How to Profile Project Personnel for Your Grant Application

Before grant reviewers can make a confident decision, they need to know who’s in charge of your organization and the proposed project. Funders want written validation that competent administrators will manage the grant monies.

You establish grant-funded personnel in one of two ways: by reassigning an existing staff person to the grant-funded project or by hiring someone after the project is funded. When you’re writing about to-be-hired personnel, you don’t know the specific qualifications of each individual, but you should know and be able to write about the minimum job specifications of those who will carry certain responsibilities.

No matter how you assign project personnel, selecting individuals with project-specific qualifications can help you win a big grant award. And when you have qualified personnel on your project, your project’s personnel profiles are a lot easier to write.

Even if the rest of your grant narrative is perfect, you can easily lose peer review points if your project personnel aren’t up to snuff. On a point scale of 100, projects scoring in the mid- to high 90s are recommended for grant awards, so losing even a few points can be fatal for your chances. Ninety-point projects just don’t cut it anymore!

Before you start writing about staffing, resources, and equity in hiring, sit down with existing staff members or your human resources director and go over the project narrative. Look at your program design narrative and the implementation chart to see what personnel you’ve committed to carry out proposed activities. Highlight the job titles and any other information that gives you a clue as to how many staff members you need.

When compiling information for the project’s personnel profile section, be sure to identify the following:

  • A project administrator (or project manager): This individual provides management oversight. In some organizations, this is the executive director or deputy director. This person should be able to allocate up to five hours per week of her work time to making sure the project meets its grant-funded conditions. The project administrator (along with the project director) usually attends meetings with the project’s community partners.

  • The personnel necessary to carry out the project on a day-to-day basis: This entry usually means selecting a project director or coordinator who’s responsible for the program’s implementation and coordination. This individual reports directly to the project administrator. Identify a project director who has relevant and extensive experience in the same area as the project.

    In addition, for research projects, another day-to-day individual is the principal investigator (PI). This individual is responsible for the management and integrity of the program design as well as the direction and oversight of compliance, financial, and collaborative partnerships.

  • All remaining personnel who will be paid from the project’s grant-funded budget: Work with your financial or business manager to review the project design and determine 100 percent of the staffing necessary to implement the project if funded. List all other personnel who will be hired for or assigned to the project in the adequacy of resources section of the funding request.

Each project differs when it comes to the personnel needed to carry out activities, so spend some time with your human resources department to determine how much part-time/full-time equivalency should be dedicated to each staff role.

The process of choosing personnel isn’t the time to do a favor for your out-of-work, unqualified friend! Not only does she have the potential to drag your project down, but she also drags down your funding request because decision-making readers shudder when they see unqualified personnel on a project they’re considering funding.

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