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5th Annual Virginia Interoperable Communications Conference. September 30-October 1, 2008 Norfolk, VA. Grant Writing/Training Panel A discussion of key points on grant applications, writing and administering grants September 30, 2008 11:15am

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Grant Writing/Training Panel

A discussion of key points on grant applications, writing and administering grants

September 30, 2008

11:15am

Moderator:Amanda Davis, Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services

Panelists:Dorothy Spears-Dean, Virginia Information Technologies Agency

Hui-Shan Walker, City of Chesapeake

Brenda Marrah, Carroll County, Virginia

dorothy spears dean

Dorothy Spears-Dean

Virginia Information Technologies Agency

step 1 in finding a grant concepts
Step 1 in Finding a Grant: Concepts
  • A grant is a financial investment made by a granting agency to fund a project for a public safety agency
  • This investment is made because a public safety agency is able to demonstrate and justify their agency’s need for the funds in their project’s grant application
  • Therefore, a Needs Statement Should…
    • Answer the question why an agency needs grant funding for a project
    • Clearly relate the project for which grant funding is sought to the funding priorities of that grant
    • Be written from a factual basis, not an emotional one, and use quantifiable data to support the agency’s need(s)
  • Support Identified Need with a Project Description:
    • The most important information about the project, how the project addresses the need(s) identified by the agency, should always be contained in the opening paragraph
step 1 in finding a grant concepts5
Step 1 in Finding a Grant: Concepts
  • Budget:
    • Both direct and indirect costs need to be considered in developing a pro forma budget for the grant
      • Direct costs are those costs that are directly attributable to the project
      • Indirect costs can be described as fixed costs or overhead
    • Operating costs can not be transferred to the grant project (supplanting)
  • Evaluation:
    • The evaluation methodology identifies whether or not project goals have been reached
    • The methodology should be quantifiable and be a reasonable estimate of project success
    • This is often the most difficult section of a grant application
step 2 in finding a grant strategy
Step 2 in Finding a Grant: Strategy
  • Components of a strategic approach for technology initiatives:
    • A strategic approach is a systemic process or methodology
    • It begins by identifying an agency’s technology goals
    • These goals should be defined and articulated in an agency’s IT strategic plan
    • A funding source should be identified for the implementation of each goal
    • When the funding source is a grant from an outside agency, technology goals become need statements on a grant application
    • Need should drive the review and identification of potential granting sources
    • Grant solutions can not be determined before a need has been identified
    • Needs can and should have multiple grant solutions
step 3 in finding a grant a plan
Step 3 in Finding a Grant: A Plan
  • Development of an action plan:
    • Create a short abstract to summarize each project for which you are seeking funding
    • Develop a planning matrix as a strategy to maximize potential grant funding for agency projects
    • Familiarize yourself with the applications and deadlines for granting agencies
    • Contact grant administrators to discuss the merits of your project and its applicability to their agency’s current funding guidelines and criteria
    • Establish a timeline for grant submission
why apply for grants
Why Apply for Grants?
  • Limited Budgets
  • Fund New Programs
  • Continue Established Programs
  • Allows Thinking Outside the Box
  • Solve or Address Problems
  • There is $$ out there that organizations and people want to give away
finding the grant
Finding the Grant
  • Sources of Funding:
    • Federal
    • State
    • Local/Association/Organization/Non-profits

Networking and research are the two essential components of Finding the RIGHT grant for your organization

finding the grant11
Finding the Grant
  • If you are a member of an organization or association, look to your fellow members to find out about grant opportunities. Many members of organizations come from different agencies, special interests groups, and other parts of the state and may know of additional opportunities.
  • Always try to tie what you are looking for into your organizations strategic planning documents. Tying grant fund needs to strategic goals is always a plus and will improve your application and chances of being funded.
formula for success
Formula for Success

Need

+ Networking/Research

+ Direct tie to the organization’s strategy _________________________________

Greater likelihood of receiving funding and supporting the organization’s mission and vision for the future.

brenda marrah

Brenda Marrah

Carroll County

Office of Resource Development

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Finding Grants

Before You Start:

  • Wish Lists - What is needed?
  • How much is it going to cost?
  • What is the plan and timeline ?
  • 4. What is being invested into this?
finding grants
Finding Grants

Where to Look

  • Who has what I want?
  • Matching grant requirements with my needs
finding grants16
Finding Grants

Good places to start:

  • RKB: https://www.rkb.us
  • VDEM* - http://www.vaemergency.com/grants
  • DHS - http://www.dhs.gov/xopnbiz/grants
  • FEMA - http://www.fema.gov/government/grant
  • OEMS - http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/OEMS/Grants
  • Grants.Gov* - http://www.grants.gov
  • COPS - http://www.cops.usdoj.gov
  • USDA Rural Development
  • Private Funders

* grant mailing lists

dorothy spears dean17

Dorothy Spears-Dean

Virginia Information Technologies Agency

regionalism and collaboration
Regionalism and Collaboration
  • Goals for emergencies, unplanned events, and day-to-day operations.
    • Improve and/or implement service(s) to citizens
    • Provide the most efficient/effective emergency communications possible
    • Increase safety to emergency responders
    • Create interoperability and readily share information
    • Offer higher level of maintenance, security, and back-up/recovery
    • Maintain autonomy or create amenable governance structure
    • Achieve greater economies of scale
    • Reduce amount of capital outlay
    • Maximize resources – staff, facilities, specialized skill, etc
    • Embrace technology and trends
regionalism and collaboration19
Regionalism and Collaboration
  • Proactive Outreach:
    • Many grants require Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to receive funding
    • Support of local executives – (three C’s):
      • City/County administrator (CEO)
      • Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
      • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    • Endorsement of grant applications by local government during budget approval process
    • Availability and approval of matching funds
    • Compatibility, supportability, and, maintainability of grant funded technology with locality’s IT infrastructure
regionalism and collaboration20
Regionalism and Collaboration
  • Build coalitions with other public safety agencies to expand grant opportunities:
    • Police/Sheriff
    • Fire
    • EMS
    • Emergency Management/Disaster Planning
    • Advocacy Groups
  • Develop partnerships based on similar needs:
    • Regional approach
    • Mutual aid
    • Location (metropolitan area versus rural)
    • Interagency
    • Vendors
developing grant application
Developing Grant Application
  • The Three Cs:
    • Cooperation
    • Communication
    • Coordination
you can t go at it alone anymore
You Can’t “Go At It Alone” Anymore
  • All signs point toward more competitive grant processes…this means organizations and localities can not afford to “go at it alone”.
  • You must show how and to what extent your organization is working with others to leverage existing assets and “get a bigger bang for your buck”.
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By doing so, you also gain collaborative resources you can share with your partners. If you are lacking a skilled grant writer, look to others for help. If your locality or organization does not have a technical radio engineer on staff, again, look towards your neighbors to fill this gap.

You can make up for one another’s weaknesses by bringing everyone to the table to leverage the assets you already have.

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Still don’t quite have everything you need to get the project rolling???

…..Look to state agencies and the federal government to provide guidance and support. Both have trained subject matter experts on staff to assist you.

brenda marrah26

Brenda Marrah

Carroll County

Office of Resource Development

regionalism and collaboration27
Regionalism and Collaboration

Regionalism and Collaboration

Preparation:

Meet your Neighbors

The value of Networking

"If we are together nothing is impossible." - Winston Churchill

Everyone comes to the table wanting to know “What is in it for me?”

regionalism and collaboration28
Regionalism and Collaboration

Needs Assessment – Fundamental Part of any Grant

  • Where do I get it?

Does one exist?

Can you do one?

  • Where to find data:

Area and Economic data from Factfinder.Census.Gov; Virginia.Gov; VEC

Other specific needs data

regionalism and collaboration29
Regionalism and Collaboration

What else do we Need:

  • Cost Estimates
  • Resolutions
  • Memorandums of Understanding
  • Support and Commitment Letters

Key Team: The Buck Stops Here

dorothy spears dean30

Dorothy Spears-Dean

Virginia Information Technologies Agency

grant management
Grant Management
  • Guiding Principles:
    • Grants should be part of the financial planning process
    • Grant funding should address funding gaps in operating and capital budgets
    • Grants should be managed through a strategic approach that is defined in an action plan
    • Grants should address a defined agency need
    • Grants are only valuable if the derived benefits can be sustained
grant management32
Grant Management
  • Project Leadership can be a single point of failure
    • Develop a Management Plan
    • Create an Interdisciplinary Team
    • Locate Technology Partners.
    • Develop an Implementation Plan
    • Make a Commitment to Testing
    • Focus on Project Rollout and Management
  • Project management will determine if a technology project succeeds or fails
  • Bad things will happen to good projects
  • Technology projects are managed differently in public safety agencies
grant management33
Grant Management
  • As soon as you receive a grant award, create a folder to keep copies of all grant related correspondence
  • If you do not have access to your laptop, blackberry, or network, an electronic copy is not very useful
  • Send an e-mail acknowledging the grant
  • Make a note of all due dates for grant reports
  • Prepare a Press Release announcing your agency’s grant award
  • Find out how the grant funds will be transferred to your agency and alert the appropriate agency head
brenda marrah36

Brenda Marrah

Carroll County

Office of Resource Development

grant management37
Grant Management

Grant Management

Now the Works Begins:

More Collaboration and Meetings

What if changes are desired?

Can we amend?

Plan, Timeline and Dividing Tasks

grant management38
Grant Management

Now the Works Begins:

Fiscal Agent

Purchasing, Procurement and RFPs

Reporting – Designation and Responsibility

grant management39
Grant Management

Grant Closeout

  • Receipts and Record Maintenance
  • New Friendships and Alliances
  • Formulating your next Projects
challenges
Challenges
  • Short timelines and/or deadlines
  • Buy-in/participation of stakeholders
  • Match requirements
  • Technical Expertise
  • Grant management