Do this after you submit your grant application: Request Letters of Support

Letters of support

The Fund Finder News

By Kurt T. Bradley, Senior Grant Consultant, First Responder Grants

Congratulations, you submitted your grant! Once your application is in, though, there is still one thing left to do. It’s something you can—and should—do with any grant: request letters of support.

Application first, letters second

First off, notice I said you should do this after the grant was submitted. There is a reason for that.

Letters of Support need to be filed in your original grant file (especially in the case of large Federal grants such as the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program). Unless the grant provider has a grant number to associate that file and the Letter of Support, your letters will not make it into the file where they will be seen by the technical reviewers (provided that you scored well enough to warrant a technical review).

When you compose your request for a Letter of Support, be sure that your grant number, such as your 2019 AFG grant number is clearly noted. That way when it is received by AFG, they know exactly what file to put it into.

Who should you ask for letters of support?

First and foremost, ask all the Congressional Representatives from your state, both the US House of Representatives and US Senate.

Remember: This is not time to be partisan! Ask from Democrats as well as Republicans, and regardless of your like or dislike of politicians.

It’s always good to get a letter from your State Department of Homeland Security director.

If your grant is for communication equipment, request a letter from the Director of State DHS Emergency Interoperable Communications.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to ask for letter from your State Governor.

How to make contact

Now you know who you should ask for letters of support. But how do you know who these people are, and where do we find their mailing addresses?

And that’s right: mailing address. Not a phone number. Not texting. Not email. For everyone you want to contribute a letter of support about your grant, you’re going to send an actual letter.

Let me help you out as much as I can:

Copy this template: What to send in your letter of request

Here’s an example of what your letter of request should look like. We’ll use the FY 2019 AFG as an example, but you can copy, paste and customize this in your word processor to whatever grant you need it to reflect:

(Insert Date)

(Your Rank and Name)

(Your Department)

(Your Department’s Mailing Address)

(Your Direct Phone Number)

(Their Title and Name)

(Their Mailing Address)

RE: Letter of Support for 2019 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program

(Dear Mr./Ms./Representative/Senator/Governor LastNameHere)

The (Insert name of department, City, State) and our citizens, whom we are charged with protecting, respectfully requests a letter of support from your office in support of our recent grant application submitted on March 20,2020, to the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program offered by FEMA, a copy of which is attached.

This request is seeking $?????? in Federal share funding to acquire critically needed firefighting equipment necessary for us to ensure the health and safety of our firefighters and citizens that we protect and in response to compliance with the National Response Framework established by the Department of Homeland Security. 

This equipment is critical to our ability to be able to safely carry out our mission toward achieving those goals. The current state of the economy has caused our financial stability to falter. We, nor our citizens and your constituents, are financially able to afford the costs this project requires. Temporary outside Federal financial assistance is desperately needed. Your support of our efforts to secure this funding is humbly requested.

Our grant number assigned to his project is (grant number). We would greatly appreciate a letter of support from you be sent to the address below referencing our grant number and lending your support to this vital project in support of your constituency. 

The citizens and our department thank you for your time and support.

Respectfully,

(Your Name and Title)

The letter should be addressed and sent to:

DHS-FEMA-GPD
Attn: Chris Logan
Acting Assistant Administrator for Grant Programs
400 C Street S.W., 3N
Washington, D.C. 20472-3635

Once you write the letter

Once you’ve customized the letter above for your grant:

  • Print the letter on department letterhead
  • Sign the letter
  • Print out a complete copy of your grant from the online application
  • Put this letter on top of the grant request
  • Place the letter and grant request copy, unfolded, in a manila envelope and seal it.
  • Repeat as needed and mail to all those you addressed it to.

Seeking letters of support is a crucial final step that can make all the difference between rejection and winning a grant. Don’t forget this important last step! It’s something that all our past winners do—and you should also.

See you in the Winner’s Circle!

Kurt’s 5 Fire Grant Tips for FY2016 AFG

With a $310,500,000 awards pool, America’s largest fire grant program, the FY2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), is open for applications Oct. 11-Nov. 18. AFG is expected to make 2,500 fire grant awards to protect firefighters, EMS and the public against fire hazards.

But with thousands of applications vying for this pool of grant money, how can your grant stand out from the pack? Kurt Bradley, Senior Grant Consultant for First Responder Grants, has these 5 tips:

Bring your A-game

Money is the same as last year, which will mean it’s going to be a very competitive grant. Your application and narrative will need solid data and a strong need to help it stand out from the pack.

There is very little funding for Vehicle Acquisitions

Out of the 2,050 applications funded under FY2015 AFG, only about 160 were for Vehicle Acquisition fire grants. Only 25% of total AFG money can go to vehicles, and AFG has pledged 10% of that money to ambulances. That gives you an effective 15% of the total AFG money going for new apparatus.

Since the grant money is now so low when it comes to replacing apparatus, and since so few apparatus are being funded, departments are wise to have a Plan B in mind for replacing their apparatus. AFG is a real long shot right now to win a vehicle. If you need apparatus, look at non-AFG ways to fund it, and focus your AFG application on a higher-priority need.

Alternatively, if you really need a vehicle, your application must scream and bleed with the urgency of your need.

High-priority projects only

There is absolutely no sense in writing your grant around a project that is rated as “low or medium.” Plain and simple, it will not get funded. Focus only on high-priority projects. Your grant will be far more competitive.

Haven’t won AFG in a while? That could help you

Departments not having received a grant in at least 3 years will earn extra points. That could help your application move up the ranks and increase your likelihood of getting funded.

Micro-grants are still a very good option.

FY2015 AFG saw many “micro-grants” under $10,000. These micro-grants are a good way to fund high-priority but lower-dollar projects. If the need is great but the cost is smaller than, say, replacing apparatus or procuring dozens of sets of PPE, write the grant and make a strong case.