How Building Partnerships Can Aid Your Grant Application

One of the most important parts of your grant application process is building partnerships. Funders are interested in supporting projects that have the support and participation of the community. The more support that you can demonstrate, the stronger your grant application will be.

Formalize existing connections. It is likely that your organization has relationships with other organizations that are directly working on the project or have an interest in the project’s outcome. Make the effort to formalize these existing relationships by asking for a letter of support, letter of commitment, or memorandum of understanding. Once the connection is formalized, the document can be included to strengthen your application.

Make strategic new connections. Reach out to other organizations that might be positively impacted by the project or might be interested in participating in the project at some level. The more connections and support your project has, the more fundable it will be. Of particular interest are partnerships between regional entities and nonprofit organizations. If there is a way to include a partner from another sector, it is often worth the effort.

Be sure to make formalized connections for the best chance at success with your grant applications.

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Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: What to Expect

“Much of the water infrastructure investments enacted through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will be provided to local governments in the form of principal forgiveness funds. Ultimately, the bottom-line effect is a huge reduction in the overall cost of a project that is financially equivalent to receiving a grant from the government but is tied to a low-interest loan administered by the state,” says Cavender. This is helping the rollout of funds to avoid delays, meaning projects get funded more efficiently.

“The BIL funding will vary from state to state, because all states manage their own SRF programs…For example, principal forgiveness for wastewater projects in Colorado is capped at $1.5 million per project, regardless of how much the project costs,” says Cavender, “By contrast, a $10 million drinking water project might be eligible for $4.9 million in principal forgiveness.” Do your research into your state SRF programs to see what the cap is per project type for BIL funds to aid your project.

Tempering expectations is of the utmost importance when going through the grant application process. While having BIL pass is exciting, those funds cannot possibly meet all the need that exists in the landscape of capital infrastructure projects. “For example, one of the grants available right now from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant…It was funded in the amount of $1 billion in 2022, but unless you’re at the top 2 percent of the most competitive projects in the entire country, you’re probably not going to get funded,” says Cavender. That is why it’s valuable to do your research, prepare diligently, and seek out assistance from a consultant like Dig Deep to better navigate the funding landscape.

Read the rest of Dig Deep CEO Tia Cavender’s interview with Municipal Water Leader on page 32.

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