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, 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.
The ongoing financial and operational pressures placed on local governments continue to pose significant challenges to the core services they provide to the public. 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 when it is needed the most.