website
Grants Team and Team Members
An institutional committee that meets at least monthly to recommend the Annual Project Plan and other grant priorities, assists in grant-writing efforts, and whose members are the liaison between the team and their respective campuses at the college. Team members are empowered to represent their campuses during discussions and decision-making processes. As needed, a sub-committee of the Grants Team will be formed to expedite decisions about specific grants if time does not allow for a full team meeting.
To become a team member, an individual must be mutually agreed upon by his/her respective college executive dean and the Grants Development Coordinator. Applicants with previous successful grant-writing are preferred, however research, writing and presentation skills, and enthusiasm for grant-writing are equally important.
Member Key Duties:
- Helps develop Annual Project Plan; provides campus leadership in identifying grant projects in a timely manner
- Makes go/no go recommendations on “bubble up” projects with significant resource constraints
- Liaison between Grants Team, campus, and department
- Empowered to represent Campus at Team meetings
- Assists in grant preparation
- Assists in grant-writing staff training
- Serves on sub-committee to expedite decisions on grants, as needed.