Creative Thinking for Alternative Funding

Public Safety Grant News and Tips by, Kurt Bradley, Certified Grants Consultant

When public safety agencies go in search of grant money for specific projects or equipment, they often give up out of frustration. A desperate search for funding for that critical need often leads to grants whose deadlines have already passed, discontinued grant programs, or no grants for these items at all. But things are not what they seem. Funding is out there. You just have to apply some creative thinking, a strategy I call “alternative funding.”

Using this method can mean the difference between going without, or being a resourceful and innovative thinker who obtains that funding you and your agency so desperately need. Here’s how it works.

Think Training Aid, Not Equipment

One of the areas of grant funding that is historically overlooked is the abundance of money available for training. In the world of public safety there is a huge emphasis placed on continuing education, maintaining advanced or basic certifications and the time proven methodology that training leads to safer operations and injury reduction for employees.

What the experienced grant writer needs to recognize is that this emphasis on training can be capitalized on for multiple benefits to your agency.

In most comprehensive training programs for public safety agencies there is “hands-on” training utilizing the tools or equipment needed to properly perform the task. If you do not have the equipment needed to conduct the proper training then in many cases you can acquire that equipment as “training props” which are needed to accomplish the training. Once the training is accomplished the equipment does not require that it be put in a box and stored in a closet till the next class, use it for what you need.

Let’s Be Reasonable Here

Now we have to be reasonable about this in that you cannot acquire a new aerial for your fire department just to teach an “aerial operations” course or gain a new police squad car just to teach” pursuit driving skills”.

However, obtaining a couple of AEDs to coincide with your Citizen CPR classes or a set of night-vision goggles to teach “low-light tactical operations” is not unreasonable. You can make these courses especially appealing if you broaden your scope to include conducting the courses several times in a year and offering attendance to outside agencies as well.

Creative thinking such as this is exactly what can help you find alternative ways to get the funding you need.

Remember: the ultimate goal is to arrive at the destination. However, there are always alternative routes by which to arrive at that same destination.

Photo: Craig Howell

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