How to convince City Hall: Training is worth every penny

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The Fund Finder

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

There are two old sayings that state: “You get what you pay for” and “you have to spend a little money, to make a lot of money.” These statements ring especially true in grant writing.

The value of formal training and professional instruction in grant writing cannot be emphasized enough. So how do you convince your governing bodies and administrative officials that grant training is a wise worthwhile investment of your limited training dollars?

Find out how

What separates the winners from the losers in grants?

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

What separates the winners from the losers in grants?
Public Safety Grant News and Tips by Kurt Bradley, Certified Grants Consultant

One year, I took on 18 departments who had previously had their grant applications rejected for a minimum of 2-3 years.

This was done purposely, with the intent of conducting an experiment to see what impact “applying the rules” would have on the outcomes. Apparently my observations about what they were doing wrong were correct.

That year, 14 of those 18 departments were funded after using this approach to their grant applications.

What made the difference?

What if you never missed a grant again?

Does this sound familiar?

You find an amazing grant.

It’s full of crucial funding that would bridge gaps in your budget.

It’s perfect for your agency.

There’s just one thing.

You missed the deadline.

That doesn’t have to happen again.

Over 500 cities, towns, counties, regional planning organizations, and COGs have used GrantFinder to keep up with grants. This powerful, essential tool will help you find grant funding.

Learn more

6-month unlimited access to grants for your state

Get GrantFinder now

Grant rejection?

Make your next grant more competitive

You did the work. Filed the grant. Waited. And waited…

Only to get a “no thanks, try again next time” letter. Getting one of these “dear john” letters can really make your heart sink. All that work. All that hope.

Was it all for nothing?

No.

Look, grants are hard. No matter how compelling your narrative, no matter how good your data, no matter how big your need, there are no guarantees. Not every application is going to be a winner.

There’s only one thing you can do.

Dust yourself off.

Take a breath.

Say whatever, ahem, “special words” you need to say.

And then?

Get ready for the next grant.

But… how?

Maybe your narrative wasn’t as solid as you thought. Maybe there was a crucial bit of data missing. Maybe your request needed to be higher-priority equipment. Maybe you didn’t make the deadline.

Grants are hard. There no guarantees. Whatever happened, you can do a better job next time, with our help. We can coach you on your grant, help you craft a better narrative, work with you on the data, and maybe—just maybe—skip the ole’ “dear john” rejection letter…

And instead find yourself in the winner’s circle.

Are you ready to write your best grant?

Contact a grant consultant today

Need in-person grant training?

Join us in New Hampshire, Sept. 26-27, 2020

National and Online Training for Public Safety Grant Writing

“We were awarded an AFG grant in the amount of $150,286 to purchase 24 air packs. We would not been able to make this purchase without me taking you class and learning how to write grants. Thank you for all of your help!”

Bobbi Beers, Friendship Fire Company No. 1, Inc., Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania

New grant training in New England! Our friends at New Hampshire’s Berlin & Gorham FD are graciously hosting 2 days of grant-writing training for anyone in public safety, first responder, and emergency management.

Does this sound like your agency?

Your agency lacks funds for vital equipment or training.You applied for grants in the past, but just can’t seem to get your application into the winner’s circle.

Times are tight and your budget is shrinking, but grants seem so intimidating, you’ll never figure out how to get that crucial additional funding for your department.

You’re not the only one. Fire Departments, Law Enforcement Agencies and other Emergency Services Agencies nationwide have felt the sting of the budget ax.

They could’ve spent another year going without.

But they did something else. They took action, and they got that crucial grant funding.

Register today and get ready to make your way to the grant winner’s circle!

Learn more and register

Train your way

Grant-Writing Training

Online and in-person grant-writing training

“This course was so comprehensive that I keep my notes from the course available as a quick reference for any grant.”

– Kelly V. Teague, Certified Grant Writer, Haywood Community College, NC

You know it from every other aspect of your job:

Training makes all the difference in how you respond.

What can be the difference between a grant award letter and a “try again next time” note?

Yup.

Training.

For over 20 years, we’ve perfected grant-writing training so it can work for any public safety professional.

“I would definitely recommend First Responder Grants as your grant resource.”

– Brian Andrus, West Marshall Fire Department, Benton, KY

No matter how you want to train, we’ve got you covered. See you soon at training. Next stop… the winner’s circle!

“You are the one that gave me the guidance and what was needed to be so successful in being awarded!”

– Chief John Kirchner, Diamond Fire Company, OH

Summer grant prep

Summer is a great time to prepare your department for upcoming grants and future grant opportunities. Here are a few tips to get you on your way to being prepared for any grant that comes your way:

Conduct a needs assessment

Proper planning involves a myriad of things, one of which is assuring that you have proper manpower and equipment to carry out your basic mission for your citizens. A needs assessment gives you the facts you need to know about how well prepared your department is to carry out its primary function.

How to do a needs assessment

What grants will you go for?

Each year, public, private, corporate, and non-profit organizations provide thousands of grants worth billions of dollars. What programs are out there that your agency could benefit from? What program will you try for for the first time? What programs have you tried for and gotten rejected, but you’re ready to try again?

Don’t miss another grant

Make sure your agency is set up in FEMA GO

FEMA GO has been a big change in how public safety agencies apply for federal grants. The intent behind FEMA GO is to have grants be managed in a more streamlined, user-friendly system. Over time, organizations like yours will be able to manage FEMA grants and other programs in one place.

This is a new system, and it is a big change. However, the new rules of the road are the new rules of the road. Once you are up and running, you should be ready to work in the new system to apply for and manage grants, and our get-ready-GO guide can show you what to do:

FEMA GO guide to apply for and manage grants

Know and practice the 4 things grant winners have in common

Over the years we’ve looked at thousands of grant applications, and we have seen it all. The good. The bad. The ugly. And there are things that consistently set the winners apart from the losers. Put our 4 tips to work in your grant efforts, and you will be far more likely to celebrate a grant award:

The 4 things grant winners have in common

Let the numbers do the talking

You can make a well-stated case for why your department needs a grant more than another, but you also have to back up your story with hard data. Luckily, there’s lots of that out there. Demographics, critical infrastructure, economics, you name it.

Get the numbers and facts you need with our resource lists

After you submit your grant, request Letters of Support

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

Train

Just as you train for different incidents, it takes solid training to write a good grant too.

Check out our online training and national training options for what’s right for you

Need help with all this?

Our expert Senior Grant Consultants are a phone call or an email away.

Contact us today

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!

Coronavirus/COVID-19: Kingman, Arizona Grant-Writing Training rescheduled for Sept. 9–10, 2020

Given current concerns and recommendations about the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we are monitoring our 2020 grant-writing training schedule. To do our part to protect everyone’s safety, we will reschedule trainings as needed.

Our training is Arizona is rescheduled as follows:

Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District, Kingman, AZ

New date: Sept 9-10, 2020

Register

At this time other trainings continue as scheduled. For registered students, we’ll be reaching out to you individually if there are changes to other trainings.

Want training but without the travel?

Our online training is always available:

Winning AFG: Online Grant Training. Remember: FY 2019 AFG application deadline has been extended to Mar. 20!

Writing Public Safety Grants: Online Grant Training

Questions? Please contact us

Stay safe out there… and wash your hands. Thank you for all you are doing during this time to protect yourselves and our communities.