SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—STEP 3: DETERMINE THE GRANT REQUIREMENTS

SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE
STEP 3: DETERMINE THE GRANT REQUIREMENTS

By Steve Meyer
Steve Meyer Consulting LLC

I’m back after a hiatus of two months due to a hand injury that made keyboarding extremely difficult. Where I left off at in my 10 Steps to Grant Application Success was Step 2: Find a grant that is applicable to your program. Now we’re ready for Step 3: Determine the Grant Requirements.

Every grant proposal will have certain components and data that is either required in the grant application or is a critical element for success in the grant narrative. One of the biggest reasons a grant is not funded is because the proposal does not contain all of the right information or it fails to provide all of the critical components.

The first thing we need to do here is distinguish between what I mean by grant application and grant narrative requirements. Grant application components are the items required for what I refer to as “the fill in the blank part.” In this portion you will be asked to provide considerable information about your organization. The necessary information will differ with different grant funding sources, but some are pretty standard. This normally includes such things (to name a few) as the organization’s mission statement, its board of directors, financial information such as annual operating budget and project budget, geographical area and population served. To prepare for this part, the thing to keep in mind is that a grant evaluator should be able to understand your organization’s function and purpose in just a brief review of the information you provide. Any question left unanswered will likely be grounds for dismissal of the grant application. Any question that is not answered in a thorough and precise manner weakens the grant application.

Other necessary information for a grant proposal is components for development of a compelling, convincing and competitive narrative. Some of this information will come from elements already used in the grant application. The remainder is project driven. The project you are seeking funding for needs to be clearly defined and based on an identified and justified need. Historical data, census data, projected project impact data etc. will be necessary in the narrative. In many grants you will have a limited amount of space or characters to develop your narrative. The narrative may be developed in response to a single question, or it may be developed in response to several questions or project description requirements.

A critical component for non-profit organizations applying for corporate or foundations grants is providing verification of IRS 501c3 status. If you don’t have the necessary letter of verification from the IRS, check into this and either get a copy of the letter before you start the grant or find out if you do indeed have 501c3 status. You may need the assistance of an attorney to do this. I have consulted with a number of organizations that were operating under the assumption that they were a non-profit entity only to discover that they legally were not and could not apply for non-profit related grants.

Recent requirements for any entity applying for a federal grant are registration with DUNS and SAM. DUNS registration in my experience is best handled by calling 866-705-5711. SAM (System for Award Management) registration information is found at https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/. SAM registration will take some time. This is a successor to CCR (Central Contractor Registration). If you have previously registered with CCR you must migrate that information over to SAM. Information on how to accomplish this found at the SAM website.

You need to have all of the information for the grant narrative and application at our fingertips before you start the grant proposal.

Step 3 of the grant development process is often a time when the potential grantee first determines that they need help. Help may be found from another person or organization that has successfully completed an application or a professional grant consultant.

Steve Meyer is a grant writing and emergency management consultant. You can find out more about his services at his website http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com.

TWO GRANTS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR FIRE/EMS DEPARTMENTS

TWO GRANTS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR FIRE/EMS DEPARTMENTS
By Steve Meyer
Steve Meyer Consulting LLC

There are two grants currently available to assist fire and EMS departments: the Lowes Charitable Foundation Grant and the Firefighters Charitable Foundation Grant. Both of these are small grants, but may come in handy for a small need or to fund a portion of a larger need. Brief details about both grants are below. More can be found out at the websites provided.

LOWE’S CHARITABLE AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION
The Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation is dedicated to improving the communities we serve through support of public education, community improvement projects and home safety initiatives.

Founded in 1957, the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) has a long and proud history of contributing to grassroots community projects. LCEF awards millions annually to diverse organizations across the United States.
The three grant programs that Lowes has that appear most favorable to fire and EMS activities are Lowes Community Partner Grants, Hometown Grants and Small Grants.
Full details on the grants can be found at http://responsibility.lowes.com/community-relations/

FIREFIGHTERS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION
The Firefighters Charitable Foundation continues to provide assistance to those in need. Grants are given to assist local fire/disaster victims, fire prevention education, volunteer fire department equipment purchase, and community safety programs.
There are four types of grants:
• AED (Automatic External Defibrillator
• Fire Department Equipment
• Community Smoke Detector Program
• Juvenile Fire Setter Program
Detailed information about this program can be found at http://www.ffcf.org/grants.html.

I am available to assist ant fire or EMS department with applications for these grants or to provide more information. Contact me at gfdchief@netins.net. Find out more about my grant and emergency management consulting services at http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com. See my blog postings about grant writing at https://stevemeyerblog20131.wordpress.com/.

Are You Grant-Ready?

SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE

PART 3: Are You Grant-Ready?

By Steve Meyer, Steve Meyer Consulting LLC

In the majority of situations, developing a grant proposal is not as easy as filling out a form. If you have chosen to work with a grant consultant it is not as simple as contacting the consultant and telling them you want $_____ for _____ project. With either situation before you even begin the grant application process you need to be Grant Ready.

Your ultimate aim in being Grant-Ready is to have all of the information necessary to describe your organization and project in sufficient detail that you leave the grant reviewer with no questions about what you are doing, what you need in order to accomplish your objectives and what the benefit is going to be. Couple this with a convincing narrative and you’ve set the stage for thumbs up to funding your proposal.

In a nutshell grant-readiness entails providing detailed information about your organization and its project and backing your project proposal up with statistics and data that provide credibility to your project and its outcomes. The variables and data sources that this is contingent upon will change somewhat with different venues but there are some common denominators in the information you need to have available for all grants, including:

• Project description
• Organizational profile and mission statement
• Historical documents and statistical data relative to your project
• Articles, research reports and white papers relative to your project
• Annual reports of your organization
• Project budget
• Census Data
• Analytical data relative to your project
• Projected outcomes

If you are working with a grant consultant it may not be necessary that you have all of this information assembled. At the very least, though, you need to provide the consultant with the resources or contacts they need to pull all of this vital information together. The better the information you can provide, the easier it will be for your consultant to develop a competitive proposal. Either you or someone affiliated with the project will have to be a go-to person that the consultant can rely on to help them find answers and information vital to an award winning proposal.

The all important piece of the puzzle for being Grant Ready if you are tapping into a charitable foundation grant is having 501c3 status established for your sponsoring organization or cause.

Be prepared to spend some time becoming Grant Ready. The time you spend becoming Grant Ready is directly proportional to your chances for funding success.

Bottom line: if you aren’t Grant Ready it will be a wild scramble assimilating the necessary information before the grant application deadline. And, if you aren’t Grant Ready you are in a position of presenting a grant proposal that is fearfully inadequate.

Steve Meyer is a grant writing and emergency management consultant. You can find out more about his services at his website http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com.

10 Steps to Grant Application Success

SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE

PART 2: 10 Steps to Grant Application Success

By Steve Meyer, Steve Meyer Consulting LLC

For those venturing into the complex and mysterious world of grant procurement there is ten steps that need to be followed. Following are the ten steps with a brief explanation of each. More in depth explanations of each step will follow in subsequent blogs.

Step 1: Determine your needs
Determine what your needs are and formulate the need into a program.

Step 2: Find a grant that is applicable to your program
This is the search phase. There are thousands of grants available through the government and various charitable foundations. The key becomes finding the grant(s) with parameters that align with your program.

Step 3: Determine the grant requirements
Every grant will have certain “things” they need in your grant proposal. One of the main reasons a grant is not funded is because the proposal does not address these “things.”

Step 4: Determine if you will develop the grant application yourself or if you need the assistance of a consultant
Once you reach Steps 2and 3 and you have looked at the grant requirements you may determine the application and proposal process is daunting or demands too much time. If you are serious about the grant, then it is best to use the services of a professional grant consultant.

Step 5: Pull the necessary data together
Every grant is going to require data of some sort. Having this data available and pulling it all together is what we call Grant Readiness. This can be, and often is, a time consuming effort.

Step 6: Develop a compelling proposal
This is the part that grant evaluators will pay the most attention to when deciding if they will fund your proposal. If word smithing isn’t your craft, you’re better off using the services of grant consultant.

Step 7: Complete the application
Every grant is going to have some fill in the blank portions. Submitting an application with any blank left open is a fatal error.

Step 8: Proofread the application
Make sure your application is free of grammatical errors and everything reads well and any figures you present are accurate.

Step 9: Have someone else review the application
A second set of eyes reviewing your application will help catch errors and maybe shed some insight into other things you should consider covering in the crucially important narrative sections.

Step 10: Submit the application
When everything is complete, double check to see that you have everything that the grant application requires. Also make sure you are providing the required number of copies if it is a paper application. Then, make sure you submit the application by deadline. Believe it or not, I’ve had clients who neglected this final step

Steve Meyer is a grant writing and emergency management consultant. You can find out more about his services at his website http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com.

SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE–PART 1

SUCCESSFUL GRANT WRITING—YOUR GUIDE

PART 1: IS THERE A GRANT OUT THERE FOR YOU?

By Steve Meyer, Steve Meyer Consulting LLC

My purpose for this blog is to provide practical down-to-earth guidance to those who are looking to fund ventures, causes and initiatives with grants. Thousands and thousands of people and organizations receive grant funding every year. The number of grant applications that are rejected is probably 10X those who are successful. My goal is to help those who have a legitimate fundable grant request end up in the funded category.

This first installment focuses on helping the would-be grant applicant determine if they indeed have a project that is worth pursuing grant funding for. Having worked as a professional grant consultant for twenty years, I find myself compelled to debunk some misinformation about grants that has led many people down a path of unrealistic expectations for grant funding. I do not intend to stifle anyone from considering grant opportunities for their initiative, whatever it may be. I just want them to be cognizant of what the realities of the grant world are, and not to be too enamored with false hope. A lot of time, energy and false hope are often wasted pursuing grant opportunities that simply don’t exist or that have such a marginal chance of success that the chase may be more costly than the benefit.

COMMON QUESTIONS

As a professional grant consultant, the common question I address is; “Is there a grant for my ____ project?” Or, the statement I am often confronted with is “I want to _______, go find me some grant money,” or even better yet: “I’ve got this idea and my friend told me there’s lots of grant money out there I can get—go find it for me.”

The root of such statements is a misconception that there is, as I also often hear; “All kinds of grant money available for anything.” Having worked as a professional grant consultant for two decades, I warn the grant seeker that the pot of gold is not as overflowing as they may be led to believe. In fact, in many cases it will be found that funding sources range from limited to extremely limited. However, there is help for a lot of things as long as it is the right thing.

TYPES OF GRANTS

Any time you are talking about grant funds you are basically talking about four general types of sources: federal grants, state grants, foundation grants and local development type grants. It is true there are thousands if not tens of thousands of grant sources available. Each of these thousands of grants has its own parameters.

WHO REALLY IS ELIGIBLE

If you are a private or want-to-be private business enterprise from a federal grant perspective, your chances of finding grant funding are close to zero unless you are from certain minority groups and/or your initiative that within well defined guidelines. Grants generally don’t fund businesses, they fund causes. Occasionally a business can get grants by supporting those causes or forming some sort of alliance with an organization that has 501c3 status. Some local or state development grants may offer hope for business development grant, but if you’re an independent over the road trucker, Uncle Sam isn’t going to give you a grant for a new truck.

Any endeavor that already has a successful start has a better chance of being funded. Funding a concept or an idea is nothing but blue sky in the eye of a potential funder. If you have an endeavor that has at least gotten itself off the ground and shows promise of achieving its mission, you are past go and may wish to proceed.

HIGHEST PROBABILITIES OF SUCCESS

Generally speaking, as I see it, the initiatives that have the highest probability of finding grant sources are government entities or 501c3 non-profit organizations– particularly those that focus on medical science, alternative energy, technology, economic development, education, disaster recovery and relief; assistance to disadvantaged people and people with disabilities. If your initiative or cause fits one of these characteristics, then it’s time to conduct a grant search, which will be covered in upcoming installments.

You can do an on-line search and find numerous enterprises that for a set fee promise to find you grant funding for any purpose. The Better Business Bureau has something to say about these enterprises at the website http://www.casperjournal.com/business/article_0524a91e-82d8-57d1-88fe-9abd401057d2.html?comment_form=true

Subsequent blog posts will assist grant seekers with the grant application process and help you prepare competitive grant applications that have the highest probability of success.

Steve Meyer is a grant writing and emergency management consultant. You can find out more about his services at his website http://www.stevemeyerconsulting.com.