One area where grant writers do not spend enough time is understanding the grant itself. Grantors do not simply decide to give away money. They normally have a main objective that they are trying to fund. An example would be a grantor who is funding community advancement projects that have not been implemented as of yet.
The best way to ensure the proper knowledge of a grant is to spend a proper amount of time reviewing the grant. The grantor will often provide information. If they provide this information, then it is important. Read the background information and highlight or make notes throughout the document for the details that you need to ensure are not overlooked.
It is in these areas that a grant can be rejected the fastest. If you do not follow directions per the grantor they are more than likely to reject it. They have limited funds but unlimited requests. Any failure to follow directions can lead to rejection.
So what is the information included in the grant packet that is important?
Many grantors will provide directions as to the format they wish to see your grant packet follow. This may be as simple as only limiting the number of pages a grant can be. However, grants can include page limitations, font usage, required sections, etc.
The reason this is so important is that these items make it easy for the grantor to look at your packet and reject it quickly should you not be following the formatting rules. A reviewer can see quickly that you have 12 pages instead of required limitation of 10. This causes rejection quickly.
There is always a deadline for a grant packet to be submitted. This is normally due to the fact that the grantor has a process to review the packets. They have people set to review these packets. Failure to meet the deadline will cause instant rejection. However, I would make sure that the submission is done prior to the last minute. Most grantors will stamp the packet with the date and time received. Receiving the packet at the last minute can show lack of preparation for the grant.
Most grantors have a set of objectives that they wish to fund. Examples of these can be Rural Development, Educational Advancement, Public Safety, etc. It is important to ensure that your project fits into their objectives. Sometimes this can be difficult. If you are unsure, then follow the directions in the grant application as to contact the grantor and determine if they would include your project in their objectives. The better that one can tie your project in to their objectives the better your chance of obtaining the grant.
Statistics and Maps
Some grant applications use statistics, maps, and other supporting documents to show their objectives and their interest area. For example, a grantor may state that the average educational level of Any County, North Carolina is completion of the ninth grade. This will be linked to their objectives.
It is important to use these statistics for the purpose of the grant. Explain how your project will affect that statistic. Try to use it where applicable explaining the project you are trying to get funded. Be open to use other statistics where possible but realize that they included these statistics for a reason.
Without a doubt any information included in the grant application packet is important. Pay special attention to all information in the packet. Find ways where possible to include the information they are trying to focus on in terms of projects. Doing so will increase your chances of obtaining a grant for your organization.
Good luck and until next time be safe!
David Hesselmeyer, M.P.A., has been in emergency services for 16 years. Currently he is a firefighter, rescue technician, paramedic, and North Carolina Executive Emergency Manager. Hesselmeyer is the owner and primary consultant with On Target Preparedness (OTP) which contracts with emergency services agencies and non profits to assist in risk assessments, plan writing, plan revision, exercise development, etc. He currently volunteers with Buies Creek Fire Rescue and works part time with Harnett County EMS. He can be contacted at [email protected]
or visit his website at www.ontargetprep.com