1. #1
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    Angry Whats the Secret!

    Is there a secret password or something to get grants? It seems like every year we apply for a grant, but we always end up with the Dear John Letter. Does the wording and content have to be perfect? Any help would be appreciated.

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    There is no secret password...I truly believe there is a secret handshake however?

    Seriously though, the key to success lies in reading the program guidance, CORRECTLY filling out the app, and having your narrative address the items they are looking for; which is in the program guidance.

    The narrative must include, who you are, what you are asking for, why you need it, how it is you cant afford it, when it's going to be used.

    Another key to success is combing through the firehouse forums, Kurt, Alana and everyone else here shares your confusion and frustration, and alot of your questions have been asked/answered here.

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    I'm a firm believer in perfection doesn't occur on this Earth, so that's far from a requirement.

    But AFD is right, you must read the PGs, and address what is requested. And if you are not asking for something that is not a high priority, don't expect to be funded. With 22,000+ applications being submitted and the forecast of just over 5,000 awards, even if the really unlikely event happens where you and another department share identical statistics, if their project is a higher priority than yours, they will get the award.

    The question in my mind is: have you read the forums over and over? Have you read the available articles? I wrote 3 already in the MemberZone, at least 2 more to come. There are oodles more there as well as on other web sites.

    The biggest mistake people make is not doing an assessment. The one I have for people I work with and come to my seminars is 5 pages, about to become 7 when I finish adding everything. Does it have to be that formal, no, but for what I do I need it to be. Most can get away with a simple 2 column Word document with Projects on one side, and cost-benefit on the other.

    I'd probably type more if it weren't lunchtime and I was starving, but also it's been said over and over again on these forums for the past 5 years. Every department is different, and if you continually get denied and don't understand why, contact someone who does know. There are plenty of us out there, but the big 3 hang out here (Kurt, Alana, & myself).

    Just drop a line to one of us if you need some help, we'd be happy to assist.

    - Brian
    Brian P. Vickers
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    Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
    Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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    brian.... I too am starvin and about to grab a bite so this will be quick.
    Does the needs assesment need to be a formal document attached in body of narrative; or can you elude to it in your narrative to demonstrate you did it?

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    I believe all departments should be doing formal assessments, not just for grant programs but just because they contain all of the information that people need to make decisions about the long term strategic planning of the department.

    I mention having performed one in the narratives I wrote, and technically anyone can mention that, there's no way to prove or disprove in the app. But the way my assessments are designed, the narratives I write end up writing themselves based on the assessment's results, something that is very easy to realize when they are read. People can tell when you've done your homework on a subject, that's why I recommend involving teachers in the process as well as business people. They can see right through the BS, as can I. That's why I don't play games when working with people, I tell it like it is. If you're not going to be competitive for a truck, I tell you exactly that and why. Same thing for any project. It's a waste of everyone's time to try and go after something that isn't a priority. Assessments help to avoid going down that track in the first place.

    Plus, once I do an assessment, other than updating numbers and needs based on success or failure, it's still good 12 months later. They are a great but little used tool that FDs should embrace. You never know when someone is going to offer to buy something, and if you don't know what you need right away, you must need nothing.

    I ate half my lunch, that's why this is a little longer of a response.

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    I just want to say thanks for the info and that I will take everything that I gather to the chief. I will check out some of the other threads. Once again thanks.

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    Also, don't underestimate reading some funded narratives as well as some non-funded ones, or having someone else that's been successful read your FD's. They can then offer you a 'heads-up' or pointers on some things you may be overlooking.

    Some of the best tips you can get are from your peers.
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

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    Get thyself educated folks. Quit stumbling in the dark and get a good spotlight in your hand to illuminate your way through this. You can't learn how to do this in a 2-hour workshop, it takes some dedication and hard work but , the rewards are immense both in equipment and in personal satisfaction.There is not agreater fellign in life than opening a DHS email and seeing the words "Congratulations!")
    Last edited by ktb9780; 12-16-2005 at 09:33 AM.
    Kurt Bradley
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    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Question

    Smokey2728
    What all have you applied for and been turned down for?

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    We have had tremendous success with the program. Having been awarded both SAFER and AFGP, I do believe, just like ktb9780 said, you can not go to a 2 hour work shop and expect to master the program. Hire a grant writer and see what happens. If you are applying for a $1.5 million dollar grant doesn't $1000 or so for a writer seem like money well spent.
    Good luck

    Jack Jones
    Captain
    St. George Fire Dept.
    Baton Rouge, La.

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    Jack one more thought to your process though. If you hire a grant writer you only get one grant written, you will pay again three months later for the FP&S and again for the SAFER. If you learn to do it yourself, you can solve your departments needs year after year. Educate yourself folks, you can and will succeed. Again, just like in AFGP, look at the cost benefit!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Even better if you do hire someone is that they help teach you to do it on your own, not just blow through everything. I've seen too many departments pay a bunch of money to someone that didn't know what they were doing, but sold a good game, and departments paid a lot of money for an application for an ineligible project. Whether you decide to hire someone or not, you still need to be an educated consumer so you can figure out who really is working in your best interest and who isn't.

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    ... can I get a big AMEN to that brother!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    And - let me add, SOME grant writers, for the fee paid, provide invaluable assistance throughout the year, not just on the ONE grant - ie: SAFER or AFG. Perhaps it's administrative assistance, or grant management assistance (actual or insight/advice), consulting, referrals, etc.

    And to kinda build on what Brian said, as far as education goes, whoever you work with, paid, un-paid, whatever, you should always be able to ask as many questions as possible. Pick their brain. They should be able to give you some kind of opinion on reasons why you may not have been funded in past years. There isn't always one particular reason, but often a combination, and if they look over previous applications, narratives and such, should be able to explain why they feel the way they do, what they think you should do different, etc.

    You can learn from that. As I mentioned in another thread, sometimes you can learn as much from unfunded work as funded work. That gives pointers to the grant writer on various things. The timing of you rejection letter also clues in your grant writer, "coach" or consultant (or yourself) or whomever you choose to use. It's been mentioned in here before what the implications are of the timeline of the letters.

    There really is not one "Magic" person, type of person, style, word, etc. to use in order to be funded. And another thing, of the main ones of us, Brian, Kurt and myself, there's no way we could write, consult, review, and work on every single project out there. Just not physically possible. Or, at least let me speak for myself, and not Brian and Kurt...LOL.

    In other words, there are numerous paths to go down in order to be funded. Is there a better one? No. Perhaps there is one better suited for your FD's or organizations situation. BUT, there is not one MAGIC scenario. Not on your end, and certainly not on mine. I believe you can increase your chances/odds by doing certain things, and doing them well. Alot of that hings on education, knowing the Program Guidelines inside & out and being smart.

    Nothing magic about that...
    Alana Tomlin Denton
    Freelance Grant Writer/Consultant

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    C'mon...at least tell him there is a secret dance you have to perform in the center of town......

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFD2181
    C'mon...at least tell him there is a secret dance you have to perform in the center of town......
    I knew it, I knew there was a secret something that yo had to do. J/K. Sorry, I haven't really participated in my own thread, but I have had my hands full this past week. I'm not sure exactly what grants that we have applied for, mostly equipment I think. A lot of this is out of my relm, but I told the Chief that I would seek the advice of the almighty Firehouse members and relay the info to him. Thank you all for your help in the matter.

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    My secret doesn't involve a dance. I learned everything from Wilson while stranded on a desert island after our plane crashed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFD2181
    C'mon...at least tell him there is a secret dance you have to perform in the center of town......
    hmmm....naked, at midnight, under a full moon, wearing a feather hat - if I remember my training right. At least that's how we do it in NC...LOL...
    oh, and in the center of town, you had that part right.

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    Now dixienc, I want a HD DVD of that dance! Merry Christmas ALL!
    Kurt Bradley
    Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
    " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

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    Quote Originally Posted by dixiechicknc
    hmmm....naked, at midnight, under a full moon, wearing a feather hat - if I remember my training right. At least that's how we do it in NC...LOL...
    oh, and in the center of town, you had that part right.
    Dixie...I can tell you are down south! If we danced outside naked at midnight we'd freeze! We do our dance in the heat of the day with a parka on......You do remember the shrinkage episode on Sinefeld don't you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey2728
    Is there a secret password or something to get grants? It seems like every year we apply for a grant, but we always end up with the Dear John Letter. Does the wording and content have to be perfect? Any help would be appreciated.


    hey smoke what department are you in KVEGAS????
    Last edited by MSVFD18; 12-30-2005 at 07:44 PM.

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    Hey, did you call me yesterday, James? My cell was not with me at the FD...and I don't have you're number wrote down. If you want to shoot me an email with your contact info I'll return your call. I thought from the looks of the missed call last night it looked like you. Sorry I missed your call. I walked out and left phone at home. Or you can try again.

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    Can a grant writer help you get past the computer scoring? And/or, is there a way to change the urban/sub-urban/rural classification? They keep putting us as urban and we simply do not have anywhere near the call volume or other stats as an urban area.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Hey, I can answer two questions at once.

    Some grant writers use a formal assessment, which in turn can be used to figure out what projects can give you the best chance at making it to Peer Review.

    Mine is currently 5 pages, and it will probably end up being 7 shortly since I forgot some stuff. All of my clients as well as seminar attendees fill one out and returned to them for their records, as well as a Project Analysis detailing the Pros and Cons of each project. No one can guarantee getting past the computer, remember the dynamics of the program changes every year. For 2006, out of the 22K apps for 2005, 5400 were awarded and going for a different project. 1/3 of the denials aren't changing anything because they don't know any better, and the other 2/3s will be either tweaking or changing. So you have probably 17K different apps being submitted next year versus this year. Don't make the assumption that making PR in 2005 means you'll get there again, just like not making it doesn't mean you won't again. The only way to truely gauge your competitiveness is a proper assessment. At least half of the new (direct clients & seminar folks) filled out the assessment and just based on that they figured out where they needed to make changes. Everyone understood it's importance after I got them the Analysis back.

    The classifications are done by population per square mileage. Under 500/sq mi is rural, over 2500/sq mi is urban. In between is obviously suburban.

    And sorry if that seems like a sales pitch about the assessment, this early in the morning I couldn't think of a way to answer the assessment question without a direct example.

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    And no shrinkage factor here today. My thermostat is set for heat and 66 degree during the day. I just opened the windows because it's warmer outside than inside.

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