10 Grant Writing Tips for Maximizing Success

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There’s no question that grant writing takes dedication and a certain amount of skill. When it comes to writing grants for law enforcement agencies, time and resources are never on your side. So, what are some police grant writing tips that you can use to cut down on time and effort while maximizing your chances of success?

We talked to Michael Paddock, CEO of Grants Office, about how law enforcement agencies can greatly improve their chances of funding. Using two decades of experience, he has boiled down the best approach in this list of the 10 best police grant writing tips.

Top 10 Police Grant Writing Tips

  1. Learn as Much as Possible

Each grant has its own personality. These are the characteristics that help truly define the goal of that grant organization.

If you’re looking for a new, integrated body-cam and in-car video system, for example, you need to research your chosen grant and see if your needs match with the grant’s desire. The idea is to find a grant that closely aligns with your goals. You certainly don’t want to waste time applying to a grant that doesn’t generally support your initiative.

  1. Involve Others, with Purpose

Collaboration is not only just a good idea to help you reach the finish line when you’re in the application process, but often it is required.

Create a circle of key players and assign roles with purpose. You want to make sure all players know their role and know what success looks like with their tasks.

  1. Customize Each Proposal

All grants have unique requirements. Writing a single proposal and sending it out to every funder rarely yields positive results.

Write specifically to the grant. By doing so, you can address their objectives and further ensure that your goals align with theirs.

Related: How to Find Sources for Police Grants

  1. Get Reviewer Comments

Rejection happens. But not learning from it accomplishes little. Use the loss to your advantage.

Constructive criticism is one of the more helpful elements of grant writing. Reviewer comments from non-winning proposals can help you craft stronger proposals in the future. Use this commentary to help you aim truer at the grant’s scoring criteria the next time around.

  1. Use Letters that Show Commitment

Reference letters are great, but a simple thumbs-up from a local legislator doesn’t have a huge impact on success. Grant funders want to see commitment.

Include only support letters that demonstrate a real commitment on the part of the sender. What are they committed to doing if the project is funded? This will show how all the pieces will fall into place to advance the objectives of the project.

  1. Create an Ongoing Strategy

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Grants can be rejected, and relying on a single source can lead to a lack of success.

Instead, make grant-seeking part of your organization’s ongoing strategy. By committing energy to the grant application process, you can create a reliable source for your annual funding.

  1. Be Specific in Your Budget

Most funders have generous allowances for budget length. This means your narrative of how this funding will affect your department can be nearly endless.

Funders want to know how you will spend this money, so the more detailed and specific your application is, the better your resulting score will be.

  1. Don’t Include Excess Materials

A simple rule of thumb is, if they don’t ask for it, don’t send it. If you include a community video, for example, when it wasn’t requested, at best, the grant committee will ignore it. At worst, they’ll reject your application without review.

  1. Have an Outsider Edit Your Proposal

Clarity is key when applying for grants. Sometimes you can easily fall into industry-specific jargon that could fall on deaf ears.

Before you submit your proposal, have someone unaffiliated with the project review your narrative. This ensures that your proposal makes sense to someone who may not be accustomed to your field (and you never know who is reviewing your grant). Likewise, the outsider can check to see that the right connections between the project and the funding are made.

  1. Follow Directions

It sounds simple, but many applicants ignore some of the most basic directions set forth by funders. Whether it’s the format of the application, the structure of the narrative or anything else, you want to be vigilant in following directions. This will give you the best chance of avoiding immediate rejection.

Preparing for the Future

Use these police grant writing tips to help you get ahead of the game each year. Finding grant funding for law enforcement can be a long process, but taking the time to plan a strategy will always pay huge dividends.

Download our 2020 Grant Funding Guide

Need a budgetary quote to accompany your grant application? Contact us today.