Grant Writing, It’s as Easy as Following Directions
By John Hayowyk
As firefighters we often want or need new equipment to make our difficult job safer and easier. So, you approach your Chief with your wish list and are told that funding is tight and probably will be tight for the foreseeable future. Where do you go from here? How do we as firefighters obtain the funding to purchase the needed equipment?
A day or two later your Chief calls you back into the office and tasks you to research and submit a grant for a piece of equipment on your wish list.
Immediately several ideas come to mind, as well as a little bit of panic. What and how do I accomplish this? Where do I begin? This is where we step in and help. The first piece of advice is to follow the directions presented in the grant application packet.
We suggest to physically print out the grant application and make several copies. You are probably wondering why “copies”, that will be explained in a bit. Printing out the application has a number of advantages. One that has worked well, is the ability to underline or highlight important dates, directions, and instructions. Having a printed copy makes the application more portable and easier to read instead of having to be tied to a computer or enlarging the print on your smartphone. No one likes only being able to read half a sentence without having to swipe back and forth.
Following directions is the key to any successful grant application. That may sound simple enough, but there are a few steps to ensure that the directions and requirements for the grant are followed specifically.
Before you begin to write anything down it is imperative that you read the grant application entirely. This will give you an idea of the amount of work that is in store for you and your team. That’s right, I said team. It is important that you have other members of your department assist you in this task to ensure that you do not become overwhelmed with the amount of work and information that is needed to submit the completed application. Your team also needs to read the entire grant application to ensure that all aspects of the application are understood.
It is important to delegate tasks to the team by capitalizing on their strengths. Everybody has their strengths and it’s important to utilize them for the benefit of the grant application as well as on the department level. Once the application is completely read and digested it is time to break down the grant into parts and delegate the sections out to your teammates. The delegation of tasks will ensure that no one member of the team is overwhelmed with their tasks. We will discuss breaking down the grant application into sections in a future article.
As a team it is always a good idea to review any Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and any guidance materials that are provided by the grant sponsor. By reviewing these questions and guidance information it may answer any questions or concerns that you have before you begin researching and then writing the grant. These questions and guidance materials will assist in eliminating any wasted time and provide direction for your team.
The first step of understanding and following the directions is crucial to the success of the grant application. All it takes is leaving out one requirement for the application to be rejected. This is why following the directions is key.