• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.

Writing Grants

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Allright, here is the situation. Currently I am temp worker at the MPO for our area. I graduate school in May and currently have 3+ years of work related experience. Now, I've been keeping my ears open around here and know who does what and who doesn't do what. I know there is some dead wood laying around, but it can't be burned because of the union. I also know that there are already to many people working here for them to hire permently, until somebody retires or kicks the can.

Here's the deal, I was talking to an anonymous worker and they told me that if I could get funding for projects, I'd probally get a slot here because current grant writer doesn't write any, and others have tried but failed. I know it seems kind of sneaky, but these days you have to be cuthroat and a snake in the grass.

So throbbing brain (tm), any ideas and resources to check out?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
There are several resources out there to aid in grant writing. One is to start breezing throught the Federal Registers to look for any new programs or opportunities for funding from various agencies of the federal government.
Another major resource (depending on what you want the money for and where it will be used) is the non-profit charitable groups that operate in the Buffalo area. I don't have they're web address handy, but the Carnegie Library (I'm sure you're familiar with them) keeps a database on almost every non-profit in the country, the geographic areas they operate in and their giving patterns both online and at the Foundation Center located at the main branch in Oakland.

It may help to give them a call at 412-622-1917.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
If any potential grants would be thru your state, check out the appropriate agency's website; they should have information on available grants, rules, applications, etc. Of course, the federal website has extensive information on federal programs.

See if there's a local association for grant-writing professionals. They quite often have low-cost seminars on various aspects of grant-writing. And there are a number of grants professionals associations on the web, with varying levels of free info.

I write grants, as has Trail Nazi, and I'm sure many others on Cyburbia can help you out.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Zoning Goddess said:
See if there's a local association for grant-writing professionals. They quite often have low-cost seminars on various aspects of grant-writing. And there are a number of grants professionals associations on the web, with varying levels of free info.

I write grants, as has Trail Nazi, and I'm sure many others on Cyburbia can help you out.
I'll have to search some of these websites later today. Is there a certian way to write these requests, as it seems the persons who tried here where rejected. Any do's and dont's?
 

Trail Nazi

Cyburbian
Messages
2,779
Points
24
Just make sure that before you go for your grant, you get permission from the MPO board. Some places I have worked won't let staff go through with the grant unless they give their okay. Also, if your MPO has a consolidated comp plan, make sure you use the GOP's of the plan to support your application. (That is a major biggie to make sure you can support your need for money.) If they do not have a consolidated comp plan for the area that is represented, start pulling policies from those jurisdictions that the MPO supports.

OT - Grant writing would be one of my ideal jobs.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
One of the reasons I don't like grant writing is that there is seldom any creativity in it. The key in the successful ones I have written is to read and listen closely, then give the agency you are applying to a proposal that is essentially written in their own words. Having also been in a position of awarding grants for a nonprofit, I do understand why this works, but it isn't all that much fun.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Pick a couple of the issues your area has wanted to address, but has not had the resources to do it with. If you serve communities in the metro, don't limit yourself to just the metro. Maybe there is a poorer community that has wanted to do something about its infrastructure, or its downtown, or its derelict grain silos. Identify these issues and then identify the funding they need. You are probably looking at federal and non-profit funds, as you are already an entitlement area for CDBG. Approach your bosses, tell them that these are issues that interest you and that you may have identified possible funding, then ask if it would be alright to submit a grant application.

Before you begin to write, look at past recipients' projects to get a feel for what gets approved. Why? was it financial need? Targeted populations? Certain aspects of the projects. Formulate your approach but don't begin writing yet. Talk to the people offering the grant. This is often easier to do with state and federal government than it is to do with private foundations. Weave your area's story and the proposed solution into the discussion of the mechanics of applying for the grant. They will give you clues about what is important to them. Now you are ready to write, but don't forget about the reader. Use pictures, maps, graphs, and anything else that will help explain the need and the project. Lastly, get letters of support from anyone you can find.

Of course, you will have to write the applications in a way that creates a position for somebody to implement the project.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Rumpy Tunanator said:
I'll have to search some of these websites later today. Is there a certian way to write these requests, as it seems the persons who tried here where rejected. Any do's and dont's?
There's no way to know without seeing what types of projects they've applied for. We are in the position here of having exhausted the big-ticket items and are down to trail connectors and other less conspicuous projects that don't have the "oomph" of earlier funded projects, plus most of our grant apps are graded on a relatively strict point scale. So, as Lee Nellis said, creativity can be limited.
 
Top