Grant Site Visits: Pointed Questions to Expect

Whether you are involved in an on-site or virtual site visit, preparation is the key to success. The biggest mistake that grant applicants make when they learn they are on the “short list” for possible funding is lack of preparation. Your site visitors will come armed with questions like the following.

Project Design

  1. Please describe your vision for this project.
  2. How does this project fit in with your organizational mission?
  3. Please elaborate on how the internal staff and collaborators have been involved in the development of the proposal and will be engaged throughout the project.
  4. What quantitative document exists to substantiate the need for this project?
  5. Please clarify which geographic areas will be targeted as part of establishing this alliance. Please explain why those specific areas and organization sectors have been targeted.
  6. The current coalition, understandably, has a heavy focus on serving your local area. Please describe plans to secure involvement from community representatives in other geographic areas as the coalition expands.
  7. When and how do you plan to secure greater support and participation from the business community? Elected officials? Other stakeholders?
  8. Please discuss the project barriers and how they will be overcome during the granting period.
  9. Do you anticipate labor shortages that will be a problem staffing this project?

Project Mechanics

  1. Who will be responsible for data entry?
  2. Can data systems communicate across partnering organizations?
  3. To what extent will you need to deal with language and cultural issues?
  4. Please discuss plans to sharing findings and lessons learned with external audiences and elaborate on whether the potential exists for the project to serve as a model for other communities locally, regionally, and/or nationally.

Leadership

  1. Explain the buy-in you have from project personnel?
  2. What has been your history of collaboration among project partners?
  3. What was your planning process in assembling this proposal?
  4. What barriers or challenges do you anticipate that need to be addressed
  5. For the project co-directors, please discuss how their proposed effort levels will be sufficient to oversee fiscal responsibilities, reporting, data collection and analysis  as well as participate in key project activities such as educating community and employers and soliciting funds for financial sustainability.
  6. Please provide some examples of how community representatives and the target population are involved in the leadership and decision-making process of the coalition. How will you ensure this level of involvement continues during the implementation and expansion phases?
  7. What is the coalition’s approach to diversity representation and cultural competency during the planning and implementation phases and the evaluation of the project?

Evaluation

  1. Do you anticipate ongoing evaluation and feedback during the project: With project participants?  With project personnel? With collaborators?
  2. Please elaborate on the measures of success related to alliance. What will an ideal statewide alliance look like at the conclusion of the grant period? Three years beyond the grant?
  3. What data will illustrate that efforts of the coalition were essential to the activities and outcomes? How will your coalition assess and manage these data?
  4. Please clarify whether the evaluation tools, such as meeting evaluation forms, stakeholder attitude assessments, participant satisfaction surveys  already exist with established reliability and validity characteristics or will need to be developed as well as implemented during the project period.

Fiscal

  1. This RFP requires applicants to secure 100 percent matching supporting, including a cash match of at least 50 percent with the balance as in-kind support. Please clarify plans for securing the 100 percent match and identify the proportion of cash and in-kind match.
  2. Please confirm that institutional capacity exists to clearly document that all matching funds, in particular, those from city, county or state funds, are designated solely for the proposed project.
  3. Since grant funds have been budgeted to offer stipends of $25 to community members for their participation in meetings, please elaborate on how community members will continue to be engaged beyond the grant period.
  4. What will happen to this proposed project if it is not selected for grant funding?

Some of these questions assume that you will be involved in a collaborative project; often site visits focus on the strength of proposal partnerships.  Pick and choose the questions that are relevant to your situation and include them in your mock site visit.

4 Responses to “Grant Site Visits: Pointed Questions to Expect”

  1. So much to learn from you guys! I hadn’t thought about mock rehearsals for pre-proposal contacts. But, that’s perfect! Great preparation ideas!

    One idea I would add to your great list is to have a second idea in your pocket in case the first one gets lukewarm interest. Thoughts?

    I get this question a lot … “How do you make initial contact with funders, especially ones are hard to reach, like Foundation staff?” Any ideas?

    • admin says:

      We recommend rehearsing at all key decision-making points, including pre-proposal contacts (face-to-face and phone) as well as mock site visits (in-person or virtual). The boy scouts had it right: “Be Pepared.”

    • admin says:

      Nothing beats being prepared. It certainly enhances your credibility.

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