Beginning to grant write for your agency can seem like a daunting task.
Which project do I start? How do I get it funded? What do I even write?
With a million different complex questions crossing your mind, it's easy to abandon the application before it's even started. Starting a project and getting it funded is not easy, which is why for any project to be successful you need to be passionate.
Here are three keys boosting your chances for success.
1. Target ideas fueled by passion
As a field paramedic, my report with patients provides great insight into the needs of the community. It gives me access to our target population to truly figure out what can have the most impact on those we service.
I've found that I have a renewed passion for health care when creating a project that will improve the community, my agency and positively impact my coworkers.
For instance, community paramedicine is a topic that energized my academic pursuits and breathed new life into my career. So when I was given the opportunity to write a grant proposal to fund a pilot program through NHTSA's Innovation in EMS cooperative agreement program, I was overjoyed to begin work.
Yet, I was quickly overwhelmed by deadlines and the enormity of the application. Whenever I overcame one obstacle five more arose and I began to think I might not have it submitted in time.
However, I burned the midnight oil night after night because I knew what this funding meant: an opportunity to have federal funding for a community paramedic pilot program for my county. It meant a community program proven to better the health care system overall by reducing the burden on individual providers and the EMS system, and decreasing government spending on health care.
If you find your passion project it will be much easier to get funded.
2. Put it on paper
Being prepared to present your project to administrative personnel is key.
I find that writing a brief, but detailed project description focusing on how the project will enhance the community and improve both the agency and my coworkers directly is the best approach.
Give possible funding options including private foundations that have a history of funding similar projects, state grant programs, and federal grant programs. Consider whether your project may need continued funding like pilot programs or community events. Not all projects have to be complicated or span multiple years.
Funding assistance also can be used to buy equipment or apparatuses that can alleviate health care shortages and accessibility issues. Equipment needs can have a significant impact the community and your agency.
Putting a rough plan on paper is incredibly important to gain buy-in from administrative personnel that have the ability to submit grants on behalf of the agency. Developing support from your command staff is also an essential asset to work your project up the chain of command.
3. Follow application guidelines
Once approval has been gained for your project, the real work begins. Remember to re-read the application, keying in on what the grant maker is asking from you.
If you do not follow the guidelines for the application, it will be rejected and you may not have the opportunity to resubmit. I cannot emphasize this enough.
Additionally, if any questions arise, grant makers are typically very approachable. Contacting your grant maker is a great way to clarify information and get a better handle on an application.
Only on rare occasions do I find myself not contacting the grant maker, never be afraid to ask for help.