Law Enforcement, EMS, Emergency Management, Fire Service. You name it, no matter what part of the Public Safety sector an agency is in, when it comes to winning grants those winning agencies have 4 things in common.
1. They all got an early start.
Winning agencies don’t wait till the last minute. They tend to start their application and narrative 3-6 months ahead of the grant program’s opening date.
2. They all know the NOFO backward and forward.
The number one reason grants are rejected is that the applying agency committed “failure to follow directions.”
Know where these directions are?
Every single direction is in one document, known as the NOFO or RFP, the Notice of Funding Opportunity and Request for Proposal. This vital document spells out every detail of a grant program. Losing agencies sometimes barely open or skim the NOFO.
Winning agencies read, re-read, and re-read these documents again, and keep them close at hand for further reference throughout their application process.
3. They know what they need and why they need it.
Winning agencies have conducted a “needs assessment” in order to identify the highest priority item not just for themselves, but that also falls into the high priority category defined by the grant funding source.
In order to be competitive, you have to know the difference between a “need” and a “want.” They are distinctively different. Only seek “high” priority projects to go after in your grant.
Be sure you have thoroughly vetted your project with agency administrators and command staff. That way, prior to you even starting the grant application, everyone is reading from the same page and knows exactly what you will be writing for and why.
4. They seek out professional training, advice, and consulting.
Winning agencies know that you don’t just train for incident response. You train for writing grants too. They get the professional expertise they need to understand the grant process. They seek professional advice and assistance to guide their efforts and check their work for mistakes prior to submission.
As an example, the wrong answer to a single question can result in lowering your grant’s priority from a “high” to a “medium or low” priority. As such, your grant would end up rejected by the computer as not being competitive enough to go further through the vetting process. All because of one error.
While no one person or no amount of preparation can guarantee a grant’s success, these 4 steps can make it far more likely that your grant will make it to the winner’s circle.
How can you put these 4 things to work in your agency’s grant efforts today?