Grants - Key Terms
Award letter – The written notification sent by the funding agency that announces the project has been funded, the length of the funding period, the start/end dates, and the amount of the award.
Ceiling – The upper limit established by the funder. This is the maximum amount that can be requested in a proposal to fund a particular project.
Challenge grant – A grant that is paid only if the donee organization is able to raise additional funds (match funds) from other sources.
Community Foundation – A tax-exempt, nonprofit, publicly supported organization composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate donors that make grants for charitable purposes in a specific community or region.
Corporate Foundation – A private company whose assets are primarily from the contributions of a for-profit business. A giving program is established and administered within a profit making company.
Direct costs – Expenses that are associated with the operation of a project and that are itemized by categories specified as allowable under the grant or contract; i.e. salaries, travel, supplies.
Due date – The date (and time) when a proposal must be received by the funding source.
Floor – The lower limit established by the funder. This is the minimum amount that can be requested in a proposal to fund a particular project.
Grantee – the organization who is the recipient and administrator of a grant.
Grantor – the agency which awards the funds to carry out a project.
Guidelines – the procedures that grantseekers must follow during the process of searching and applying for a grant.
Indirect costs – costs of an institution that are not readily identifiable to a specific project or activity. The costs of maintaining buildings, grounds and equipment, accounting services, and general administrative expenses. Such costs may or may not be allowed by a funding source, and others may place a ceiling on the percentage allowed in a given grant situation.
In-kind costs – Any contributions to an agency that have value but are not monetary in nature. In-kind support can include the value of donated products or equipment; volunteer services, donated office space or staff time, loaned executives and donated professional services, among others.
Letter of Request – A brief letter outlining an organization’s activities and its request for funding. This letter is sent to a potential funder in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to submit a full grant proposal.
Match funds – cash or “in-kind” support contributed by the grantee to carry out the project. Some programs require a match, and the amount of match will vary by program.
Non-competitive grant – federal or state dollars allocated on the basis of a formula. Receipt of funds may or may not require submission of a proposal.
Notice of Award (NOA) – the formal document used by the federal government to inform the grantee that their proposal is being funded.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) – announcement by a federal agency or department that informs the public of a specific grant opportunity.
Objectives – in a proposal, objectives are statements about expected outcomes that tell who is going to be doing what, when and how much will be done. Measurable objectives become the criteria used to judge the impact of the project on the target audience and/or on organization.
Pass through funds – funds that are received by a state or local agency for a specific purpose. The state or local agency then conducts its own grant process to award the funds to other individuals, organizations, or agencies.
Pre-application – a preliminary screening process used by a funding source to identify potentially fundable projects.
Private foundation – A nongovernmental, nonprofit organization with funds and programs managed by its own trustees or directors. They are established to maintain or aid social, educational, religious, or other charitable activities serving the common welfare, primarily through the making of grants.
Program/Project Officer – a staff member of a government agency, foundation, or corporation who is responsible for overall administration of the program and for monitoring the project, providing technical assistance, and ensuring that the project is carried out in accordance with the final contract or grant agreement.
Project period – the period of time authorized by the funding agency in which the proposed activities take place. This can range from less than a year to multi-year projects.
Proposal – the document submitted to a funding source that requests monetary support for a specified period of time to carry out a specific project.
Requests for Proposals or Applications (RFP/RFA) – An announcement by an agency that they are interested in seeking proposals or applications that will accomplish the specific purposes outlined in the RFA/RFP guidelines. The RFP lists project specifications and application procedures. This may also be referred to as a solicitation for grant applications (SGA).
Unsolicited proposals – Agencies may allow institutions to submit proposals for projects that are not part of the funding source’s priorities or program areas.