Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: URSI Logo  URBS 4/553—Grants Administration

Term:  Spring, 2014 

Instructor: Tony Filipovitch, 126 Morris Hall, (507) 389-5035, 388-2264 (home)

Office Hours:  My office hours are posted here.  I am available in my office at those times (or other times by appointment).  I also check my e-mail daily (usually several times during the day), and have an answering machine on both my home and office phone.  There is no reason to flounder around, unsure of what “he wants” or confused about what you are doing; and even if everything is going fine with the coursework, there is more to learning than completing the assignments.  I encourage you to visit me, in person or at a distance by phone or e-mail, many times during the course.


Tori O’Neal-McElrath.  2013.  Winning Grants:  Step by Step.  NY:  Wiley.

Course Overview:

This course is designed to teach you how to raise resources for public and nonprofit organizations, from needs assessment through obtaining funding to managing the grant after it is awarded.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course you will be able to:

1.      Identify and research potential funding sources

2.      Develop an effective problem statement

3.      Design a program model to meet the identified needs

4.      Create a management plan and a proposed budget, including a system for monitoring and reporting on the grant after it is awarded.


1.  Readings:

Students are expected to read and understand the readings assigned for each unit.   There will not be any tests or quizzes over the material in the readings; rather, you will demonstrate how well you have understood the readings through online discussions and regular projects. 

2.  Class Discussion:

This is a hybrid class.  Some of the class will be attending only online, but the on-campus students will gather once a month for informal discussion of the work in progress (I will also meet at least once with students in the Twin Cities). Since we will not all meet as a class, there will be regular discussions on D2L.  I will pose questions to start out the discussion, and I will monitor (but may or may not respond) the discussion.  Each student must post at least one detailed reflection for each of the 10 topics for the course, and at least one response to another student’s posting.  It is important that you post your responses with enough time for your classmates to reply within the week allotted for each unit; do not get behind in your discussion work.  For full credit, you must use examples, details, and credible support for your position, and refer to relevant readings (your text, at a minimum) using standard citation format (you cannot provide credible support without citing what others have written!).  You will receive partial credit if you do not provide support for your responses.  While I will not track whether or not you read all of the postings, I strongly encourage it.  You have as much to learn from each other as from me.

There is an etiquette to online discussion.  I want you to engage in open, frank dialogue; but I also expect you to be respectful of each other.  Comments that are harmful, abusive, offensive, or vulgar will not be tolerated.  If I sense any problems, I will intervene.  Should you feel intimidated or not respected, please contact me so we can consider how to proceed.    A few hints: 

·         Re-read your messages before you send them—once it is sent, you are committed. 

·         Never assume that an e-mail is confidential; they are easily copied and forwarded to others. 

·         Also, be careful with humor; absent body language and other contextual clues, it can easily be misinterpreted.

3.  Projects:

The proof of what you have learned in this course will be your ability to apply what you have been learning in practical situations.  Specifically: 

·         You will complete 5 project assignments, which taken together are the pieces of full grant proposal.  In addition to your own write-up, you must attach the relevant worksheets that helped you prepare for writing the project. You will post your work to the course site on D2L.  I encourage you to read each others’ work for ideas for your own work.

·         Besides the 5 projects, the final project for the course will be to write a complete grant for an RFP (which I will provide).  You will post your final proposals to the D2L site.  The graduate students will constitute a peer-review panel for the grants (they will abstain from reviewing their own proposal, of course), using review criteria which I will provide.  The winning proposal will receive an automatic “A” for the course.

4.  Graduate Students’ Duties

Graduate students will constitute a peer-review panel for the grants submitted at the end of the course.  In addition, they will be expected to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the organizational dynamics and managerial issues involved in program development.


Course Calendar






Intro to course/syllabus

Notes from Dubose, Developing Successful Grants

Text, “How to Use” (pp. xix-xxii) & Introduction; MCF Common Grant Form

On D2L, first discussion posting.



1.  Proposal Idea

Text, Ch. 1—Developing the Idea

Giving in Minnesota (MN Council on Foundations) and Fundraising Resources for Nonprofits (MN Council of Nonprofits).

Proposal idea summary &  Worksheet 1.1:  Proposal Idea Questionnaire


2. Prospecting for Funds

Resource A & B; Corporate Giving;  “The Way We Write  Is All Wrong” (in D2L Contents)

Worksheets 9.1a, 2.1 (post these next week)



Text, Ch. 2 & Appendix D; MCF Principles for Grantmakers; “McKnight Initiative Funds” & “MN Foundation Heads” (in D2L Contents)

Prospecting :  Prospect Worksheets (and Worksheets 2 & 9)


3.  Needs Statement

Text, Ch. 3;  “The Funnel” & “Problem Statement” (in D2L Contents)

Worksheet 3.1a; Explaining yourself  (& Worksheet 3)


4. Goals & Objectives     

     Logic Models

Text, Ch. 4 & Appendix C;

Building Support

Worksheet 4.1a


5.  Methods & Tasks

Text, Ch. 5

Worksheet 5.1a


6.  Evaluation

Text, Ch. 6

Worksheet 6.1a; Defend yourself!  (and Worksheets 4, 5 & 6)


Break Week!


7.  Sustainability 

Text, Ch. 7; “Social Entrepreneurs,” “New Donors,” “How Some Nonprofits Are Becoming Less Dependent on Grants” (in D2L Contents)

Worksheet, 7.1a 


8.  Budget 

Text, Ch. 8


Worksheet, 8.1a  Tell me again (and Worksheets 7 & 8)


9.  Packaging the Grant

Chs. 9, 10 & 11; “How to Improve Your Score

Worksheets 10.1a, 11.1a


10.  Managing the Grant

Ch. 12; Guide for the Perplexed; MCF Common Report Form

Begin writing Final Project


11.  Due Diligence 

Reviewing Grant Proposals





Final Project (RFP response) due




Grant Reviews due by 4/30


Course evaluations due

Course Expectations:

Are You Ready for an Online Course?

Online learning is different from face-to-face.  The mix of skills is different, and sometimes students who do well in face-to-face classes do not do well online.  Click here for more information.

Attendance & Class Participation:

It is your responsibility to post your responses in a timely fashion, interact with your mentors, and engage in online class activities.  I expect all the work for each week to be posted by 6 PM on the day listed.  If there is an emergency which requires you to be away from your computer, please contact me immediately.  Loss of computer connection or network services are not an excuse for not getting work submitted on time (if you lose your connection, go to another location to do your work—a public library, the campus computer center, a friend’s computer, etc.)  You can get help with technical problems from the MSUM computer help desk at or go the 3rd floor of the Library.  You are paying for this class—make sure to get your “money’s worth.”  Most importantly, this is an excellent foundation of knowledge for future activities, and it is a chance for you to learn, teach, and grow with others.


There are 100 points for the course, divided as follows:

                                                                                    Undergrad       Grad

            1) Discussion (10 @ 3 pts.)                               30                  30

2) Projects (5 @ 10 pts.)                                   50                  50

3) Final RFP                                                      20                  20

            4) Grant Review                                                                     20


The final grade may be based on a curve, but students can expect at least an A if they achieve 90%, a B with 80%, etc. (Grad students will be graded on a 120-pt. scale; undergrads on a 100-pt. scale).  The assessment rubric for this course can be found here.

Other Matters:

All assignments (including discussion) are due on the assigned date.  Partial credit may be given for assignments that are less than one week late, unless other arrangements have been made in advance.

Written reports are expected to be free of grammatical, spelling, and content errors.  They should be submitted in typewritten, standard formats (APA, MLA, URSI Style Sheets).  You must familiarize yourself with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.  I encourage you to draw on the ideas of others—but you must also identify when you do so (you gain “brownie points” for citing the work of others!).  Plagiarism is a serious breach of academic behavior and will result in an F for the course.

I will help you in whatever manner humanly possible.  However, once the semester is over, there is not a great deal I can do.  If there is something that you don’t understand, are having problems with, or need help on, please get in touch with me as early as possible.

Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities.  If you area student with a documented disability, please contact us as early in the semester as possible to discuss the necessary accommodations, and/or contact the Disability Services Office at 507-389-2825 (V) or 1-800-627-3529 (MRS/TTY).

Finally, before the first class please post a message to the “Introductions” discussion board on D2L.  Please introduce yourself in the posting, let us know what your goals are in this course, and any special experiences/skills/interests you will be bringing to the group.



This is a selection of books & articles I will be referring to in the course.  It could serve as a starting point for your own further reading & research:



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© 2005 A.J.Filipovitch
Revised 1 January 2014