Grants Work in a Congressional Office

Congressional offices are often approached by constituents seeking funds for proposals of potential benefit to their State or district. This report discusses the grants process and varying approaches and techniques congressional offices have developed in dealing with grants requests.

"/ ' * Report No. 82-22 C GRANTS WORK IN A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE by Rhoda Newman Team Leader Congressional Reference Division COMPLIMENTS OF Gene Snyder January 1982 1 The Congressional Research Service works exclusively for the Congress, conducting research, analyzing legislation, and providing information at the request of committees, Members, and their staffs. The Service makes such research available, without partisan bias, in many forms including studies, reports, compilations, digests, and background briefings. Upon request, CRS assists committees in analyzing legdative proposals and issues, and in assessing the possible effects of these proposals and their alternatives. The Service's senior specialists and subject analysts are also available for personal consultations in their respective fields of expertise. ABSTRACT Congressional offices are often approached by constituents seeking funds for proposals of potential benefit t o their State o r district. This report discusses the grants process and varying approaches and techniques congressional offices have developed i n dealing with grants requests. CONTENTS ........................................................ 1 BENEFITS AND PITFALLS OF GRANTS WORK .......................... 2 DEPTH OF INVOLVEMENT .................................... 3 WAYS CONGRESSIONAL GRANTS STAFF CAN ASSIST CONSTITUENTS ....... 4 A . E x p l a i n i n g How t h e System Works ........................... 4 B . N o t i f y i n g C o n s t i t u e n t s About A v a i l a b l e G r a n t s ............. 4 C . Understanding Problems Encountered by 5 G r a n t s A p p l i c a n t s ........................................ D . Suggesting A l t e r n a t i v e s t o F e d e r a l Funding ................ 6 E . Counseling on P r o p o s a l W r i t i n g ............................ 7 F . E s t a b l i s h i n g and M a i n t a i n i n g C o n t a c t s ..................... 8 G . Announcing G r a n t s Awards .................................. 1 1 GRANTS OPERATIONS I N THE OFFICE ............................... 1 2 A . Tools ..................................................... 1 2 B . Working w i t h t h e L e g i s l a t i v e S t a f f i n Your O f f i c e on I s s u e s of I n t e r e s t .................................... 1 3 C . Cooperation Within D e l e g a t i o n s ............................ 1 3 INTRODUCTION I . I1 . I11 IV . . S e c r e t a r i a l p r o d u c t i o n a s s i s t a n c e was provided by Mamie E . Muse . CRS- 1 INTRODUCTION Congressional offices are often approached by local officials, organizations, and individuals seeking assistance in obtaining funds for proposals of potential benefit to their State or district. While grants assistance offers one of the most visible means by which Members of Congress can work directly for the people they represent, there can be certain drawbacks to congressional involvement. Each office weighs the advantages and disadvantages of grants assistance before deciding how much help it will offer its constituents. This report is addressed to Members of Congress and their staffs who are either learning to make these decisions, looking for new ideas, or refreshing their memories. GRANTS WORK IN A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE I. BENEFITS AND PITFALLS OF GRANTS WORK Grants work benefits a congressional office when a project is awarded to its district or State as a result of conqressional assistance. Coneres- sional help for projects like disaster relief and services to the homebound elderly can earn the gratitude of all constituents, not just beneficiaries of the program and grant applicants. Good will can be generated even froa groups whose proposals have been turned down by Federal agencies, but who nonetheless appreciate the congressional guidance and support they have received in the grants process. As for the problems in grants involvement, it should first be noted that increasing competition for a dwindling pool of funds reduces the likelihood of success for any given proposal. Furthermore, in those cases where several groups in a district or State apply for the same grant and seek congressional endorsement, Member intervention for any constituents can antaqonize others. The very act of helping a constituent get a grant may have certain intrinsic drawbacks. In the first place, some requests are self-seekin~and do not represent real needs in the community. There is potential hazard, too, in backing an applicant who may prove unreliable, a hazard which can be lessened by investigating the applicant's record. A c o n g r e s s i o n a l g r a n t s s t a f f ' s e f f e c t i v e n e s s depends on b o t h a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e g r a n t s p r o c e s s and on s k i l l w i t h a g e n c y c o n t a c t s . agencies o f t e n r e q u i r e d i f f e r e n t approaches; Different t h e wrong a p p r o a c h by a con- g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e on a c u r r e n t g r a n t p r o p o s a l c a n i n j u r e n o t o n l y i t s c h a n c e s , but can j e o p a r d i z e t h e chances f o r f u t u r e c o n g r e s s i o n a l i n t e r v e n t i o n on b e h a l f of o t h e r c o n s t i t u e n t s . 11. DEPTH OF INVOLVEMENT Every c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e c a n s e r v e i t s c o n s t i t u e n t s by t e a c h i n g them how t h e g r a n t s s y s t e m works. an office--with The q u e s t i o n i s how much a d d i t i o n a l e f f o r t c a n i t s l i m i t e d t i m e , s t a f f , and f u n d s - - a f f o r d ? on a v a r i e t y o f f a c t o r s : What i s t h e The answer d e p e n d s ember's p h i l o s o p h y a b o u t g r a n t s work? What i s h i s o r h e r p o s i t i o n on F e d e r a l i n t e r v e n t i o n a t t h e l o c a l l e v e l ? How c l o s e l y does a p a r t i c u l a r proposal r e l a t e t o h i s o r h e r l e g i s l a t i v e a c t i v i t i e s ? I s a s p e c i f i c p r o j e c t one i n which t h e Member i s e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t e d ? Economic and p o l i t i c a l c o n d i t i o n s i n a g i v e n d i s t r i c t o r S t a t e a r e o t h e r f a c t o r s t o be considered b e f o r e t e n d e r i n g c o n g r e s s i o n a l s u p p o r t . a r e a s of g r e a t e s t need? and r e g u l a t i o n s ? What a r e t h e What i s t h e l o c a l a t t i t u d e toward F e d e r a l a s s i s t a n c e What k i n d s o f a s s i s t a n c e h a v e t h e r e b e e n i n t h e p a s t ? k i n d s of a s s i s t a n c e have neighboring d i s t r i c t s o r S t a t e s r e c e i v e d ? What What w i l l be t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r a S t a t e o r d i s t r i c t i f a p a r t i c u l a r g r a n t i s awarded? ( F o r example, what a r e t h e a d v a n t a g e s o f a new f r e e w a y weighed a g a i n s t t h e d i s p l e a s u r e of d i s p l a c e d r e s i d e n t s ? ) F i n a l l y , b e f o r e o f f e r i n g s u p p o r t , a c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e w i l l want t o a s s e s s t h e m e r i t s of e a c h e r a n t p r o p o s a l and i t s c h a n c e o f s u c c e s s . 111. WAYS CONGRESSIONAL GRANTS STAFF CAN ASSIST CONSTITUENTS A. Explaining How the System Works A good start towards understanding the grants process can be gained by looking at CRS Info Pack 0050, "Grants and Foundation Support," which discusses sources of information on Federal programs and private foundations and contains a report on how to write a grant proposal. Info Pack 0050 is available for distribution to constituents. Besides the major sources of information on Federal funding (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and the Federal Register), certain data bases are available to Congress and provide access to Federal grant information. GRANTS, for example, serves House offices. Senate offices should contact the Senate Library. Constituents have varying degrees of sophistication when it comes to seeking grants, Many do not know that grants information is readily available and that it is not necessary for them to hire a grants consultant if they are willing to do the work themselves. They may also not know that much of the published material may be available at either a large public or a university library in their area, particularly at libraries that serve as depositories of U.S. Government Publications. B. Notifying Constituents about Available Grants Mailings are one way to inform constituents of recent developments of special interest. Some offices send out a general grants newsletter or a targeted mailing reporting on notices in the Federal Register, describing new programs and changes in deadlines or regulations for current programs. Seminars o n Federal and private assistance are another information service that can be offered constituents. Some offices sponsor programs which bring together Federal, State, and local officials, academic and corporate specialists, experienced volunteers, and constituents--all with similar concerns. Many agencies are willing to provide speakers for seminars arranged by congressional offices and to provide exhibit materials such as sample proposals and lists of information contacts. Seminars in which congressional offices have been the catalysts between constituents and the bureaucracy have proven especially effective on such topics as energy conservation and historic preservation. While well-planned, balanced programs tailored to the particular concerns of an audience can create good will, coordinating and following through on such meetings take a great deal of staff work and time. I f successful, such programs may also result in additional demands being made on an office. C. Understanding Problems Encountered by Grants Applicants Congressional staff expertise and contacts can prove to be quite useful to inexperienced grants seekers faced with p r o b l e ~ ssuch as identifying the most appropriate fundinq source, coping with the intricacies of application and follow-up procedures, and dealing with uncertainties about funding, delays, and red tape. Constituents can best be served by being put in touch quickly with program officers at the level closest to then. The sane holds true for beins put in touch with development districts and councils of governments, which are funded to provide technical assistance in the application process. T r o u b l e s h o o t i n g may b e t h e most tine-consuming g r a n t s o p e r a t i o n , b u t i t i s o f t e n t h e e f f o r t most a p p r e c i a t e d by c o n s t i t u e n t s . D. S u g g e s t i n g A l t e r n a t i v e s t o F e d e r a l Funding I n budget-cutting t i m e s , t h e success t h a t c o n s t i t u e n t s have i n securing a s s i s t a n c e c a n depend on t h e f l e x i b i l i t y and i n a g i n a t i o n a c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e can o f f e r i n suggesting a l t e r n a t i v e s t o Federal funding. should b e d i s c o u r a g e d . Some r e q u e s t s Not b a c k i n g a p r o p o s a l t h a t i s u n l i k e l y t o win agency a p p r o v a l c a n s a v e c o n s t i t u e n t s t h e t i m e and e f f o r t t h e y would spend o n an application. I n o t h e r i n s t a n c e s , congressional s t a f f can h e l p c o n s t i t u e n t s r e a l i z e t h a t t h e r e g u l a t i o n s , paperwork, and d e l a y s r e q u i r e d f o r a p a r t i c u l a r F e d e r a l g r a n t might p r e s e n t t o o much o f a d r a i n on t h e i r e n e r g y and r e s o u r c e s , and e n c o u r a g e them t o s e e k f u n d i n g e l s e w h e r e . It should a l s o b e p o i n t e d o u t t o c o n s t i t u e n t s s e e k i n g F e d e r a l a s s i s t a n c e from Washington, t h a t a s a r e s u l t o f t h e i n c r e a s e d u s e o f b l o c k g r a n t s , S t a t e , c i t y , and c o u n t y o f f i c i a l s now c o n t r o l a much g r e a t e r s h a r e o f t h e d i s t r i b u t i o n o f F e d e r a l f u n d s . Funds and o t h e r h e l p from p r i v a t e and c o r p o r a t e f o u n d a t i o n s d e s e r v e t h e a t t e n t i o n of congressional o f f i c e s . S t a t e , l o c a l , and p r i v a t e . So d o e s a p o s s i b l e mix o f f u n d i n g : Federal, P r i v a t e f o u n d a t i o n s , f o r example, h a v e f r e q u e n t l y provided seed money f o r a d e m o n s t r a t i o n p r o j e c t which l a t e r r e c e i v e d S t a t e o r Federal backing. There w i l l b e some p r o j e c t s f o r which o n l y l i m i t e d f u n d s a r e a v a i l a b l e . However, t h e r e may b e o t h e r r e s o u r c e s i n a community which c a n be t a p p e d . C o n s t i t u e n t s can be a l e r t e d t o t h e occasional w i l l i n g n e s s of l o c a l governments, f o u n d a t i o n s , o r i n d i v i d u a l s t o p r o v i d e a s s i s t a n c e by d o n a t i n g p r o p e r t y , b u i l d i n g s , CRS- 7 o r expertise for a project. Another p o s s i b i l i t y i s t h e s h a r i n g of s t a f f , s p a c e , o r equipment w i t h o t h e r like-minded g r o u p s . F i n a l l y , n o n - p r o f i t g r o u p s c a n c o n s i d e r new a p p r o a c h e s t o fund r a i s i n g . For example, c o r p o r a t i o n s o r l o c a l governments may b e w i l l i n g t o c o n t r a c t f o r t h e s e r v i c e s of e s t a b l i s h e d groups t h a t have demonstrated t h e i r worth, o r such g r o u p s may h a v e t o b e g i n c h a r g i n g f e e s f o r some o f t h e s e r v i c e s t h e y now o f f e r f o r f r e e . E. C o u n s e l i n g on P r o p o s a l W r i t i n g D e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n on p r o p o s a l w r i t i n g c a n b e found i n CRS I n f o Pack 0050. While most c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s do n o t a c t u a l l y w r i t e p r o p o s a l s , t h e y a r e a b l e t o p r o v i d e t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s w i t h a n u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f what makes a good p r o p o s a l . Some o f t h e s u g g e s t i o n s which t h e y c a n p a s s on a r e t h e f 01lowing : --Allow s u f f i c i e n t t i m e t o p r e p a r e a well-documented p r o p o s a l , w e l l before the application deadline, I f p o s s i b l e , h a v e someone o u t s i d e t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n c r i t i q u e t h e proposal p r i o r t o submission. --Follow t h e i n s t r u c t i o n s g i v e n i n t h e a p p l i c a t i o n form o r i n o t h e r m a t e r i a l p r o v i d e d by t h e agency o r i n s t i t u t i o n . --Be Answer q u e s t i o n s a s a s k e d . s u r e t h a t t h e p r o p o s a l i s c l e a r and b r i e f . p a i n s t o make t h e p r o p o s a l i n t e r e s t i n g . t o d e v o t e t o any s i n g l e p r o p o s a l . Avoid j a r g o n . Take Reviewing p a n e l s h a v e l i m i t e d t i m e Whenever p o s s i b l e f i t t h e s t y l e o f t h e p r o p o s a l t o t h e s t y l e of t h e agency o r i n s t i t u t i o n b e i n g a p p r o a c h e d . --When no form or instructions far submitting grant proposals are provided, the proposal should include: A cover letter on the applicant's letterhead giving a brief description of the purpose and amount of the grant proposal, conveying the applicant's willingness to discuss the proposal in further detail A half-page summary which includes identification of the applicant, the reasons for the request, proposed objectives and means to accomplish them, along with the total cost of the project, an indication of any funds already obtained, and the amount being requested for this proposal A n introduction, in which the history, credentials, and accomplishments of the applicant are presented A description of current conditions demonstrating the need for the proposed project A statement of the project's objectives in specific, measurable terms A description of the methods to be used to accomplish these objectives A description of the means by which the project would be monitored A discussion of any plans that may exist for continuing the project beyond the period covered by the grant A budget Establishing and Maintaining Contacts Contacts are particularly valuable when seeking grants; they require time and experience to develop. As a rule, congressional offices seek out agency officials and program officers responsible for the programs of greatest local interest. Also useful are contacts with State and local governments, Federal regional councils, and councils of governments. relationships enable congressional staff to call upon the professional expertise of such officials. Good F o r c o n g r e s s i o n a l s t a f f who a r e new t o g r a n t s work, t h e r e a r e s e v e r a l p u b l i c a t i o n s whichmay prove h e l p f u l a s a s t a r t i n g p o i n t i n seeking c o n t a c t s . Both t h e C a t a l o g o f F e d e r a l D a n e s t i c A s s i s t a n c e and t h e U.S. Goverrment Manual l i s t S t a t e and r e g i o n a l o f f i c e s o f e x e c u t i v e a g e n c i e s - - t h e i n c l u d e s s a n e progran o f f i c e r s , and d e v e l o p n e n t d i s t r i c t s . Catalog S t a t e d i r e c t o r i e s l i s t S t a t e planning o f f i c e s T h e s e i n i t i a l c o n t a c t s c a n l e a d t o t h e progran o f f i c i a l s a t t h e l o c a l l e v e l who a r e o f t h e g r e a t e s t h e l p i n g r a n t s work. However, t h e a t t i t u d e s t h a t o f f i c e s h a v e a b o u t d e a l i n g w i t h a g e n c y o f f i c i a l s vary. Sane o f f i c e s v i e w t h e s e c o n t a c t s a s a n a t u r a l e x t e n s i o n of t h e i r d u t i e s t o r e p r e s e n t t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s . O t h e r s , however, h a v e e x p r e s s e d c o n c e r n t h a t such c o n t a c t s m i g h t v i o l a t e t h e s e p a r a t i o n o f powers o f t h e l e g i s l a t i v e and e x e c u t i v e b r a n c h e s , a n d m i g h t b e v i e w e d a s a n i n a p p r o p r i a t e use of t h e i r p o s i t i o n s . On o c c a s i o n , scme c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s approach a n agency b e f o r e a c o n s t i t u e n t a p p l i e s f o r a p a r t i c u l a r progran t o d i s c u s s t h e a v a i l a b i l i t y of funds, S a n e t i m e s a g i v e n p r o j e c t i s c o n s i d e r e d i m p o r t a n t enough by a n o f f i c e t o m e r i t b r i n g i n g a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e o f f i c e , t h e c o n s t i t u e n t , and r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of a n agency t o g e t h e r f o r a d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e p r o j e c t . I n o t h e r c a s e s , sane c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s i n f o m t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s of t h e w i l l i n g n e s s o f agency o f f i c i a l s t o p r a r i d e p r o c e d u r a l rev iew o f p r o p o s a l s one o r t w o n o n t h s b e f o r e t h e a p p l i c a t i o n d e a d l i n e . Such a r e v i e w , w h i l e n o t d e a l i n g w i t h t h e s u b s t a n c e o f a p r o p o s a l , a l l o w s a n agency t o i n f o n t h e a p p l i c a n t o f any t e c h n i c a l p r o b l m s o r m i s s i o n s t o b e c o r r e c t e d b e f o r e t h e proposal i s f o m a l l y s u b n i t t e d . Yet a n o t h e r s e r v i c e i s o f f e r e d by some c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s . Once t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s n o t i f y them t h a t a p r o p o s a l h a s b e e n s u b m i t t e d , a l e t t e r i s s e n t t o t h e agency e x p r e s s i n g t h e Member's i n t e r e s t i n b e i n g k e p t informed on developments r e l a t i n g t o t h i s a p p l i c a t i o n . I n addition, a congressional o f f i c e w i l l sometimes a s k t h e agency i n q u e s t i o n t o p r o v i d e a l i s t o f a l l of the other applicants for a particular grant. This l i s t enables t h e o f f i c e , i f i t w i s h e s , t o c o n s i d e r i n i t i a t i n g l e t t e r s from t h e Member t o t h o s e a p p l i c a n t s i n t h e S t a t e o r d i s t r i c t who had n o t approached t h e o f f i c e p r i o r t o submission of t h e i r g r a n t a p p l i c a t i o n . The l e t t e r i n d i c a t e s t h e w i l l i n g n e s s of t h e Member t o s e r v e a l l o f t h o s e h e o r s h e r e p r e s e n t s . Some o f f i c e s h e s i t a t e t o o f f e r such g r a n t s a s s i s t a n c e , however, f o r f e a r o f a d d i n g e x t r a work t o a n a l r e a d y heavy l o a d . I f a Member i s i n t e r e s t e d more i n t h e s u c c e s s o f a p a r t i c u l a r a p p l i c a n t e i t h e r from t h e s t a r t o r a f t e r a p r e l i m i n a r y round o f s e l e c t i o n s , h e o r s h e may send a l e t t e r o f s u p p o r t , a l o n g w i t h a r e q u e s t t o b e k e p t informed o f a l l developments. Timing, d u r i n g t h i s e n t i r e p r o c e d u r e , c a n b e c r i t i c a l . Constituents a s k i n g f o r i n t e r v e n t i o n s t a n d t h e b e s t chance of s u c c e s s i f t h e y c a l l upon a c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e a s soon a s p o s s i b l e . Some c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s k e e p a follow-up c a l e n d a r o f a p p l i c a t i o n and award d a t e s , and n o t i f y t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s of s t e p - b y - s t e p contacts. developments a s t h e y r e c e i v e p r o g r e s s r e p o r t s from t h e i r agency CRS- 11 Announcing G r a n t s Awards While t h e r e i s some v a r i a t i o n , t h e u s u a l announcement p r o c e d u r e i s f o r t h e agency t h a t awards t h e g r a n t t o n o t i f y t h e S e n a t e o f f i c e f i r s t , t h e n t h e House o f f i c e , and f i n a l l y t h e r e c i p i e n t . publicly. grants. Not a l l awards a r e announced F o r example, t h e r e i s u s u a l l y no n o t i f i c a t i o n o f F e d e r a l f o r m u l a Even s o , a n agency may b e w i l l i n g t o a l e r t a c o n q r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e t o t h e i s s u a n c e of such awards, i f t h e o f f i c e s o wishes. C o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e s v a r y i n t h e e x t e n t t h a t t h e y p u b l i c i z e awards t o their State or district. An o f f i c e t r y i n g t o e s t a b l i s h o r r e c o n s i d e r i t s award p u b l i c i t y p o l i c y f a c e s s e v e r a l q u e s t i o n s : Should a l l awards o f which i t h a s b e e n n o t i f i e d b e announced, o r o n l y t h o s e g r a n t s w i t h which t h e o f f i c e h a s been d i r e c t l y i n v o l v e d ? When t h e r e c i p i e n t i s a l o c a l o f f i c i a l , i s t h e o f f i c e b e t t e r served by n o t i f y i n g t h e r e c i p i e n t b e f o r e o r a f t e r going t o press? As a follow-up t o t h e announcement of a n award, a c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e may want t o send a l e t t e r o f n o t i f i c a t i o n t o a l l o f t h e p e o p l e who had w r i t t e n them a b o u t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r p r o j e c t . A t t h i s t i m e , some o f f i c e s a l s o make a p o i n t o f s e n d i n g l e t t e r s o f a p p r e c i a t i o n t o agency o f f i c i a l s who were especially helpful. I n c a s e s where g r a n t a p p l i c a t i o n s h a v e b e e n t u r n e d down, many o f f i c e s n o t i f y t h e i r c o n s t i t u e n t s o f t h e i r r i s h t t o know why t h e y h a v e n o t r e c e i v e d t h e award and what t h e a p p e a l s p r o c e s s i s . C o n s t i t u e n t s can be given t h e chance t o a s k t h e agency f o r a n a n a l y s i s o f t h e s t r e n g t h s and w e a k n e s s e s of t h e i r p r o p o s a l , o r t h e y c a n g i v e t h e agency p e r m i s s i o n t o g i v e t h e c o n g r e s sional o f f i c e t h i s information. o r not t o reapply. This w i l l h e l p t h e c o n s t i t u e n t d e c i d e whether IV. GRANT OPERATIONS I N A CONGRESSIONAL OFFICE A. Tools A G r a n t s Manual o u t l i n i n g p o l i c i e s and p r o c e d u r e s c a n b e a v a l u a b l e t o o l f o r insuring continuity, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e case of s t a f f turnover and s h i f t i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s . Some i t e m s t o b e c o n s i d e r e d f o r i n c l u s i o n i n such a manual a r e : --A w r i t t e n r e c o r d o f t h e Member's p o l i c y on l e t t e r s o f e n d o r s e ment and on p r e s s announcements, a l o n g w i t h samples --A c h e c k l i s t o f p r o c e d u r e s t o f a c i l i t a t e t h e t r a i n i n g o f new staffers --Sample p r o j e c t w o r k s h e e t s , a l l o w i n g s p a c e f o r agency c o n t a c t s , s t a t u s r e p o r t s , and follow-up t i m e t a b l e A c o n g r e s s i o n a l o f f i c e may wish t o m a i n t a i n d e t a i l e d , c r o s s - r e f e r e n c e d f i l e s , including: 1. Agency F i l e s a . Program f i l e s w i t h d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e most f r e q u e n t l y u s e d programs i n t h e d i s t r i c t o r S t a t e w i t h a f a c t s h e e t on c o n g r e s s i o n a l l e t t e r h e a d d e s c r i b i n g e a c h program, agency b r o c h u r e s , c o n t a c t s , e t c . . c. 2. P r o j e c t f i l e s c o n t a i n i n g l i s t s of a p p l i c a n t s f o r each p r o j e c t , Some o f f i c e s k e e p r e c o r d s of t h e s t e p s t a k e n i n support of a l l g r a n t a p p l i c a t i o n s a s documentation. (House o f f i c e s may s e e k t h e a s s i s t a n c e o f t h e House I n f o r m a t i o n Systems i n s e t t i n g up a c o m p u t e r i z e d g r a n t s file. ) Follow-up c a l e n d a r C o n s t i t u e n t f i l e s by c o u n t y . These c a n prove e s p e c i a l l y u s e f u l f o r t h e ember's v i s i t s t o h i s o r h e r S t a t e o r d i s t r i c t . I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e c o r r e s p o n d e n c e connected w i t h e a c h g r a n t a p p l i c a t i o n , l o c a l p r e s s c o v e r a g e of awards c a n b e i n c l u d e d . These c l i p p i n g s , a l o n g w i t h l e t t e r s from g r a t e f u l c o n s t i t u e n t s , c a n s e r v e a s a source of favorable quotes i n an e l e c t i o n year. A weekly g r a n t s r e p o r t i s a n o t h e r t o o l used by some g r a n t s s t a f f t o keep t h e i r Members and o t h e r s t a f f e r s informed o f g r a n t s a c t i v i t i e s . It can include announcements of g r a n t s which h a v e been awarded, agency news, v i s i t o r s , and projections f o r t h e future. Working With t h e L e g i s l a t i v e S t a f f i n Your O f f i c e on I s s u e s o f I n t e r e s t O f f i c e s having a s t r o n g i n t e r e s t i n t h e g r a n t s o p e r a t i o n u s u a l l y keep t h e i r l e g i s l a t i v e s t a f f informed a b o u t procrams which h a v e p r o v e n p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e i n t h e d i s t r i c t o r S t a t e , and i n which t h e r e i s a p t t o b e s t r o n g constituent interest, Once a b i l l w i t h which t h e Member h a s b e e n i d e n t i f i e d becomes law, c o n s t i t u e n t s w i l l o f t e n p r o v i d e f e e d b a c k on w h e t h e r t h e l e q i s l a t i v e i n t e n t i s being carried out. Along w i t h s u g g e s t i o n s f o r ways t o improve programs, c o n s t i t u e n t s f r e q u e n t l y h a v e comments on p r o p o s e d r e g u l a t i o n s and l e g i s l a t i v e changes. L e g i s l a t i v e s t a f f c a n b e n e f i t from t h e s u b s t a n t i a l con- t r i b u t i o n s t o c o n g r e s s i o n a l o v e r s i g h t which come t h r o u g h t h e g r a n t s s t a f f . C. Cooperation Within Delegations C o o p e r a t i o n among Members of a S t a t e d e l e g a t i o n on g r a n t s work c a n c u t down c o n s i d e r a b l y on d u p l i c a t i o n o f e f f o r t . Moreover, t h e i m p a c t o f s e v e r a l Members a p p r o a c h i n g a n agency j o i n t l y i n s u p p o r t o f a p r o j e c t may b e g r e a t e r t h a n t h a t of one Member working i n d i v i d u a l l y . t i o n s can l i m i t t h e amount of such c o o p e r a t i o n . However, p o l i t i c a l c o n s i d e r a -