Editor's note: In this final installment of our 'Guide to AFG,' Jerry Brant explains how you can best outline the beneficial effect receiving a grant would have on your department. Don't forget to check out the rest of the series in parts one, two and three. The application period for FY2009 AFG runs from Wednesday, April 15, through Wednesday, May 20, at 5 p.m. Eastern.
The last element of the AFG narrative is focused on the beneficial effect receiving this grant will have on your department's daily operations. At this point in the process you are probably wondering what other information you can provide that will help your application obtain a higher score. Approach this section as your final opportunity to persuade the reviewers to fund your project while providing the required information.
It's acceptable to repeat facts that you used in other sections of the narrative. However, be sensible and don't repeat details just for the sake of using up space. If you have to restate information, then utilize it to validate your request.
The basic question to address in this element is, "How will this grant improve firefighter safety and reduce the loss of life and property in your coverage area?"
You can accomplish this by answering four basic questions:
1) What basic services will improve if this request is funded?
2) How will your department's tactical operations improve if you are funded? 3) How will your firefighters' safety be improved by this award and to what extent?
4) How often will the items requested in your application be used?
Example: The objective of our application is to improve the health and safety of our department's firefighters and to provide unsurpassed services to the 7,000 residents of our coverage area. We would accomplish this by providing all 23 active firefighters at our station with a complete new set of NFPA-compliant turnout gear. Funding this request would allow us to respond a larger number of properly equipped firefighters on every call.
In one short paragraph you just summarized how funding your request will have a positive impact on your firefighters and the community they serve. The last point that you need to address in this element is your process for measuring results. This does not have to be some complicated scientific procedure. Simply state how you will know if the grant funding has solved your problem.
Example: Our department will continue to monitor the number of firefighters that respond to alarms. We will monitor these figures to see if the number of firefighters available for our alarms increases as a result of the new turnout gear that is issued to them. In addition, we will also continue to document firefighter injuries and observe the impact the new gear has on this statistic. These findings will be available to AFG upon request.
You may want to finalize your narrative by summarizing your request in one or two brief sentences. I hope this series of articles has been informative and helpful to you. Remember, writing a successful narrative involves several activities, including planning, searching for data , developing a budget, making an outline, writing your draft, proofreading, making revisions, and submission of the application.
Some points to keep in mind are:
1) Write clearly and concisely
2) Read the Program and Application Guidance before you start. Then read it again and highlight or make notes of important information
3) Make sure your organization is eligible to apply.
4) Check the guidelines to see if you have an eligible project.
5) Is your budget reasonable?
6) If in doubt, seek advice
7) Find someone from outside your group to read your narrative and give you feedback.
8) Make sure you have enough time to produce a competitive narrative. If you don't, wait until next time.
9) Remember a grant reviewer's job is stressful, repetitive work. Put yourself in their place and write a complete responsive narrative.
Good luck. With the help of this series, it should be about time to hit the submit key, pat yourself on the back and take a break. But only the rest of the day — tomorrow you should begin research for your next proposal.
About the author
Jerry Brant is a Senior Grant Consultant and Grant Writer with FireGrantsHelp and EMSGrantsHelp. He has 40 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter in rural west central Pennsylvania. He is a life member of the Hope Fire Company of Northern Cambria, where he served as chief for 15 years. He is currently an active member of the Patton Fire Company #1. For 20 years, Jerry was employed as the executive director and then president of a small non-profit community development corporation. Jerry has successfully written more than $52 million in grant applications and proposals. Jerry can be reached at Jerry.Brant@FireGrantsHelp.com.
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