There is hardly an initiative from any city, large or small, where the availability of grant funding isn't a factor. No matter the area—transportation, safe schools, energy, the environment, economic development, parks and recreation, culture and quality of life, and many more—being able to obtain grant support can determine whether or not a project happens.
Two of our Grant Helpers, Rebecca Motley and Roland Garton, will discuss ways that cities can obtain more grant funds over time at the annual meeting of the Illinois Municipal League, September 19, 2014, at the Chicago Hilton. (The location itself, facing Grant Park and Lake Michigan, is a quite a sight.)
The main points of the session are not restricted to municipalities. Most apply to all organizations. So here are some key take-aways from the presentation.
Grant funding is available. The federal government provides billions of dollars annually for a wide variety of projects.
Work with larger organizations. In the case of municipalities, federal dollars typically flow through the state, so working with relevant state departments is critical. Also, work with regional collaborations and initiatives to broaden your impact.
Align for fundability. You can be more fundable if you shift priorities and structure projects to line up with the priorities of funding agencies. Example: one city got funds for a bike path by switching the planned route to accommodate school children on bikes.
Plan on multiple applications over time. Your first proposal is less likely to be successful than your 20th. So plan on writing a series of proposals over time, building your library of support materials and approaches.
Numbers rule. You must provide measurable data to quantify the need for your project and the impact your project will have.
Review proposals carefully. Allow ample in the development process to check for obvious errors, and to make sure the proposal responds to the main interests of the funding agency. Be willing to re-write sections, even if you considered them complete, if they don’t directly address the main goals and interests of the funder.
If you’re interested in more details, you can download the slides and handouts from the presentation.
You may also benefit from our Grant Readiness Checklist. We can help your organization structure for successful grant funding over time. From high-level advice and guidance to detailed issues regarding grant strategy and applications, we can help however best fits your organization.
Photo Credit: Freedom II Andres