Upcoming CFC Deadline: Tips for Grant Writing Success

Sections of this topic

    In the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), There Are Three Types of “Charities” – Where Do You Fit In?

    by Bill Huddleston

    There are three categories (National, International, and Local), with federations for all three types.

    National and International charities apply directly through the OPM, and local charities apply in each region to a local board, called the “Local Federal Coordinating Committee” or LFCC.

    National and international applications are due in January of each year, and local applications in late winter/early spring. (In the National Capital Area CFC, the local applications are due by January 24, 2014.)

    To find the deadline for your geographic region, go to opm.gov/cfc and choose the Campaign Locator to get your “local” information.

    The CFC Application Process and Eligibility – General Requirements:
    1. You must be designated as a tax-exempt non-profit organization under the section
    501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    2. An application to participate in the CFC requires specific data about your
    auditing, governance, and program functions.
    3. You must also provide a completed and signed copy of your IRS Form 990 for
    your most recent fiscal year.

    In addition, there are various requirements for the level of financial statements that are based on the size of the nonprofit. More information about the specific application requirements can be found on the www.opm.gov/cfc website.

    The OPM website is a valuable resource for nonprofits participating in the CFC, and those considering enrolling. In addition, Federations are an important component of the CFC, and there are many national, international, and local federations.

    The local United Ways is an example of a local federation, and EarthShare is an example of a federation that has both regional and national environmentally-related nonprofits as its members.

    During his 25-year career in the Federal sector, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach,
    served in many CFC roles. If you want to participate in the Combined Federal
    Campaign, maximize your nonprofit’s CFC revenues, or just ask a few questions,
    contact Bill Huddleston
    Have you seen
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks.

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)

    Can The Department of Defense Help Make You a Better Grant Writer?
    by Jayme Sokolow

    There is a writing technique used in the U.S. military that can help you improve your proposal prose. The technique is called Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) which contains a simple and easy-to-use assessment tool for promoting prose clarity based on sentence and word length.

    It has been described very clearly by Timothy P. Hooper in his article in the most recent Journal of the Grant Professionals Association (Fall 2013).

    Here is how it works:
    • Take a sample of at least 200 words from your proposal.
    • Count the number of sentences.
    • Count the number of words.
    • Divide the number of words by the number of sentences to get the average
    sentence length. Your target is on average 15 words per sentence.
    • Count the number of long words – those with three or more syllables.
    Exclude calendar years and other numbers.
    • Divide the number of long words by the total word count to determine the
    percentage of long words. Your target is 15 percent.
    • Add the numerical values of the average sentence length to the percentage
    of long words.

    This sum represents your Prose Clarity Index. Your target is 30.

    A clarity index that is very low, say 20, indicates that your writing is too choppy and abrupt.

    An index of 40 likely indicates that your writing is too hard to understand.

    The BLUF Clarity Index test is short and easy to use, and you may be surprised at the results!

    Dr. Jayme Sokolow, founder and president of The Development Source, Inc.,
    helps nonprofit organizations develop
    successful proposals to government agencies.
    Contact Jayme Sokolow.
    Look for Jayme’s ebook on
    Finding & Getting Federal Government Grants.
    It’s part of
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks
    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)
    Order Jayme’s Book on Federal Grantsmanship before February 14,
    and get $1.00 off the sales price – use coupon code JA55U

    If you would like to comment/expand on either/both of the above pieces or would just like to offer your thoughts on the subjects of this posting, we encourage you to “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page.