Grant Writing: Why It’s Important and How to Get Started
Police departments get a lot of their funding from grants. Each year, a department gets an operational budget, but there are other needs that cost money too, like extra equipment, training, vehicles, and extra personnel. Grants are a great resource for departments to help cover these extra costs. It doesn’t matter what size your department is, grants are beneficially and worth the effort. If you need a little help getting started, it is important to understand what grants are available and how to write a proposal.
Finding the Right Grant
Grant writing is more than just filling out an application. It takes a lot of research to find the write grant for your needs. There are different categories that grants fall into, including safety, human services, and environmental needs. Each has its own requirements for eligibility and deadlines for applying. If you find a grant that fits your needs and it is only open once a year, you either need to find a different grant or wait until it is open again.
How to Write a Proposal
When writing a grant proposal, there are four basic components; the departments needs, an intended approach, predicted outcomes, and future funding.
- Department Needs. Discuss the needs of your department in depth. Talk about the issues you are experiencing, threat assessments, or vulnerabilities that you have identified. If possible, site examples on results you have seen from other jurisdictions, local or state requirements, and why now is the right time to address these needs.
- Intended Approach. This is the time to detail the plan you have for the money. Cover how the project is going to help and why your plan is the best solution, discussing why other options won’t be as great. List out how you intend to use the money specifically.
- Predicted Outcomes. Write out a list of benefits that you predict will be a result of your project. Include any targets and timeframes you have in the plan. At the end of the project, you will need to report on the benchmarks you hit, and the progress made, so make sure everything listed here is measurable and realistic.
- Future Funding. After the project is over, your department will require maintenance. Include how you will fund this project and where you plan to go after the project ends. It is important that there is a long-term plan for each project so that those making the final decision know that you have thoroughly planned everything out.
The best advice you can get for grant writing is to look over the applications and lists of questions. If it asks for exact information, make sure that you are including it in your writing. Do not just submit the same form for each grant. Not answering the basic questions or including the exact points they ask for is a sure way to get your proposal rejected. Read over everything carefully and adjust as needed.
Grant writing isn’t as easy as it seems on the surface. Once you write a proposal, the money is not guaranteed. Since many departments are vying for grants, each one is very competitive. The best way to get funding is to have someone in charge of grants. They are the point of contact who stays on top of deadlines, writes and submits proposals, and knows the requirements for each one. With the right amount of effort, you will get the grant money your department needs.
eFORCE has a grant writer available to help your agency with a grant. The Texas NIBRs grant is available for a limited time and eFORCE has helped 30+ Agencies secure over 3M in grant funding. Visit eforcesoftware.com/nibrs for more information.