Use this analysis tool for a better EMS grant proposal

Brainstorming different causes that lead to an effect or problem your EMS agency wants to fix helps make a strong case for your funding request

Building a strong argument for your grant proposal is not an easy task, but using a cause-and-effect analysis to determine which areas to focus on can make the process a lot easier.

First, determine what problem are you trying to solve. For some agencies this could be quicker response times, increasing cardiac arrest survivors, or reducing injuries for on-duty personnel.

When constructing a grant proposal, be mindful of every facet of the problem and how it affects your agency and the community you serve. There are many ways to accomplish this task; one that I find very useful is the fish-bone diagram.

This technique helps identify many possible causes for a problem, and can lead to great brainstorming for an individual or a group.

For example, here’s an example of the fish-bone diagram showing a problem of missed free throws in basketball. 

As you can see, the diagram lists the possible causes that have led to the effect of missed free throws. The example above does a great job providing a broad range of specific causes, and this is exactly how you must approach a grant proposal.

Cause: Poor cardiac arrest outcomes

For our example, let’s say an EMS agency is experiencing poor outcomes for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. What factors could be contributing to these poor outcomes?

Was bystander CPR done? Were AEDs available and used? What was the response time of EMS? How far was the incident from the nearest hospital?

Take a moment to construct your own fish-bone diagram and submit it in the comments below.

Effect: Poor cardiac arrest outcomes

Now that we have an excellent idea of what causes our problem, how do we develop this information into a grant proposal?

Through your fish-bone diagram, you concluded one cause was poor AED availability. To break this down even further to get to the root cause, we could do another fish-bone diagram for just poor AED availability. However, in this article we are going to keep it simple.

We will use this information for an extremely common grant application question: summarize the purpose of this request. In this case, the purpose of requesting funding for AEDs would be to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest for your community.

This is a clear and concise opening statement that leads the way for a great grant proposal.

The fish-bone diagram is a useful tool to dissect your problem and better highlight root causes of a problem that often have financial implications and can be addressed through grant funding. 


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