NACCHO is pleased to announce a funding opportunity to promote monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of syringe services programs (SSPs) and support the use of data for SSP program improvement.
With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in partnership with the University of Washington (UW), NACCHO will provide funding and technical assistance to local health department (LHD) and community-based SSPs to strengthen M&E efforts and systems. For the purposes of this funding opportunity, M&E includes routine (e.g., intake or encounter-level) and periodic (e.g., surveys) and quantitative or qualitative data collection, management, analysis, evaluation, and reporting. Applicants can request up to $98,750 to support project activities. Applications are due May 21, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT. For additional information, access the Request for Applications (RFA) here.
Webinar & Office Hours:
- Informational Webinar: On Monday, April 26, NACCHO hosted an informational webinar for potential applicants. The recording can be accessed here and the slides can be accessed here.
- Offices Hours: Software for SSPs: The RFA includes an Appendix that characterizes common software used by SSPs. If you have additional questions regarding software, join NACCHO and UW for office hours, which will be held Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 PM ET from April 27 – May 18. You can sign up for or join office hours using this Zoom link. Applicants are strongly encouraged to sign up for a specific time slot here. Questions can be submitted in advance of each session via the sign up form or by emailing Kelly Knudtson, SSP Measurement and Evaluation Technical Assistance Program Manager, at UW (email@example.com).
Application Submission & Attachments:
Applicants will need to submit the following documents to Kat Kelley, Senior Program Analyst, HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis (firstname.lastname@example.org)—using the subject line “RFA Submission – Building Capacity for Harm Reduction Monitoring and Evaluation”—by Friday, May 21, 2021 at 11:59 PM PT. For additional information, access the RFA here.
- Application Form (Word, PDF)
- Budget Template and narrative
- Contract Cover Sheet
- Vendor Information Form
- Certification of Non-Debarment
- FFATA data collection form
- Optional: Letters of Support from partner organizations
To confirm that the applicant can agree to NACCHO’s standard contract terms and conditions and provide the information and documentation needed to complete NACCHO’s invoicing process, applicants are also expected to review the following documents:
- NACCHO’s Standard Subaward Agreement Language
- Invoicing instructions
- Contractor Financial Report (i.e., invoice submission form)
Frequently Asked Questions:
This section will be updated on a regular basis with any key questions posed by potential applicants during the informational webinar or submitted to NACCHO and/or UW via email. Questions related to software are addressed here.
Eligible Organizations & Partnerships
UPDATED - 5/5/21
Q: Are state health departments or community-based organizations that support SSPs eligible to apply?
A: State health departments (SHDs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) that support SSPs are eligible to apply if they directly operate (not just fund/support) SSPs (i.e., they distribute syringes). Otherwise, SHDs and CBOs can only apply in partnership with SSPs or as fiscal sponsors of SSPs.
To apply in partnership with SSPs, the SHD or CBO must submit Letters of Support from at least one SSP in their jurisdiction that explain how the lead applicant and SSP(s) will work together to implement project activities. The intent of the RFA is to build M&E capacity of SSPs, and so a significant and meaningful role for SSP partners is an important part of eligibility. SHDs and CBOs applying in partnership with SSPs must be able to describe how the project will primarily benefit SSPs and increase the capacity of their SSP partners to conduct M&E and use M&E data.
Fiscal sponsors provide administrative and financial services and oversight to SSPs and directly receive funding from NACCHO and administer it to SSPs. While they can retain a portion of the funding to administer and oversee the project, including to provide M&E capacity-building assistance to SSPs, they must provide funding directly to SSPs to be considered a fiscal sponsor. Fiscal sponsors should also include Letters of Support from the SSP(s) they will be working with.
Q: Is this opportunity open to SSPs with comprehensive data collection systems in place or only for those just getting started?
A: This funding opportunity is open to SSPs at all levels of existing SSP M&E capacity. Applicants can choose to focus on one aspect of SSP M&E (e.g., data collection) or multiple aspects (e.g., data collection, analysis, and evaluation). For additional information, see “Project Priorities” in the Application Form.
Q: Is a joint application between two organizations in the same area for $98,000 stronger/more competitive than both organizations applying separately for similar projects and half as much funding ($49,000)?
A: Neither approach is necessarily more or less competitive, as applicants will not be scored based on how much funding they are requesting or whether other applicants in their state/region have been selected for funding. However, applicants should review the selection criteria in the RFA and consider whether a partnership would enable them to better meet any of the criteria.
Q: Is there a geographical limit to the awards (e.g., only a certain number of awards per state)?
A: No, there is no geographical limit to the awards.
Q: Is the funder open to and interested in cross-agency collaboration for certain proposed project elements? If so, what is the preferred way to communicate/demonstrate that in the proposals?
A: Yes, applicants are encouraged to submit joint/collaborative applications with partner organizations. This should be indicated by Letters of Support from any partners—other than the lead organization/applicant—and the role of partners should be described in the Application Form under “Planned Activities and Use of Funds” and elsewhere as relevant. For example, if a partner organization will play an important role in client engagement, then their existing efforts and role on the project should be described in the Application Form under “Client Engagement and Equity.”
Q: If a community-based organization in our jurisdiction receives funding, is the local health department eligible as well? And vice versa?
A: Yes. There are no geographic limits to the awards.
Q: Is this funding only for existing/established SSPs or is it open to new programs?
A: This funding is open to any currently operating SSPs.
Q: Can organizations that support but don’t operate SSPs apply as the lead applicant?
A: Yes, but they must include a letter of support from at least one SSP that describes how the SSP will be meaningfully involved in project activities and how they will benefit from the project.
Q: If your state does not allow SSPs to operate, could this funding be used to support data collection/evaluation to support a change in legislation?
A: This funding opportunity is only open to organizations that provide syringe services, i.e., syringe distribution, and consequently harm reduction organizations in states that don’t allow SSPs to operate may not be eligible for funding. Additionally, this funding cannot be used to support lobbying efforts. However, if your organization operates in a jurisdiction where SSPs are allowed, funding could be used to collect and evaluate data that may help demonstrate why SSPs should be allowed to operate in other jurisdictions. Similarly, if SSPs are allowed to operate in your jurisdiction, but face legal restrictions (e.g., 1:1 exchange only, no secondary syringe), data collection and analysis activities could be conducted to demonstrate the benefits of changing policy and practice.
Q: Will SSPs be allowed to apply if they are not licensed by their health department, but rather are community-led initiatives that have 501(c)3 status but are not currently licensed, but seeking licensure and encountering structural barriers to licensure and are continuing to provide services?
A: Community-based SSPs (i.e., SSPs with 501(c)3 status that are operating independently from the health department) are eligible to apply. However, any SSP with a similar question is strongly encouraged to reach out to Kat Kelley (email@example.com) directly to discuss eligibility, as licensing regulations vary significantly between jurisdictions.
Funding, including Allowable Activities/Expenses
Q: Can funds be used for syringes, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and other typically prohibited medication/supplies?
A: No, funding cannot be used for syringes, naloxone, or fentanyl test strips.
Q: Regarding the procurement of equipment, would printers be included and would maintenance costs related to existing software used for data collection and operations of the SSP be an acceptable expense item.
A: The purchase of printers would be allowed if the applicant describes how the printer would be used to support M&E, for example, by printing and distributing data analyses and reports to partners of the public. Maintenance costs related to existing software would also be allowed if the applicant describes how the costs would enable and strengthen M&E efforts.
Q: Would developing promotional materials to raise awareness about harm reduction services for both participants and community partners/stakeholders be allowable project activities?
A: Developing promotional materials would be allowable project activities if they are directly connected to M&E efforts, for example, if the materials summarize and report on M&E data (e.g., # of syringes distributed during a certain period of time) or highlight findings and recommendations resulting from a program evaluation.
Q: Can funding be used for staff time to conduct M&E activities? Can funding be used to cover a Project Coordinator who would oversee this funding and planning and implementation of project activities?
A: Yes, funding can be used for personnel including a staff person focused on coordinating this project.
Q: Can funding be used by an SSP to collect data on other services, such as OraSure Rapid HIV/HCV testing, outcomes, referrals, and treatment success/retention?
A: Yes, funding can be used to monitor and evaluate other harm reduction services and activities.
Q: Can the funding be used to increase syringe collection locations?
A: The applicant would need to describe how this would enhance SSP M&E or the use of SSP M&E data and would need to use funding only for the aspects of this activity that support M&E or the use of M&E data. For example, an applicant could use project funding to expand data collection to better understand where in their community they should collect syringes or offer syringe disposal services, but the funding could not be used to purchase syringe disposal bins.
Q: Would a campaign to reduce stigma about harm reduction among community stakeholders be an appropriate use of funds?
A: Such an activity may be an appropriate use of funds if the applicant describes how the development and implementation of the campaign would strengthen SSP M&E or the use of SSP M&E data. For example, efforts to collect and share SSP M&E data with community stakeholders are allowable, and data could be shared in a campaign format, and could ultimately reduce stigma by demonstrating the benefit of your program.
Q: Can implementing a SSP vending machine be a potential project activity?
A: The applicant would need to describe how this would enhance SSP M&E or the use of SSP M&E data and would need to use funding only for the aspects of this activity that support M&E or the use of M&E data. For example, an applicant could use project funding to develop a system to monitor and evaluate the vending machine but could not use funding to purchase the vending machine itself.
Q: Is it possible that an applicant would be awarded less than the requested amount?
A: If an applicant includes unallowable expenses in their budget and is selected for funding, they will be asked to revise their budget, in which case they may receive less funding. Otherwise, it is unlikely that applicants would be awarded less than the requested amount.
Q: Does the maximum grant amount ($98,750) include indirect costs?
A: Yes, any indirect costs should be included in the total amount requested, which must be less than or equal to $98,750.
NEW - 5/5/21
Q: Will applicants be disadvantaged if they only ask for a small amount of funding?
A: No, applicants will not be scored based on how much funding they request.
NEW - 5/5/21
Q: Does NACCHO or the applicant complete the PDF titled, Standard Subaward Agreement Language?
A: This PDF does not need to be completed as part of the application process. It is included in the RFA for the potential to review and confirm they are comfortable with NACCHO’s terms of agreement before they apply.
NEW - 5/5/21
Q: What is the Contractor Financial Report?
A: The Contractor Financial Report (CFR)—or subaward financial report worksheet, as it is referred to on this webpage, in the RFA, and in the Contract Cover Sheet—is the form that funded sites will have to complete and submit each invoice. You can download the spreadsheet here.
Q: Regarding question 32, which asks sites to rank up to 3 priorities for the project, is it OK to list four priorities instead of three by giving two priority areas the same rank?
A: No. Applicants should not select/rank more than 3 priorities.
Q: Can the project address two priorities, such as periodic data collection and analysis and purchasing equipment/software?
A: Yes, applicants can select 1-3 of the following priorities: (1) routine data collection efforts (e.g., data collection at intake/enrollment or at each client encounter); (2) periodic, qualitative, and/or complementary data collection; (3) data management processes (e.g., purchasing and implementing equipment or software); (4) data analysis, evaluation, reporting, or use; and (5) increasing buy-in or strengthening partnerships to promote or strengthen SSP M&E or the use of data.
Q: Is there a limit on how many letters of support we can submit?
A: No, there is no limit on how many letters of support applicants can submit. However, letters of support should focus on how the author (i.e., the organization submitting a letter of support) will work with the applicant to implement project activities or how they will benefit from project activities.
Q: How many grants does NACCHO plan to award?
A: The number of awards will depend on the funding amounts requested by the top applications (i.e., those with the highest scores). At minimum, NACCHO will make 16 awards, but the number could be significantly higher if the top applications do not request the maximum funding amount (i.e., $98,750).
Q: Can you elaborate on what is meant by client engagement and equity efforts?
A: Client engagement refers to any efforts to meaningful engage SSP clients—or people who use drugs more broadly—in M&E efforts to ensure their relevance and acceptability. For example, an SSP may ask clients to help them develop a data collection form or survey instrument to ensure it asks about substance use trends in a non-judgmental way. Another example would be a peer-delivered data collection activity in which clients are hired to ask other clients about their substance use behaviors, their satisfaction with the SSP and its services, etc.
Equity efforts include any efforts to ensure equitable access to harm reduction services for people disproportionately impacted by substance use related harms OR people who are underserved by harm reduction services in your community. For example, if an SSP has noticed that it primarily serves cisgender men and women, it may conduct data collection activities with trans, non-binary, or gender nonconforming clients to assess how to better meet their needs.
Q: Would you happen to have any information about available SSP software systems to guide our application?
A: Yes! Appendix A in the RFA characterizes some of the software most commonly used by SSPs in the United States. If you have additional questions, scroll up to the top of this webpage to sign up for Office Hours, during which you can discuss software options with NACCHO and UW staff.
Q: Can you explain how to obtain a determination of need from CDC to be eligible for federal funding streams that support SSPs?
A: Additional information and guidance regarding the determination of need process is on CDC’s website here. Notably, 44 states as well as Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Cherokee Nation already have a determination of need in place, meaning any SSPs in those states, territories, or tribes are eligible for this funding opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to first review the webpage and then reach out to NACCHO (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any additional questions.
Q: On the FFATA Data Collection Form that must be submitted with the application form, what is a CCR/Cage Code and NAICS Code?
A: The CCR, CAGE, and NAICS codes are several codes used by the federal government to classify and identify organizations. If you are unsure whether your organization has one of these codes or if you are unsure what the code is, you can leave this blank when you submit the FFATA data collection form.