How to Utilize Existing Connections in Your Grant Application

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.

It is likely that your organization already 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 documentation can be included to strengthen your application.

Letters of support indicate general support for the project. The author will not play a specific role in the project, but believes a project is worthwhile. High-quality letters of support add valuable depth to your proposal, just allow time for your connection to draft it. Letters of commitment indicate actual investment in a project. These letters express a willingness to commit resources, personnel, facilities, cash or other assets that will help ensure the success of the project. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is a formal agreement between two or more parties, but does not contain legally enforceable promises. An MOU typically outlines the goals, expectations and duties involved in a formal partnership.

These types of documentation show formal proof of your connections (with various levels of commitment) and therefore makes your project more likely to be funded. When you are crafting your grant application, you want to identify fundable elements and both incorporate and emphasize them. The more fundable elements in your application, the greater chance of your project securing the funding it needs to be completed, even in the competitive landscape of water infrastructure grants.

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Job Creation: An Important Aspect to Emphasize

It seems like common sense, but a new water infrastructure project will most likely create jobs. But what isn’t always common sense is using that fact to make your project more fundable. Funders are interested in investing their money in ways that create economic opportunities for communities through job creation.

There is always a greater need for infrastructure improvements than there is funding available. In order to improve the “fundability” of your project, it is important to understand the general funding landscape. Specifically, there are general project features, including emphasizing job creation, that get particular attention from funding agencies. The more fundability your project has, the better its chances of securing funding – even in a competitive landscape.

Capital and infrastructure projects can create jobs in the short-term through construction. Some projects can also create long-term jobs through ongoing operations and maintenance. Other projects may also indirectly create jobs in other related sectors. For example, improved infrastructure with greater capacity can attract new business to an area.

Job creation stimulates development or revitalization in a community. Infrastructure projects that have a larger development or revitalization can have a significant positive impact on a local economy. Consider how your proposed project might have a larger, indirect benefit to the community. The more you detail, the clearer the picture for a potential funder.

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