In the current age of shrinking tax bases, aging infrastructure, and the ever-evolving economic impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, identifying ways to fund priority local projects and programs is critical. Public and private grant programs provide a solution by providing alternative funding for projects and programs while limiting the financial burden placed on taxpayers. Unfortunately identifying and applying for grant funding can be an overwhelming, tedious, and time-consuming endeavor for local governments who are now more than ever being asked to do more with less. Hiring a professional grant consultant can provide a solution to this challenge. A grant consultant can provide your organization with the resources and support necessary to help consistently put your grant applications ahead of the pack. To achieve this outcome, a good grant consultant should provide local governments with these three essential levels of added support.
A grants consultant should help create, and regularly review/revise, a comprehensive grant strategy that reflects your community’s unique mission and vision. Ideally, they should work with you to understand your short- and long-term goals and identify priority projects that are grant-fundable covering a wide range of focus areas including arts and culture, economic development, historic preservation, open space preservation, parks, tourism, public safety, and transportation just to name a few. Key to this effort, they should help you understand how to utilize new grant funding in a manner which provides relief to your capital budget or supports additional services to residents that without alternative funding would not be possible. Ultimately, the development of a strategy will also help you leverage government assets and partnerships including local nonprofits to enhance your capacity for continuing existing programs and implementing new services.
Local governments have a wide range of functions, placing constant pressure upon municipal staff to deliver on a laundry list of daily responsibilities. Unfortunately, preparing competitive grant proposals is not always at the top of these lists. To make matters worse, local governments regularly face narrow windows of time between a grant announcement and its submission deadline. As a result, coordination becomes the key to maximizing that window of time in order to ensure the submission of a complete and competitive application. Your grant consultant should be able to balance giving you valuable guidance throughout the application process without inundating you and your staff with unnecessary information. By leveraging a deep base of knowledge and practicing clear client communication a grant consultant will provide you with the edge needed to work effectively and efficiently throughout the application preparation process.
Undoubtedly, the most important element of the grant process is submitting a complete and competitive application in a timely fashion. On the most basic level, hiring an experienced grant consultant should offer you precise execution that produces consistent results. A grant consultant should offer quality research and a wide range of knowledge relative to a myriad of grants offered by various governmental and non-governmental agencies. Most importantly, they should be able to align your projects to the objectives of a particular grant or funder and make a compelling case as to why your request should be funded. At the end of the day, a local government should be clearly seeing the success of its grant-related efforts through a wide variety of different funding streams and a significant financial return on the time, energy, and cost of grant application development.
We are experiencing a time like no other, as the financial and operational pressures placed upon local governments have challenged the offering of core services that the public relies upon. Funding to improve public infrastructure, health, safety, and programming is readily available on a variety of levels, regardless of the type of community or population you serve. Hiring a grants consultant to work with you and your staff to formulate a strategic plan, coordinate application development, and execute timely submissions can dramatically improve your functionality as a team, and help to alleviate existing financial burdens. This will also assist your team’s ability to create a proactive model of public service at a time when it is needed the most.