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EMS Grants Help
by Janet Smith

7 steps to breathe new life into 2013's AFG grant application

Maximize your past efforts to create a stronger submission for 2014

By Janet Smith

Whether there’s a surge in 911 call volume, a nasty storm or sweeping reforms within the system, we in EMS are constantly adapting to changes. We’re good on our feet, nimble and deft in the face of adversity and, simply put, we don’t give up easily.

The same holds true when it comes to applying for grants.

If your 2013 AFG EMS funding request was denied, it’s time dust off that old application and try again. FEMA will begin accepting AFG applications in June, and the deadline to apply for a chunk of the $306 million available this year is just one month later.  

Here’s how you can maximize your past efforts for an on-time submission in 2014.

Step 1: Scrutinize

Take a critical look at last year's application. Look at each narrative section, and solicit a few respected volunteers (a local judge, attorney, physician) to get an unbiased opinion about how you sold your story of need. Revise and refine your narratives to address their feedback.

Then send the new narratives back to the volunteer readers to make sure your changes made the application more compelling and persuasive. 

You can also ask EMS Grants Help to objectively review your previous ask. In particular, use the following questions to get feedback :

  • Did our application draw you in emotionally so you could feel our service’s desperation and need for funding?
  • Did the facts and anecdotal examples of our situation clearly show how the funding would benefit our EMS system?
  • Could you tell exactly what we needed and why our EMS organization couldn’t bear the financial burden of self-funding?
  • Were you convinced of our expertise after reading our implementation plan for using the grant funds?
  • Did you feel personally invested and involved in solving a problem for our patients and our EMS professionals?
  • Did you believe in the credibility of our finances and budgets?
  • Did we demonstrate a strong financial track record based on past success, awards, and the quotes we used from our letters of endorsement to show we would be good custodians of any grants received? 

Step 2: Download

Download the 2014 AFG application and guidelines as soon as they are available. Look for a stated preferred “ask” that might fit perfectly with what you need.

Step 3. Confirm

Confirm that your organization’s eligibility and its ability to fund 5 to 15 percent of your ask as required by FEMA. These percentages are predicated by the populations your organization serves.

In 2013, EMS systems serving populations fewer than 20,000 were required to pay a 5 percent match. For organizations serving populations over 20,000, AFG required a 10 percent match. And lastly, those EMS agencies serving more than 1 million residents were required to match 15 percent of the ask.

Step 4: Contact EMS Grants Help

We can help you fast-track your “under the wire” applications and provide assistance to better your chances of success.

Step 5: Update

Update financial information and agency changes. Gather your 2013 and 2014 operational budgets and create a new project budget for your 2014 AFG application.

Make sure you also update any changes in your organization, which can include the number of employees, contact persons, and types of positions. 

Step 6: Act

There will be a lot to accomplish in order to successfully submit an on-time application. Divide tasks and engage others to quickly research and document the facts that will support your declaration of need.

Don't procrastinate.

Step 7: Stand proud

Grant funding is not something you seek because you are inept or incompetent to self-fund the equipment and training your EMS professionals need. Rather, it is a reward for prudent, yet ambitious and caring EMS leaders who seek to maximize the services that residents receive. 

Keep in mind that the most deserving systems are competing with the economic realities of an industry that grants instant credit to people who cannot pay for necessary emergency medical services, and those EMS agencies where the volume of calls and revenues generated just can’t cover the cost of providing prompt, professional services.    

Best of luck to all of you for your 2014 AFG applications!

About the author

Janet Smith's track record for business development in the medical marketplace spans over 20 years. Since 1990 as the owner and president of Janet Smith & Associates- On Assignment, an EMS consultancy, Janet Smith has consulted for scores of public, private and primary EMS services, winning business for clients through strategic business planning, public affairs campaigns, grant applications and proposal writing. Most recently, Janet authored and submitted a federal grant for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center's health care innovation challenge. She is also the author of numerous winning RFP responses for 9-1-1 ambulance contracts. Most recently, authoring the winning ambulance procurement proposal for North Star EMS in the City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Janet Smith is also a distinguished speaker regarding EMS and health care related issues. She recently presented at EMS Today conference in Baltimore (2012) and at the 2011 Pinnacle conference in San Diego.Janet Smith is a recipient of the President's Award from the American Ambulance Association.



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