New Upgrades for 2021

With many streets quiet this holiday season,

RFPMatchOnDemand and GrantsAlert are shouting 

Merry Christmas and the Happiest Holiday Greetings

to all our Funding Family.

We are closing out 2020 with some upgrades to our tools: RFPMatchOnDemand.com and GrantsAlert.com

Starting on December 29th, 2020, there will be:

  • New, Improved Dashboards
  • Ability to Monitor Your Account
  • Better Notifications

On December 29th, you will need to login in using your EMAIL address, not your user name. Your password will remain the same.

Remember December 29th use your email address to gain access the best funding intelligence for education! Thank you for trusting your funding needs to us. 

Together we bring the 2021 New Year 

The Premier Funding Resources to Make a Difference in Education.

Text…SNS

A catchy article about SNS – Supplement Not Supplant, Sorry Not Sorry written by Marguerite Roza, a research professor at Georgetown University, appeared in early 2019[1]. As many of you are aware, the education field is often dominated and defined by acronyms: NCLB, ESSA, ESSERF, ESEA, RFP, and on and on. Dr. Roza described the SNS text as an appropriate fit for Supplement Not Supplant. Text messages by our youth may contain SNS connoting “sorry not sorry.” Young people may use this phrase when they know they might upset another person with their actions but aren’t actually sorry enough to change their plan. When we examine the changes of Supplement Not Supplant, we might also think of SNS: Sorry Not Sorry.

Definitions and Explanations

Let’s examine SNS: Supplement Not Supplant. It is a regulation requiring school districts receiving federal funds from replacing state, local, or agency funds with federal dollars. Consider the definition of supplement, which means something that completes or makes an addition. Supplant means to supersede and replace. When using funds for an educational project, existing funds may not be displaced (supplanted) by federal funds and reallocated for other organizational expenses. Rather federal agencies encourage adding federal funds to what is available in state, local or agency funds (supplementing). An example might be an educator paid by local sources. That position salary could not be transferred to federal grant funds. In that case, it would be supplanting. To illustrate the concept of supplementing, think about an existing program that has received federal funds. Perhaps the program needs enhancements by updating print or software materials to improve the quality of the student achievement. The school district has clearly articulated how federal funding “builds upon” these materials for the program.

History of SNS

For years, state and local decision makers followed the requirement that grantees may not use Title I funds to replace state and local investments. Then the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) happened and conversations emerged about a change to the SNS requirement. Some school administrators remain in a holding pattern while others continued to apply the technical and methodological way they have always used to ensure compliance. In January 2019, a significant modification in a clarifying document was released by the U.S. Department of Education[2]. Later in June 2019, the U.S. Department of again issued a statement about guidance on supplementing, not supplanting[3]. This guidance promoted effective spending and flexibility.

Federal Program Directors Call to Action

David DeSchryver, a senior Vice President and Director of Research at Whiteboard Advisors, issues a call to action for “grant managers and school leaders to tell better stories about how they are using Title I, along with state and local funds, to improve educational opportunity for at-risk students.”

Instead of examining every item purchased with Title I to ensure compliance, districts now need to “demonstrate that the methodology used to allocate State and local funds to each school receiving Title I ensures that such school receives all of the State and local funds it would otherwise receive if it were not receiving [Title I, Part A funds].” In other words, the new rule, unlike the old one, ensures that districts cannot “backfill” state and local money with Title I dollars in a Title I school. The particular investments that school leaders make with Title I are not critical so long as the costs support the intents and purpose of Title I, Part A for eligible students…Now, all Title I schools, both schoolwide and targeted assistance, benefit from the flexibility. Under NCLB, most schools parsed out core instructional investments from supplemental investments because that’s what Title I has encouraged. That’s no longer necessary. Eligible schools can more easily use Title I to support strategic school-wide investments so long as the Title I contribution benefits eligible students. Should a school want to invest in personalized learning programs that are adaptive to the unique needs of each student, Title I is now part of the conversation, not a barrier to it.[4]

With increased flexibility and effective spending, we are in a time where the days of regulatory uncertainty are, and should be, behind us. There are no traps to navigate. This should signal our leaders of school districts that we are in a new era to improve educational opportunity for at-risk students. Sadly, many good ideas for student services and programs still suffer under bureaucratic decisions. So even with the call to action to move forward, some view these sources as not legally binding and may still be stuck in, “sorry, not sorry.” As educational solution providers, you can be part of the meaningful and effective programming. Encourage and move school leaders forward to spend their funds effectively and flexibility to better meet the needs of our students.

Next Funding Wave: SNS and CARES Funding

As we enter this new era of SNS, suddenly comes COVID-19 and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of March 2020 follow it. Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSERF). These grants are awarded ­to State educational agencies (SEAs) for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools that are LEAs, with emergency relief funds to address the impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools. ESSER funds are allocated in the same proportion as each State received funds under Part A of Title I in fiscal year 2019. Although these funds are being distributed within states according to existing district Title I allocations, do not confuse them with Title I. They are not Title I.

A major difference between these funds and Title I is no supplement not supplant provision. ESSERF does have a maintenance-of-effort requirement, but it also has a waiver option for this for places where state and district revenue for schools cannot remain at prior levels.

A statement from the U. S. Department of Education’s Frequently Asked Questions clearly underlines SNS for the ESSERF.

Are ESSER funds subject to a supplanting prohibition? No. The ESSER Fund does not contain a supplanting prohibition. As a result, ESSER funds may take the place of State or local funds for allowable activities. However, the program does contain a Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirement, which is designed to keep States from substantially reducing their support for K-12 education[5]

Since the CARES Act grant has no SNS clause, it becomes an Unrestricted Federal Grant. Once again, the message for the use of these funds is flexibility. Always remember when thinking about using federal funds, prudent cost principles should be applied. Costs should be:

  1. Reasonable: consistent with business practice and comparable current market value
  2. Necessary: required to carry out the intent and purposes of the program
  3. Allocable: costs should benefit the program.

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2019/02/20/new-education-department-guidance-on-supplement-not-supplant-sorry-not-sorry/

[2]https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-supplement-not-supplant-proposal-helps-promote-effective-spending-flexibility

[3] https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-final-supplement-not-supplant-guidance-helps-promote-effective-spending-flexibility#:~:text=Under%20ESSA%2C%20the%20supplement%20not,be%20used%20to%20replace%20them.

[4] https://fordhaminstitute.org/national/commentary/new-era-title-supplement-not-supplant-requirement-begins

[5] https://oese.ed.gov/files/2020/05/ESSER-Fund-Frequently-Asked-Questions.pdf

 

Sweeten the Peel

It’s Citrus Season at RFPMatch.com – the perfect time to discover new funding sources in education. Many education decision makers are contemplating and conducting comprehensive needs assessments for another school year. This often involves consideration of evidence-based solutions, evaluation of current end of the year spending, and preparation for fresh new spending in the 2020-21 school year. How will you help your customers meet their identified needs?  Funding is the right snack to add to your customer’s recipe for their students’ and school’s success.

Just like this symmetrical orange, funding involves teamwork to make grants meaningful and obtainable. As solution providers, you are in perfect position to work in unity with the schools by offering fresh ideas and some juicy funding sources to turn their needs into attainable and doable solutions.

Right now, your schools may be struggling financially. With school plans underway for the 2020-21 school year, they may feel the squeeze.  Consider the U.S. State of Technology Report 2019 from Promethean World. Administrators report one of the biggest barriers to student success is restriction around budgets.(https://www.prometheanworld.com/microsites/state-of-technology-report/)

Ellen DeGeneres says, “When life gives you lemons…they could really be oranges.” An orange boost your immune system and we want to boost your opportunities to sell better, by addressing the barrier related to funding.

We are pulped to bring you a financial means to support your customers.  Orange you glad you are here?  At RFPMatch.com, we got bushels full of money. We were created to help you succeed and bring the best learning solutions to our nation’s children.

 

 

 

The Fog Lifts and Clear Vision Comes In

The fog is lifting and clear vision is in sight for 2020. The education landscape is giving way to plenty of funding opportunities just waiting for your solutions. As 2019 came to a close, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 ushered in a sunny outlook.

Set your sights on the Department of Education’s discretionary funding of $72.8 billion, up $1.3 billion from FY 2019. Among the formula funds seeing bright increases are:

  • Title I grants to school districts (up $450 million, to $16.3 billion);
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B grants to states (up $400 million, to $12.8 billion);
  • Title II-A Supporting Effective Instruction grants (up $76 million, to $2.1 billion);
  • Title III English Language Acquisition grants (up $50 million, to $787 million);
  • Title IV-A Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants (up $40 million, to $1.2 billion);
  • Title IV-B 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants (up $28 million, to $1.2 billion); and
  • TRIO programs (up $30 million, to $1.1 billion).

Don’t be far sighted because the bill also boosts the maximum federal Pell Grant award per student by $150 to $6,345 for the 2020-21 academic year, as well as increases for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity grants (up $25 million, to $865 million) and Federal Work-Study grants (up $50 million, to $1.2 billion).

The sun continues to shine through for other vital education-related programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, including Head Start (up $550 million, to $10.6 billion), the Child Care and Development Block Grant (up $550 million, to $5.8 billion), and Preschool Development Grants (up $25 million, to $275 million).

The warmth we are about to experience also comprises two other education bills. The Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act makes permanent $255 million in annual funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). The Building Blocks of STEM Act modifies several National Science Foundation (NSF) programs that provide grants to institutions of higher education and non-profit organizations to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education research focused on early childhood.

Keep your sunglasses handy, because the competitive funds are also glowing. Magnet Schools, Teacher and School Leader Programs, Supporting Effective Educator Development Program, Education and Innovation Research, Migrant Education, and Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grants are just a few where the fog is lifting and opportunities emerging.

This is all good news. There is new excitement for a bright year in funding. The rays are coming down making it possible for schools to purchase your solutions. Are you ready to bask in the sun? Grab your sunscreen and get to know which of these funds match your solutions, help your schools understand and take advantage of them, and position your products and services now to be fully ready for the sunshine!

It’s the Time of the Season Filled with Joy

This bright and beautiful time of the year brings a bigger and brighter RFPMatch.com in 2020!

Soon RFPMatch will unwrap a new GrantsAlert, our companion website service for educators, and we want you to share our joy and anticipation. For almost two decades, GrantsAlert is grateful for the educators and community members that follow us to help make a difference in education. Now we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our service to even bigger and better grant opportunities in 2020.

There is also more to unwrap! RFPMatchOnDemand, our funding tool for business, is offering improvements with even more powerful productivity resources.  Most importantly, you have a funding success team committed to help you, our customer.

Our mission is to be your valued partner and resource in the quest for funding by harnessing the power of technology and proven expertise to efficiently assess opportunities.  We do this through our 4 P’s of our mission.

 

The Funding Success Team is getting ready to bring you the best and brightest opportunities in 2020. Sound the trumpets, and get ready to spread the joy as we have many new opportunities ahead for your business sales and marketing teams, our students, our classrooms, our schools, and our communities!

Traveling the Yellow Brick Road of Grant Writing

Year after year as surveys and market research are issued, the top pain point expressed by school and district decision-makers is the lack of funds for education.  In the quest for uncovering the needed financial resources for their students and staff, many turn to grants. In fact, a recent Gallup and NewSchools Venture Fund report noted applying for grants is a key choice of principals (61%) and administrators (75%) to purchase digital learning tools.

Yet when it comes to writing a proposal, the funding challenges are often intensified. Grant writing for schools and school districts can be daunting, complex, time consuming, and resource draining.  But as a company selling to school, you can ease the pain of the grant writing process for your customers. Often an initial reaction might be to hire a grant writer for the school district. Please be aware some states have regulations regarding the commercialization of activities in public schools. The General Accounting Office notes many variances among the states when it comes to commercialization, which includes grants and fundraising.  For instance, one state noted below, issues a clear warning to the districts about “free” grant writing services.


Beware of Free Grant Writing

There are companies that operate online offering “free” grant writing services that are not free. Some require you sign a contract before receiving an award that ask you to purchase from a third party in exchange for their services if awarded.

However, you cannot use grant funds before you receive the award and any purchases must be allowable. Agreements entered into before you receive a grant award are not payable with funds. We recommend that you contact your attorney before entering into any agreements.

From Evaluation Guidelines in RFA: No more than 4% of each program’s total budget can be used for local evaluation efforts. You may NOT use grant funds to pay for grant writing or make purchases, enter into any contract or incur expenses before you have a signed grant agreement. -pg. 22 of Iowa RFA

Example: If you receive an award of $100,000- You may spend up to $4,000 on local evaluation.

Grant Writing expenses are paid with your funds and are not reimbursable with grant funds.


So what are the ways to support the grant writing need? RFPMatch.com uses proven practices based on nearly five decades of funding knowledge and experience in grant writing. Here are some key strategies when working with schools and school districts in grant writing.

  1. Know the target. With a good tool like RFPMatchOnDemand, you will be able to review a host of possible grants. Target those that fit your solution and the schools need. Scope out a wish list of future grants that you can share with the school or district. Consider the deadlines and allow sufficient time for the school district to adequately plan for a response.
  2. Offer In-Kind Support. This might involve a webinar by a grant expert who conducts training on how to write the grant. It could be supplying “grant” language on how your product fits their need and solution. Another support may be compiling research such as white papers and other sources you can share. You may even offer to serve as a “reader,” providing them a different viewpoint during the writing process.
  3. Build Internal Capacity. Instead of hiring grant writers, consider grant coaches who can guide, direct, and give constructive feedback during the process. This empowers the schools to “own” the program and enables them to develop skills and talents to tackle more opportunities in the future. The skills learned in grant writing are transferrable to high quality program planning and development.
  4. Grant a Grant.Should you want a more philanthropic approach, you may want to provide grant-writing services to schools. Again, be mindful of state laws and regulations governing commercial activities in public schools.
  5. Be a Trusted Partner. The best grants are team efforts, as no one should go alone!

As we mentioned on our sister website, GrantsAlert.com, grants are often like the Wizard of Oz.  A lot of noise, confusion and fear that dissipates once the curtain is peeled back.  Yet, also remember there were three others (and Toto) supporting Dorothy to get to the end of the Yellow Brick Road.

Good luck and may you not encounter any flying monkeys, they are the worst.

Stressing About School Spending?

Take the stress out of your sales and marketing efforts by knowing where the money is that states and school districts have to spend.  Did you know the May 2019 U.S. Census Bureau reported an increase in the amount of money spent per pupil? The latest report highlighted some major considerations for school spending, such as:

  • The amount spent per pupil for public elementary and secondary education for all states increased by 3.7% to $12,201 per pupil during the 2017 fiscal year, compared to $11,763 per pupil in 2016.
  • The increase in spending was due in part to an overall increase in revenue for school systems.
  • In 2017, public elementary and secondary education revenue, from all sources, amounted to $694.1 billion, up 3.4% from $671.2 billion in 2016.

A critical strategy to your sales and marketing efforts includes knowing the school districts that have money to spend.  These major highlights are one of the factors to help you target key public school systems.

The 2019-2020 school year calls for a “green” approach to positioning your products and services through funding. Want to learn more about how to target school districts based on the Census Report?  Register at RFPMatchOnDemand.com and go to RESOURCES. Check out the free resource titled Where’s the Money? 

You can also call us at 800-766-8002 or email at info@rfpmatch.com.  Provide us your contact information and we will send you a free $$ Stress Reliever for the school year!

Need to find the money today. It is so easy to get started. Go to

https://www.rfpmatchondemand.com

 

Funding: Something to Laugh About When Selling to Schools?

 

“Using funding information is just laughable.”

“I don’t have the time.”

“You want me to find the money for schools to buy my product? Not my responsibility!”

“My customers should know where their money is to buy my product.”

“This funding information is not worth the investment.”

These are real statements expressed to me when I share funding insights and actions with education companies. Yet, I also hear sales and marketing executives tell me they feel they are going against the grain when selling to schools with tight education budgets. Now in my 46th year of working with public education and with private industry, the focus I have is always that funding continues to be no laughing matter. I have “lived” with schools, districts, and states that struggle with the need for financial resources and I have also “lived” with education companies that struggle to bring much-needed products and solutions to make a difference for learning. And there lies the big gap — the financial hurdle between the need for your solution and the uncertainty or lack of means to procure it.

As a sales or marketing expert, you are in a pivotal position to help bridge the gap. We know selling involves the need to build a trusting relationship with potential customers.  Naturally you want to educate and help your customers on recognizing the value of your product, but you can also build credibility by showing them how to tap into revenue streams. However, first youneed to have understanding what reliable revenue streams that purchasers can use to purchase your products and services. When the two of you can transfer this funding knowledge together, you have earned trust.

Here at RFPMatch.com we believe we should always strive for laughter and fun in the work that we do. My horse and I often laugh together and in doing so, we build a trusting bond. We want you to build that bond with your customers. And we want you to put the fun back in funding!

 

Request for Proposal (RFP) Three Reasons to Fall In Love

February is a time of year when we are surrounded by images and messages of love. Perhaps you, or someone you know, may be considering a Request for Proposal to the love in your life. At RFPMatch.com we fall in love everyday with being able to help companies uncover the best resources to make a […]

Fall Ushers in New Funding

The fall season has arrived on the farm. In many places like my farm, leaves change colors, students are back in school, football kicks off, and bonfires burn bright. This seasonal shift is also true for funding. As fall arrives, so does the arrival of allocated funds to many local school districts. Fall often signals the beginning of the start of the Fall Funds Falling!

We often hear that grants are all about timing. But did you know that timelines don’t really tell the story? Throughout the year funds continuously fall. Discussing what funds are available and what they can be used for during your conversations with education decisions makers is a key selling strategy.

Typically, the fall season is a time when schools are spending newly authorized federal formula funds for the current fiscal year. In addition, schools might also be looking for ways to spend carryover funds from previous fiscal years before the October 30 deadline.

Fall is also a time when grantees for many discretionary funding programs are announced. Several that were announced in the past week are the Education Innovation & Research awards and the COPS School Violence Prevention Program.  Did any of your potential partners receive grants through those programs?

This fall, before you enter the school building for meetings, consider your funding plan and how it aligns with the school’s funding sources. Be knowledgeable about the funds to enable decision makers to procure your products and services. Remember, right now funds are emerging throughout school districts. Are you prepared to rake them in?