Marcus Weiss of the Economic Development Assistance Consortium offers these helpful hints on how best to prepare your proposal for OCS.

1. Read the Notice carefully, highlighting agency priorities for this particular round of funding (e.g., “programs assisting non-custodial parents”).

2. Find the proposal grading elements in the Notice and place a copy on bulletin boards of all staff participating in drafting or editing the proposal.

3. Outline each sub-element described in each grading criterion and ensure that adequate text is provided addressing each sub-element.

4. Use headers and italics, as necessary, to allow reviewer to easily determine that you have covered every item in his/her grading template.

5. Verify that your Table of Contents shows the grader where key elements and sub-elements may be found.

6. Clarify your organization’s capability in operating the type of program you are proposing.

7. Depict the capabilities of board members, consultants, collaborating organizations and advisory task force members particularly when your staff has less experience in proposed programmatic areas.

8. Identify your project management team and determine whether your proposal suggests sufficient staff time allocations.

9. Demonstrate that your approach has a strong likelihood of connecting low-income persons to permanent, family sustaining employment.

10. Include detailed funding support letters with references to your past programmatic successes and proposed initiatives.

11. Send sample letters to funding sources and other supporters at least three weeks prior to submission deadlines.

12. Consider additional activities suggested in the “best practices” and web sites listed in “Building Partnerships Between State TANF Initiatives and CDCs: A Guidebook for Practitioners and State Officials”, prepared for OCS and published by the National Congress for Community Economic Development, Washington, D.C.