The ins and outs of the grant world may seem confusing and overwhelming, making hiring a grant writer an attractive option. While bringing on board a professional in this field requires an initial investment, the long-term benefits of this decision, such as time and cost savings and increased chances of success, make it worthy of consideration.
Saving Precious Time
With the open window for grant applications being so small, missing out this year means your community would have to wait till next year to apply again. The same goes for a grant application that doesn’t get selected–it’s not only the sting of losing out on the competitive grant, but it’s also knowing your community’s flooding project won’t be funded for at least another year.
Have members of your community wondered if hiring a grant writer is worth the investment? In this episode of UrbanHydro, Shauna Urlacher explores how an experienced grant writer can save you time, alleviate frustration, and even provide long-term cost savings. Don't miss out on the secrets they bring to the table!
[00:00:58] Grant writer helps expedite and improve applications.
[00:01:50] Red flags to the grant selection committee.
[00:03:06] Reimbursed grant writing saves money and eases administration.
Case Study: A Community Saves Time To Keep Their PDM
I was recently hired by a community selected for a Pre-Disaster Mitigation Congressionally Directed Spending grant. FEMA notified the community of their selection and gave them just over two weeks to prepare and submit their sub-application, or they would not receive the funding.
They briefly considered their options of using their consulting engineer or hiring a grant writer. They chose a grant writer because of the tight timeframe. When FEMA notified them that their project was selected, it was just a concept.
They did not have an engineering study
Storm sewer sizing was not complete
They had not selected an alternative
And their Hazard Mitigation Plan was expired.
During the preparation of their sub-application, they mentioned how impressed they were that I knew who to contact for various pieces of documentation, and my contacts were highly responsive to my requests. A professional grant writer can hit the ground running to meet tight deadlines and will know who to contact for supplemental documentation.
Grant applications can be a laborious task, particularly for those unfamiliar with the process. Allow an experienced grant writer to take the reins and expedite this process for you. This decision can significantly reduce time delays, allowing your project to get off the ground faster.
More so, the professional acumen of a grant writer shines through their ability to understand the preferences of the granting agency. As they bring unique project attributes to light, a seemingly uninspiring project suddenly becomes a star contender.
Minimizing Errors, Maximizing Success
Any misstep in the process can immediately send your application to the rejection pile. However, an expert grant writer can identify these potential pitfalls, navigate around them, and handle remaining concerns tactfully.
Knowing what FEMA and the selection committee will consider a red flag means your grant writing specialist can help you either remove the red flag item from the grant application or supply a thorough explanation that puts their concerns at ease.
I recently reviewed a sub-application one of my clients prepared themselves. They decided to hire a professional after their application was denied. I found that their project narrative was unclear. Were there multiple phases to the project or were they offering different alternatives? If I couldn’t understand what they were proposing, how would FEMA understand it? They later explained that they wanted the entire project funded but were willing to move forward with just part of the improvements if needed. They left the scope of work vague to allow FEMA to award either option, but this is not how FEMA applications work. This approach hindered their sub-application because FEMA didn’t know what improvements were proposed. An unclear scope of work is a red flag to FEMA. If the community is unsure about the details, FEMA is less likely to select the project for funding. FEMA needs to know exactly how the funds will be used.
A skilled grant writer can strike the optimal balance between framing your grant ask while simultaneously highlighting your project's strengths thoroughly and in a manner that doesn't hamper the success of your application.
Playing the Long Game – Cost Savings
Contrary to initial belief, hiring a grant writer is a cost-effective strategy. This professional is capable of determining a perfect funding request that maximizes the chances of securing funds while covering all financial requirements of the project.
The grant writer's talent suite extends to identifying non-reimbursable and eligible expenses, all designed to sculpt an application that seeks maximum cost recovery masterfully. Extra perks include often overlooked grant writing fees that can be later reimbursed through the grant, leading to further financial savings. However, the grant application must anticipate all of the eligible costs. FEMA often describes the grant application as a box. The box is sealed when the grant is awarded and only the items inside the box can be reimbursed (up to the grant amount).
Smooth Sailing Post-Award
The icing on the cake? A grant writer ensures the application is ready to run smoothly from the moment it is awarded. This forward-thinking approach offers you future peace of mind, as it minimizes post-award administrative hassles.
Deciding whether to take the DIY route or hire a professional grant writer is a significant decision. However, with evidence pointing towards time-saving, increased chances of project funding success, long-term cost savings, and future administrative ease, it seems clear that an experienced grant writer might just be the game-changer your project–and your community–needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of hiring an experienced grant writer for your grant application?
The benefits of hiring an experienced grant writer include saving time, advancing your project timeline, and establishing trust with the selection committee. They can highlight unique aspects of your project and address potential red flags, increasing your chances of selection.
How can hiring a grant writer result in long-term cost savings for your project?
Hiring a grant writer can result in long-term cost savings by skillfully determining the optimal funding amount needed while maximizing reimbursement of project costs. They can also identify eligible expenses beyond the engineer's estimate, potentially saving you money in the long run.
How can a grant writer maximize your reimbursement of project costs?
A grant writer can maximize your reimbursement of project costs by identifying eligible expenses beyond those in the engineer's estimate. For example, grant writing fees can often be reimbursed through the grant, saving you money and increasing your funding.