Scoring a 92 or Better for a Drug Free Communities Grant Essay

Scoring a 92 or Better for a Drug Free Communities Grant Essay

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Writing a successful Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant has become increasingly challenging with decreased levels of funding for the program and continued large numbers of applicants. Each year, SAMHSA receives approximately 500 applications. On average, about one-third of the applications are funded, although in 2011 only 19.2% of applications received funding, and in 2012 that number dropped to 16.5%, the smallest number of applications funded since 2002. In the FY2006 funding cycle, applicants had to score 82 or better to receive funding, but by 2013 the minimum score had increased by 10 points, to 92. What then does a coalition need to do to increase their chances of scoring high enough to get funded? Following are some suggestions for developing a successful DFC application.

While DFC staff insist the DFC grant application is simple, it is, in fact, a complex federal grant with very specific requirements that must be met. Coalitions must understand the two-part DFC application review process. The first review occurs when SAMHSA receives the applications, and eligibility screeners from ONDCP and SAMHSA review each application to ensure compliance with the statutory eligibility requirements outlined in the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 and other requirements such as the application due date and format requirements such as page limitations.. Failure to meet even a single requirement may make an application ineligible and it will not proceed to Peer Review for scoring. , It is very easy to make a simple mistake and therefore be contacted for clarification, or worse, rejected altogether. Other times, Coalitions are contacted for clarification because the eligibility screeners could not find something that was clearly p...

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...example, (Action Plan example)***

Finally, set aside enough time to carefully review your proposal. During this review, ensure that your story is consistent. Proposals should make a strong case, show a compelling need and show how the proposed activities will effectively address that need. Your Action Plan should name the same target substances you identified in your Community Needs section. The strategies and activities in the action plan should directly relate to your target substances, and your budget should include only the costs associated with those strategies and activities. Use the scoring criteria and point allocations to make sure all RFA requirements are addressed, and score the section as though you were the reviewer. Lastly, allocate enough time at the end of this process to address any delinquencies you find, before submitting your final proposal.

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