Grant-Writing Services for Winnefox Libraries
Winnefox is offering fee-based grant-writing services to member libraries through the CESA 6 GROW (Grant Resources of Wisconsin) Office.
GROW will work with member libraries to identify, develop, and submit grant proposals to promising funding sources. This service includes access to the GROW "Grant Information Service" (GIS) newsletters, which are periodic updates on grant programs available to schools, non-profits, and municipalities. We encourage libraries to consider partnering with other community entities in order to access alternative funding streams that benefit library patrons.
Over the past 15 years, GROW has procured over $45 million in grant funds for clients. For example, the GROW office has written over 40% of the 122 successful federal Physical Education Program (PEP) awards made in Wisconsin since the inception of that grant program. Three years ago, the GROW office obtained a first-year PEP grant award of over $800,000 for the Wausau School District. Last year GROW obtained state 21st-Century Community Learning Center (CLC) grant awards of $75,000 per year for 5 years for the Montello and North Fond du Lac School Districts.
- How does this service work?
If you see something in the GIS newsletter that you’d like to explore you can contact GROW for more information. You can contact them if you have an idea for a possible grant project. Or you can contact them with a specific need – for example, a building project – and ask them for help finding grant funding.
- Can I contact GROW directly?
Yes. You do not need to go through the Winnefox office. However we request that the initial contact be made by the library director, not by another staff person, trustee, or other person.
- Will GROW actually write the grant for me?
Yes. GROW will identify funding possibilities, and do research to supplement the information you’ve provided them on your needs. They will write the grant, based on that research. And they will either help you to submit the grant or submit it for you.
- What does it cost?
There is no up-front charge to Winnefox libraries for this service. If a GROW-assisted proposal is funded, the library (or fiscal agent, in the case of a partnership application in which the library is not the official applicant) will be assessed a "Grant Award Fee" (GAF) of 4.5% of the award amount. In most cases, the GAF can not be paid for with grant funds. Accordingly, applicants must take into consideration whether their budgets can cover the GAF if the grant application is successful.
- How often do the GIS newsletters come out and how do I get them?
These newsletters are generally emailed out near the beginning of each month. GROW will send them to Winnefox, which will then forward them to library directors. We can also add other staff or trustees to the mailing list upon request; if you wish to be added to the subscriber list, please contact your library director.
- Can I see past issues of the GIS newsletter?
Yes, Winnefox will archive several months of these on the Money page of the Winnefox Extranet.
- Sometimes we hear about a grant only one or two weeks before it's due. Can GROW help us under a tight schedule?
Like any organization, GROW has a limited capacity. They are accustomed to working on tight schedules, but this time restriction also applies to the libraries, since they must provide the basic information GROW uses to put together a competitive proposal. They can’t guarantee to write a grant on short notice.
- How much time would GROW like to research and write a grant application?
As with any project, the more time, the better. It also depends on the complexity of the application process. If an extensive research base is requested by the funder, or formal signed agreements with partnering agencies, both the library and the writer will may need several weeks to several months to properly collect the required documentation and describe the project design and implementation properly. GROW will work with libraries to determine the feasibility of developing and submitting a competitive proposal within a given timeframe.
- Has GROW written grants for public libraries?
GROW has written grants for public libraries, both directly and in cases where libraries are partnering with the applicant agency to provide services (and receive some grant award benefit) for the grant project. GROW also regularly writes for grant programs that are open to a wide variety of eligible entities, including municipalities (which includes libraries), school districts, and non-profit organizations.
- How are libraries held accountable so that they're honest if they receive a grant?
A grant proposal, once approved for an award by the funding source, becomes a contract between the applicant and the funding source. The application itself generally includes signed assurances as to the required performance and reporting procedures, or that sort of agreement is signed once the application has been approved for funding. Neither Winnefox nor GROW is responsible for ensuring that libraries meet the conditions of the grant once awarded. That process is usually stipulated and overseen by the funding source.
Additional resources about securing grants for your library:
- Funding Information Network — a network of libraries, community foundations, and other nonprofit resource centers that can be found across the U.S. and around the world; partners provide a suite of tools and resources consisting of Foundation Center databases, publications and a variety of supplementary materials and services in areas useful to grantseekers
- Grants Information Collection — a collection of print and electronic materials that is open to the public, located in Memorial Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison