Laura Millar
You’ve pinpointed exactly what your department needs, searched through dozens of grant opportunities, and pinpointed a few great opportunities. Thanks to our first blog on winning grants, you have set yourself up for great success. The next step is actually writing the application!


Tailor Your Application
There are four types of proposals:
   1.    Good Idea; Good Proposal
   2.    Good Idea; Bad Proposal
   3.    Bad Idea; Good Proposal
   4.    Bad Idea; Bad Proposal

It should come as no surprise that the vast majority of funded proposals come from the first type. In a world with many needs and little money, funding organizations can receive hundreds of grant proposals. The best way to increase your odds at receiving funding is to have a solid, achievable idea that is backed by a thorough and well-written proposal.
How do you write that great proposal? It all starts with making sure that your idea lines up DIRECTLY with what the funders are looking to support. Need a new fleet of iPads? Don’t waste their time and yours by applying to an organization funding grants for motor vehicles.

Prove Your Worth
Every funding organization wants to fund the proposals with the highest chance of success and the biggest impact to the greater community. Tailoring the proposal to the opportunity requires fulfilling 4 main ideas.

What They Are Looking For:  Is your organization a credible potential grantee?
Do This:  If you’re a department in public safety, you may think that your department automatically qualifies as credible. Remember that you are competing against dozens of other departments. Highlight what makes your department special, and be specific. Instead of “we’ve been honored by the state,” share the details of that award. Do you have excellent stats to share? Numbers are a funding organization’s best friend.

Answer These Questions:
How long has your department been around?
What grants, honors, or awards have you been given in the past?


What They Are Looking For:  Can you fulfill the terms of the proposal?
Do This:  Share your previous successes, and the talent you have access to. A department looking to fund PublicEye on a fleet of new iPads could cite their tech proficient lieutenant or IT department. Spell it out in your grant application: how do you have the skills, internally or externally, to fulfill the terms of your grant?

Answer These Questions:
What skills does your team have to meet your need?
What internal or external experts do you have access to?
Has your department succeeded in similar endeavors in the past?

What They’re Looking For:  Can you actually achieve your idea?
Do This:  Show flawless organization. Include schedules for implementation, and make sure your proposed budget is detailed and accurate. The need for perfect math cannot be overstated.

Answer These Questions:
How will this project be completed?
Does the budget line up with the idea?

What They Are Looking For:  What will change as a result?
Do This:  Show what will change as a result of this effort. This is possibly the most important aspect of your grant proposal; if funders do not see the point in your application, they why would they put thousands of dollars towards your need? Be sure that your needs are clearly defined, and explicitly state the impact that this new project will have on your department.
When a Massachusetts police department wanted to implement PublicEye, they applied for federal grant money. Rather than just summarize specs and features, the proposal went into detail about how incorporating mobile technology and PublicEye would improve their department’s response times and their ability to serve their community.

Answer These Questions:
What will the greater impact be on your community or department? Does the importance match the requested funds? Does your need match up with what they’re looking to fund?

Apply Early
Applying early can put you ahead of the deadline rush. Some committees and individuals review grants on a rolling basis, and applying early can only benefit you. It shows drive and organization, and your words will reach the organization before they’re all worn out from reading hundreds of pages of text.

Giving your department an advantage in the competitive world of grants all comes down to proving your worth. Give detail, data, and strong arguments to sway the funders to your cause.
If you’re interested in learning how chiefs have implemented PublicEye on tablets, smartphones, and laptops from grants in the past, visit www.publiceyes.com or give us a call at (603) 881-9191.

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