Part 3 of 3
By: Todd Allen
Director of Government & Community Relations
In this three-part blog series, I will be feeding you fun facts on funding.
Seeking and securing federal, state, provincial, local, and othertransportation grant resources is vital to public and human service transportation agency revenue streams.
Finding grant opportunities, preparing them, and securing the funding is a timely process that is both an art and a science! The application review, preparation, and management process can include multiple people, steps, actions, and time. In the end, good organization and quality time taken to review and prepare the grant application can produce benefits!
Grant Application Tips
In preparing a quality grant response, there are many industry peers and resources that can provie great lessons, advice, and experience in researching and preparing a sound application. The following are a few sample ideas to consider with this process.
Where to Start?
First, understand the agency’s program and funding needs for a grant opportunity. Better understanding what and why the agency needs these funds will better assist the grantmatching process. It is also best to understand that funding opportunities and grants come in many different “flavors” that have diverse themes, expectations, and requirements, such as:
- Financial (matching shares)
- And post-award reporting
Seeking the Proper Grant
After considering the agency’s interests, it is time to seek a grant. As we discussed in the second portion of this three-part blog series, there are many funding opportunities available and resources to seek them. It is important to research and
read all grants that may be of interest to the organization. Do this process early and often.
Remember, a winning grant application seeks to meet both the grantee (the transportation
agency) and grantor’s (funding agency’s) objectives.
Preparing the Application
After finding a suitable application to pursue. Consider the following items to prepare a successful application:
- Read and outline all funding announcement and application components in detail. Understanding what is being requested is critical.
- Determine if the agency has the resources to prepare and meet the applications post-award requirements.
- Make a list of all funding announcement questions. Contact the person listed in the funding announcement to discuss questions to ensure this opportunity is best for the agency.
- Attend all external communication (i.e. webinars) from the grantor on the funding announcement.
- Create a timeline to determine and prepare for necessary steps involved in the successful application development process, such as:
- Requiring information from peers
- Writing the draft application
- Governing Board approval
- Letters of support
- Seeking internal grant application sign-off’s
- Ensuring the agency’s eligibility to submit (i.e. online grants system)
- Draft final application review
- And submitting the final application.
- Prepare the application. Start early! Be thorough and prepare only what is asked in the funding announcement and application. Write to what your audience will want to read - imagine yourself being in the evaluator’s shoes, reading many proposals…make sure your proposal stands out. Remember to be succinct and watch for potential text limits!
- Prior to application submittal, review the draft and compare against the funding announcement for any last-minute changes, edits, etc. Invite peers to do the same!
- Finalize the application. Submit 1-3 business days minimum prior tothe deadline (if possible).
- Post Application Submittal. Seek confirmation the application was received (prior to deadline), understand and monitor, grant award, and thank those involved in the process (including you!).
Methods to Apply for Grants
As mentioned, grants come in many shapes and sizes with different expectations and application methods. When considering a grant, ensure your organization has the capacity to apply in the manner which is stated in the funding announcement. As the electronic application age continues to mature, grantors now allow application submittals through many methods, including paper (hard copy), website, and mobile sources. Online applications vary by grantor and may have different security and format expectations to meet.
Grant Preparation Resources
There are many incredible resources in the public and human service transportation industry available to provide grant preparation assistance and information, such as:
- Federal agencies
- State DOT’s
- Provincial partners
- Local governments
- Trade associations
- Private sector contacts
Continue to seek and leverage these resources to benefit grant research and writing experience. Below are additional resources to reference as well.
- National Center for Mobility Management
- National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP)
- UNC College of Arts and Sciences, The Writing Center, “Grant Proposals (or Give Me the Money)”
Thank you for the opportunity to share some our experiences with you. Please do feel free to share your experience with us as well! If we may be of any further assistance, please contact me at Todd.Allen@routematch.com.