Corporate and Foundation Giving

Image: Hiram students walking in the Coleman Center

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations focuses its efforts on developing relationships with external organizations in order to secure financial support for institutional initiatives and individual research projects consistent with the College’s mission and priorities. These organizations include a multitude of private and public foundations, corporate giving programs and government agencies.

The office is available to assist faculty members in identifying funding opportunities, discuss proposal ideas, review proposal drafts, assist in the submission process of foundation, corporate and government proposals, and works with faculty to submit the required reports for grants. The Director also identifies funding sources and develops proposals for institutional initiatives. The Office provides information to the faculty regarding current funding opportunities, proposal writing tips, and on-campus workshops to facilitate the proposal development process.


Mary Lang, Director of Institutional Grants

Bancroft House

All proposals seeking external funding for projects must be reviewed and approved by the Dean and the Development Department before submission.

  • Contact Development as early in the proposal development process as possible.  At a minimum, please alert us to any funding sources you may be considering to assure a coordinated effort.
    • Alerting Development to deadlines you must meet well in advance will enable us to provide you with maximum support.
    • If you need help “fleshing out” your idea further, we can help.
  • Talk with your department chairman and the Dean about your idea.
  • Prepare a brief narrative and budget for the project.
  • Email OCFGR with a brief narrative and budget.
  • If you don’t have a potential funding source, we can help you find one.
    • Remember that foundations and funding agencies set their own deadlines…your needs timeline might not correspond with theirs.  This is another reason to begin the process as early as possible.
  • Once a funding source is identified, we will help obtain the funder’s guidelines and proposal format.
  • Read and read again the guidelines.
  • Development can help in outlining a course of action.
  • If the proposal is of a technical nature the principal investigator/project director (PI/PD) is responsible for preparing the bulk of the proposal.
    • Development will help with templates for letters of intent/inquiry, cover sheets, timelines, budgets, etc.
    • Development will help interpret guidelines, contact potential funders with questions, contact previous grant recipients for tips, etc.
    • Development will provide the necessary institutional documentation (i.e., 501c3 documentation, audited financial statements, Board of Trustees List, FY Operating Budget, etc.) solicit letters of support and prepare a President’s or Dean’s cover letter.
    • If your project involves human subjects, animals or radioactive materials you will be required to comply with the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, or the Radiation Safety Committee.
  • If the proposal is more of a general nature, proposal preparation can be a shared responsibility between the PI/PD and Development.  If the proposal is initiated by the College (i.e., the President or Dean) the bulk of the work will be done by Development with assistance from the PI/PD.
  • As PI/PD you will need to be readily available to review and provide feedback on the proposal drafts.
  • The PI/PD is responsible for alerting Development concerning any change in plans, delays or problems as soon as the PI/PD becomes aware of them.
  • Once the proposal nears the final version, the PI/PD is responsible for obtaining the final approval signatures on the Proposal Approval Form.
  • Development is responsible for the final review of the proposal, obtaining remaining signatures (President’s or Dean’s letters) copying, collating and mailing the proposal, tracking the proposal and providing a final copy of the submitted proposal to the PI/PD.
  • Once an award is made, Development will comply with the funder’s award process and submit the necessary paperwork to Gifts Processing to get the award into the Banner System.
  • Development will notify the PI/PD when reports are due to the funder and work with the Director of Accounting to obtain the final financial reports needed for submission at the end of the grant period.
    • If any problems or concerns arise with the project during the grant period, the PI/PD is responsible for contacting Development to discuss.  This can include the need to adjust the budget or extend the grant period.  It is in the PI/PD’s, and the College’s, best interest that we communicate any problems or changes as soon as possible to the funder.

Remember – every program takes time to develop and every proposal takes time to prepare!

That is why it is important to contact Development early in the process.

The Development Department reviews and submits all grant proposals to external funding sources as well as maintain records on all grant submissions, awards and renewals.  In order to assist us in this process:

  • Faculty preparing to submit a grant proposal must contact our office; the earlier in the process the better.
  • All external grant proposals for research, programs, projects, etc. must be approved by appropriate College officials, including the President, before being submitted to a funding prospect. It is a shared responsibility of Development and the principal investigator/program director to obtain the required approvals.
  • Completed proposals (without the help of Development) must be submitted to the Development Department for review and to obtain signatures five working days prior to the submission deadline. Development will copy, collate and mail proposals
  • Notice of approval, denial, renewal and extension of all grants must be reported to Development for tracking purposes.
  • All grant monies must be processed through the Development Office. A new account number must be used for any grant monies received. Development will submit the grant documentation to the Budget Office so they will generate and forward an account number to the PI/PD.
  • Development will work with the PI/PD to meet all reporting requirements outlined in the grant agreement or award letter. Development will keep on file all correspondence and reports submitted to the funder.

Here is what Development can do to help:

  • Circulates grant announcements to faculty
  • Facilitates introductions and conversations with funders
  • Assists in developing or expanding proposal ideas
  • Identifying potential funding sources
  • Obtain and interpret guidelines
  • Assists in developing a budget
  • Assists in completing forms
  • Review and edit proposal and provide feedback
  • Draft the President’s or Dean’s cover letters and get appropriate signatures
  • Coordinate proposal negotiations
  • Submit electronic proposals (NSF-Fastlane,
  • Assist with Letters of Inquiry or Intent
  • Assist in completing cover pages, certifications, assurances, or other documents required for submission
  • Provide historical background and demographic and research information as needed
  • Copy, collate and mail all proposals
  • Facilitate on-time delivery of proposals and reports to funding sources
  • Provide reminders when narrative and/or financial reports are due

The successful development of a proposal often begins with a complete and thorough review of the Request for Proposal or a funding source’s specific programmatic guidelines.

A meticulous review of the guidelines will help you tailor your project to a funding source’s specific interests and will increase the likelihood that you will be funded. Gathering background information on the funding source, such as recently funded projects, can give you hints about their specific interests and objectives. Proposals are most often funded based upon how well your project and the funding source’s interests “match”. A careful review of guidelines and a little background research will help you demonstrate the relevance of your project to the funding source’s interests and objectives.

In general, it helps to think about your proposal from a wider context. Take time to consider the general or long term implications of your research and why your project could potentially impact a wider audience. Attempt to incorporate these implications into your proposal.

Remember that allotting an appropriate amount of time to develop your proposal is of utmost importance. Contacting the OFCGR as soon as possible will help clear as many administrative “hurdles” as possible. Anticipating the unexpected, particularly during a busy semester, will help you avoid the last minute crises often experienced by proposal writers.

Keep in mind that those who review proposals are often reading a number of proposals in a short amount of time. Therefore, write for clarity. Further, it’s best to avoid overusing jargon. As with academic papers, enlisting the help of colleagues to read your drafts can prove invaluable. Colleagues from within your field are, obviously, most appropriate to review content, but invite colleagues from outside your discipline as well. Because they may be less familiar with your subject area, you will be forced to write in the most straightforward terms to convey your ideas. As always, the OFCGR is ready and willing to review your draft and provide commentary.

Often times the best reviewer is the actual funding source. Program officers are often willing to review drafts if they are given a sufficient amount of time. If they are unable to review your entire proposal, you should consider contacting the program officer and discussing the basics of your proposed project. Most program officers are more than willing to clarify an agency’s agenda and can prove to be an invaluable resource.

Keep in mind that not all proposals succeed when they are first submitted. In some cases it is common to approve only the most exceptional proposals on first submission. Therefore, you should not get discouraged if your proposal is denied for funding. However, most grant programs will offer their applicants the opportunity to receive reviewer comments. You should take advantage of this information. In most cases, careful review of the comments will help not only in your current attempt at obtaining funding, but in your future attempts as well. Even those program officers who do not explicitly offer this service may be willing to explain why your application did not succeed via correspondence or a phone conversation. Above all, be persistent in your attempt to find funding and remain open to the suggested revisions. Doing so will dramatically increase the chances of your project being funded in the future.

Proposal Writing Resources

The following are links to on-line proposal writing guides and resources. Many of these links provide agency specific advice and can be extremely helpful. Keep in mind that, while there may be better way to write a proposal, there is no single “right” way. Following the funding sources guidelines may be your best advice.