Thread: DJ's on 11/2/05

  1. #1
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    Default DJ's on 11/2/05

    Just got our DJ letter, thanks for everything from everyone. I will probably use a pro next year as I am not a pro. Thanks again and good luck to all!!

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    Did the DJ mention that you did make it into Review?

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    Unhappy Dj

    We also received our DJ today. At least we made it to peer review. It indicated that the reviewers scored it sufficiently low enough in the four areas of review to not warrant funding based on written merit. So, I guess it's back to the drawing board reworking this years proposal for next year. Wondering if it's really worth the effort anymore.
    Last edited by ksmith31; 11-02-2005 at 12:38 PM.

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    I have grown weary of this process...we have consulted dozens of people, keep getting tons of input on what we need to do, and once again, a Dear John. We made it to peer review and got shot down again. So now I have to come up with a way to replace 35 obsolete and rapidly failing SCBA with no budget for them...

    This is getting pathetic...we are a consolidated department, the first of its kind in Central PA...and yet there is an area where there is a department that is one of 4 covering 4 tiny areas which combined are smaller than our entire footprint (with a total call volume of 1/10 of ours) that recceived money for facilities mods before we get equipment? Something is not right here...
    Kevin Lubinsky
    Captain
    West Shore Bureau of Fire
    Cumberland County PA

    FTM-PTB-EGH

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    At least they're giving a little more feedback than before, with the low scores in the 4 categories. This round of DJs is the one where statistically you are competitive for the projects, the narrative was just not quite right. It could be because something was included OR excluded. Depends on the situation.

    Also depends on who you consult. If you remain localized in advice, operations, and mindset, you're missing the grand scheme of things as far as knowing what others are doing. There are lots of folks that claim to be successful grant writers/consultants, and while many know what it takes, many more know how to sell ketchup to people with white gloves. Reviewing dozens of apps is nothing anymore, and if all you ever consult is previously awarded applications, you won't learn anything. There's bad in good, and good in bad, so you need to be able to draw parallels between your application and those that were both awarded and denied so you can not only figure out what to do, but what not to do.

    Trust me, it is a never-ending process. I've got 5 years and 1000s of apps reviewed, and I still look for more every day. Grant writing is just like the fire service: once you think you know it all it's time to get out because you're not going to do anyone any good anymore. Contact one of us offline if you want, I've got many SCBA apps in the bag in previous years, and about a dozen more already working for 2006. No promises, the person that gives you guarantees is the one to avoid. It's all about making the app as competitive as possible.

    - Brian

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    Well here we are... Another day of DJ's and we haven't heard anythin, NO DJ, or 1199. So where does that put us? If this next round is the last, where the heck do we stand???

    Any idea guys???

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    It took 5 days to send the other round out, so it will probably take at least 2-3 to get this round done since there will be about 5000 DJs that will have to go out. Since the ball has started to roll, I would imagine all notifications (good or bad) will be out within the next 7 days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    . Reviewing dozens of apps is nothing anymore, and if all you ever consult is previously awarded applications, you won't learn anything. There's bad in good, and good in bad, so you need to be able to draw parallels between your application and those that were both awarded and denied so you can not only figure out what to do, but what not to do.
    - Brian
    I think you are on to something here. It's fairly easy and common for folks to share thier successful narratives here on the forum. However, I think it may, in the end, be more beneficial for all to start looking at narratives that made it to peer review, but were denied. It may be more helpful for those who are consistently turned down to look for trends and reasons in denied apps as opposed to just looking at those that are funded...It should give a much more balanced look. However, it is also important to remember that there is no cookie cutter way to get funded.....It is a competitive grant and as long as there are more applicants that $$$ available, there will always be denials...

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    However, it is also important to remember that there is no cookie cutter way to get funded.....It is a competitive grant and as long as there are more applicants that $$$ available, there will always be denials...
    Truer words have never been spoken. The only thing you can do is submit the most competitive application possible for the operational deficiency you have defined as your most pressing. It's the creation of said application that keeps the whole thing as fun as a barrel of monkeys. On crack.

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    Default DJ Today



    We got our DJ today. A little further along in the process than last year but basically for the same reason, different project this year thou.

    The question is how best to 'prove' the need for additional funding.

    This years request was for SCBA to replace our packs that are 15+ years old and were converted from Scott 2.2 to 4.5 many moons ago.

    Need to follow up with a neighboring department that was awarded in the 1st round to see how different their narrative was from ours, for a very similar project(SCBA's), around the same size FD, same or larger budget.

    We can't really complain have received two grants over the years. I think the overall ranking would probably help, what you grant scored and where the cut-off was, but that may just cause more pain.

    Here is an excerpt from the DJ:

    [I]It is not possible for us to provide a detailed account of how each
    individual application was rated in the competitive process. However, we
    can tell you that a panel of your fire service peers reviewed your
    application, and that our analysis is based solely on the scores submitted
    by the panelist. The panelists scored four elements of your application
    narrative: 1) clarity of the project description, 2) demonstration of
    financial need, 3) demonstration of benefits to be derived from the
    grant funds and 4) affect on daily operations. The peer review panel's
    scores were generally worthy except for the lack of sufficiently
    compelling information with respect to your department's financial need.[

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    Many wise words being spoken today, to many broken spirits! Guys, part of grants is that not everyone can be funded. There is only so much money out there, and some have to win and some have to lose. Remember. I have worked with many applciations that made it to peer review and were rejected one year and all we did was update numbers and resubmit and it got funded the next year. Education is key to success here and you have to know the "processes" involved in these programs, as well as what to actually write. Get educated and take solace in the fact that your application made it past the first hurdle. Just like a track star, you will lose many races before you start winning. Hang in there and learn the one principle that I teach all my stundets; persisitence! If you never apply, you can never win. Learn from here, learn from us, learn from others and you will eventually start to be succesful at this. Remember that a good professional grant writer in this country only averages getting 1 out of every 3 grants that they submit,awarded. Never say die! No is just a word. It does not mean forever, it just means not right now. remember if you got rejected, all those that got funded are also no longer your competetiton next year and the guys that have never applied are apt to be making the same mistakes you made. Keep on digging, keep on applying.
    Kurt Bradley
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    Unhappy Wording of DJ

    I found it interesting that kennypSHFD's DJ was worded slightly different than ours. Below, I have highlighted the difference that I noticed ...

    It is not possible for us to provide a detailed account of how each individual application was rated in the competitive process. However, we can tell you that a panel of your fire service peers reviewed your application, and that our analysis is based solely on the scores submitted by the panelist. The panelists scored four elements of your application narrative: 1) clarity of the project description, 2) demonstration of financial need, 3) demonstration of benefits to be derived from the grant funds and 4) affect on daily operations. The peer review panel's scores were sufficiently low in all four of these elements to indicate to us that your application should not be considered for funding on its written merits. A full description of the application review process is included in the Program Guidance.

    You'll notice that his said The peer review panel's
    scores were generally worthy except for the lack of sufficiently
    compelling information with respect to your department's financial need.[


    It would appear to me that they are giving a little more insight as to were people should focus for next year, if they should so decide to try put themselves through this again.

    KTB ~ I am curious how those that got funded this year are no longer competition for next year. They can re-apply for another project and still come out better than us.

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    Good catch ksmith. I need to clarify that. If a department applies to get SCBA or turnout in this year, they are not going to apply for the same things next year, as the preference was afforded them in equipping 100% of their staff, so in effect they will not be competeting against them in the next year for SCBA or turnouts. If you went for a truck, you are only allowed one, so they are no longer competetion either. Also the PG states that a "higher priority will be assigned to those departments having never recieved a previous grant award". All things that would work in a previosuly unfunded departments favor.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Kelly - I'm probably stating the obvious, but in your case, you were low across the board. In Kenny's case, they agreed to the project, but what they didn't agree with was the reasoning behind not being able to be funded locally. There are several possibilities for this. One is a whole lot of new trucks, stations, or simply a larger budget that only a smaller percentage goes to salaries and benefits. There are many more, those are just some of the biggies.

    Priority will go to previously unfunded departments, but don't blow that out of proportion and think that you can just throw anything together because everyone else already got money. In a situation of equal score, preference will go to the department that has never been awarded before, but that fact won't add points to your score. The app still has to meet priorities and pass the review.

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    Default DJ Today

    I guess the question is were we uncompetive at the dollar amount we requested just over 100K and if we asked for less would we have gotten it or is the feeling our budget vs the departments criteria(call volumn, budget....) not a match.

    Kenny

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    Could be D) - All of the Above. While no single factor will make or break the app on it's own, a few of those put together will. Drop me a line if you so chose, I can point you in a few directions.

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    Unhappy Dj

    I got the DJ today. I guess I should be happy that I made it to the review panel on my first attempt. I became a member of this forum after I submitted my application and realized shortly after that my narrative wouldn’t be good enough to be funded. I learned that my approach wasn’t technical enough. I think its time for a bottle of Grey goose.

    Good luck to all
    Fortune does not change men; it unmasks them.

    The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter!! Either side of the hill.


    IACOJ PROUD

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    Default Dj

    Thank you for clarifying that. As much information I try to absorb from all of you, my simple mind just can't hold it all.

    BC ~ In past years have the DJ letters been customized to reflect how it went in the peer review and where you lacked information? My understanding from some of last year's posts in this forum was that there was a basic blanket DJ that went to everyone that said the same thing. I just thought it interesting that this one directly stated that we fell short in all four areas whereas kennypSHFD's letter stated they fell short in the area of financial need. Is this something new - sending out different letters. If this happened last year then I probably missed out on some really good advice.

    So, thank you to all (especially Dixie, BC and KTB) who offer their knowledge up to those of us who are new and unexperienced at this. There is so much that I don't know about this and I appreciate what you've already taught me. If I decide to really give this another shot, I may be calling on you for some help.

    One last thing, BC. When you said that priority would go to previously unfunded departments, does that mean that if I got a burn building three years ago and am trying for SCBA now, a previously unfunded department that is trying for SCBA has priority over me or all departments who have been unfunded have priority over me? Probably a stupid question but one I have to ask. (And if you've already answered it somewhere else, I'm sorry.)

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    Yes, in past years DJs were very generic and didn't help out. In response to our (everyone that ever made a comment about the program, not just a few of us)recommendations that they modify the DJs to inform us about what to concentrate on, they did. Too many times people were taking the DJs and completely overhauling something that just needed tweaking in response to the generic information. Those of us that tweaked fared better just because we knew to do that. DHS isn't out to make this an impossible task, they'd prefer that everyone be able to work their own app just based on the PG and their free workshop. But the fact remains they can't spill all of the beans or really help you design a project, so they do what they can to help narrow down areas of improvement.

    It probably was a programmatic change on the back side of things that allowed them to tailor the DJs more. They do hold each score separately for each section, as well as the combined and averages, so it's easy enough to have a set of sentences loaded into a database and change which one shows up based on an algorithm. I have similar applications written for my company. You're welcome for the small insight into what us nerds do all day

    Priority of previously unfunded departments: a definite maybe on your question. If the scores come out to be identical, I read it that the preference will go to the department that hasn't gotten money before. The few times I've asked the official word seems to agree. But if you score 88 and they score 87, they won't get it before you. Both 88s, probably giving preference to the 1st time winner.

    Roughrider - if nothing else, take solace in knowing you have good taste in Vodka.

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    Next round of grants out for this Friday. Very few listed this time but also looks like 2nd round of Safer are in there also.

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    and my sources are generally stating the same thing. A couple of SAFERS and maybe a hundred or so AFGPs. Looks like there will be some more rounds to follow during November in conjunction with those DjJ recinsion letters that went out and the special panel that will be convened to review them.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    As of 5;00PM EST the DJ's are still landing out there. Just heard from one of my departments who checked earlier at 3:00EST and it was not there. They will probabaly be going out all night long. Funny thing the 3 departments of mine that got DJ's today were all Rescue/EMS standalones. Looks to me like they ran out of money more than anything else being wrong with their apps.
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Dear John Fact. Our department got our DJ this morning via email at 9am. DJ was also posted on our application on the web site. I check another grant that I did for another department at the same time and nothing was posted. Six hours later (to the minute) The other department as informed with a DJ......What sucks is both said the same thing. You have No ideal what was wrong with your application......

    Good luck to the rest......

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    Received our DJ at 4:57 pm. Mine is still slightly different that the other 2 that were posted:

    "The peer review panel's scores indicate that your application was generally lacking in all three elements, i.e., there was some information that was useful, but not enough compelling information to be considered for funding on its written merits."

    The thing is, there were 4 elements, but they didn't tell me which 3 were lacking. Oh well.

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    Cool

    I just recieved a DJ for ANOTHER department that I wrote for... I must not be a good grant writer! HHAHAHAHA, they will live on their 200K budget just fine!

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