Our specialist Rich Nowakowski (RCN Consulting) says, “Grants: A lot of agencies just don’t get it.”
Applying for grants is like applying for a job; you have to follow many specific rules to even be put into the submit pile. The decision maker starts sorting through a stack of grant proposals like a stack of resumes and if the proposal doesn’t fit the right font or format requirements, they’ll toss it out. Before you go after grants, there are some important things to know.
Regardless of whether grant funding is increasing or decreasing there are four key concepts to keep in mind: Plan. Manage. Think. Strategize.
-Plan: before applying for grants or developing a grant program, the priorities of a federal, state or local entity must be to review internal goals and necessities. Decide what is needed now or in the future and develop a plan on how to achieve those goals.
-Manage: grant funds received must be spent wisely. Managing those funds as well as non-grant funds will help sustain current operating procedures and keep the pubic safe under many adverse conditions.
-Think: nobody knows what the future holds. Every agency and organization must think about its own resiliency plans and try to make the best possible decisions, not just for itself but for all citizens throughout the community who rely on the organization to keep them safe.
-Strategize: develop a strategy of networking within and among jurisdictions, building coalitions, and aligning products and services to make the best use of grant funding provided.
Once you identify a good prospect and you understand which type of foundation you are dealing with, there is still more work to do before you can submit a grant application. You will need to do some research to learn more about the foundation and its giving practices. The Foundation Center website is a great tool for this, but you should also look at the foundation’s own website (if it has one), annual report, grant guidelines (request by telephone or email if they are available online), and a recent IRS form 990-PF (available free at www.quidestar.org). Chicago Communications has done some of the work for you by compiling an easy-to-use grant guide and we have more vital information to help you apply for grants as well.
How can writing grants help your business? It may involve some collaborative efforts and working together. If nothing else people have to learn to work together. If they’re going to get this money to purchase equipment for example for interoperable kits, they have to put it to use learning and educating what the equipment’s capabilities are and how it will be used across the region collaboratively.
This article was written by Jill McNamara, Internet Marketing Coordinator at Chicago Communications. Rich Nowakowski (from RCN) assisted in providing a presentation about grants that helped form this article.Jill has written all of the Meet Our Techs & Employee Spotlight articles for ChiComm's blog and continues to seek opportunities for similar blog articles from current employees & customers. If you'd like to submit a suggestion for the blog, Contact Us!