Writing Process

Process for Seeking External Funding at Excelsior College ~ Best Practices 

 

Background

As the college seeks to expand its opportunities and grow its programs, a greater number of faculty and staff are interested in submitting grant proposals.  This policy is to assist with these efforts and clarify internal approvals and time frames needed to assure that the College’s fiscal, legal, and human resource (HR) responsibilities are met.

The Grants Office must be made aware of all grant proposals being developed. It is the College’s grant repository and as such ensures that all College applications are coordinated. The Grants Office’s key role in proposal development ensures that:

  • Prior to submission, proposals meet all college requirements and fit with Excelsior’s strategic priorities
  • Use of any college resources for the program is approved
  • Any regulatory issue such as ethical research with human subjects is addressed
  • All college administrative approvals are obtained.

Additional information on how to develop proposals and manage grants can be obtained at grants.excelsior.edu or by contacting the Grants Office.

Federal compliance

As soon as a federal Notice of Funding Opportunity has been identified as a possible funding source, the Grants Office should be notified.  The Grants, Legal, and Fiscal Offices will determine whether Excelsior is capable of meeting the compliance requirements. If all offices agree that compliance is a resource burden, the College will not move forward with a grant request.

Concept paper development 

The concept paper is the first step in the proposal development process and will form the foundation for the proposal’s project narrative.  For grants over $100,000, a 3- to 4-page concept paper is required. The concept paper should include:

  • A needs statement – identify an Excelsior student need. Attach market or other supporting research, if available.
  • Project description – outline major project elements.
  • Personnel – list Excelsior staff and external partners.
  • Outcomes – include a plan for valid quantifiable results.
  • Link to College and unit strategic plans.
  • Sustainability – explain how Excelsior will maintain the project once the grant ends.

For grants under $100,000, a one-page concept paper touching on the points above is acceptable.

This concept paper and the targeted funding opportunity must be approved by:

  • Dean or department head
  • Provost
  • Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • President

The Grants Office will assist with this approval process.

Time frame.  The concept paper should be developed at least two months before the grant submission deadline, whenever possible. Not completing this step may result in the termination of the project.

Proposal narrative

The Grants Office will work with program staff to develop the proposal narrative.  A draft narrative must be approved by:

  • Dean or department head
  • Provost
  • Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • President

Time frame. A draft narrative should be shared with the stakeholders listed above at least one month before the grant submission deadline, whenever possible. A minimum of two weeks prior to the deadline is required. Not completing this step will result in the termination of the project.

Budget development

Fiscal, Legal, and HR must have the opportunity to review a line item budget before a proposal is submitted.  The draft budget must be approved by:

  • Fiscal’s Senior Accountant
  • Assistant Counsel
  • Executive Director, Human Resources

If the submission time frame allows, the Grants Office will hold an initial budget session where all the project stakeholders, including Fiscal, Legal, and HR, meet to discuss the project, compliance issues, resource implications and to map out a draft budget together.

Time frame. A draft budget should be shared with Fiscal, Legal, and HR at least one month before the grant submission deadline, whenever possible. A minimum of two weeks prior to the deadline is required. Not completing this step will result in the termination of the project.

Fast track review

Occasionally, opportunities for funding may be identified close to an application’s deadline.  The dean or unit head and key officers (the provost or appropriate vice president, Controller, General Counsel, and the vice president for institutional advancement), may agree to ask the president to allow for a “Fast Track” review.  Fast tracking will be considered under the following conditions:

  • The project is very closely aligned with institutional priorities and the strategic plan.
  • The possible funding level is significant to the College.
  • The project would provide a high level of visibility to the College in a needed area.
  • The possibility of success is high.

The Fast Track review will allow for a shortened review time frame, however key stakeholders must review the draft proposal and budget – without this review submission will not be possible. A minimum of one week prior to the deadline is required.

 

Download this content as a pdf here:  Excelsior College Approval Process for External Funding Requests