Four Steps to Take Advantage of New Funding Opportunities

Want to know exactly how to take advantage of these new federal funds? Tia Cavender, CEO of Dig Deep, outlined four steps to do this on the Ripple Effect podcast.

Step one is to figure out which funding agency funds the projects you have. For example, if your project deals with water reclamation, you should be looking at the USBR.

Step two is to sign up for that funding agency’s notifications and get on their email distribution list. That way, you can be notified if any news of interest is blasted out or in case you need deadline reminders.

Step three is to pay attention to your project’s eligibility and determine which grants are worth your time to invest in preparing an application. Your project needs to be in the top 2-10% of all applicants to be competitive for federal funding. If you’re less competitive than that, it’s not worth your time or resources to pursue. The FEMA BRIC program, for example, is the most competitive program. The top 2% of applicants move forward for consideration but are not guaranteed funds. This competition is due to more people coming to the table and costs having risen, reflecting larger asks and less money to go around.

Step four is to ensure you have enough time to plan. Infrastructure funds take years to make an impact. If you’re used to thinking that it’s best to throw your hat in the ring now to take advantage of a grant opportunity before the deadline, even if your application isn’t perfect, you need to change your approach. In this funding climate, you’re better off waiting another year if your project isn’t fully developed and/or competitive enough. Quality over quantity.

We regularly blast out more in-depth information regarding tips for your application, downloadable resources and grant alerts. Sign up for our email newsletter here.

Breaking Down All This New Funding

Have you been hearing about all this new funding but don’t know what it means? The federal government has passed acts to support infrastructure funding including The Infrastructure and Jobs Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act. What do these acts aim to do? How can you take advantage of these funds?

All of these are intended to fund existing grant programs or start new grant programs that push money out for infrastructure projects like those for drinking water or wastewater. These acts can also create new loan programs.

The other goal is to make funding more accessible. SRF (state revolving fund) programs in every state are loan programs, sometimes associated with principal forgiveness. With Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds, states have been supplementing principal forgiveness which helps disadvantaged communities. This evens out the playing field and makes the funding landscape less competitive for rural and disadvantaged communities, which is an administration aim through the Justice40 Initiative.

Now that you know more about these funding opportunities, you are able to make educated decisions as to what types of funding to pursue. Just because more money has been allocated, it doesn’t mean you should apply to any and everything expecting results. Assess the options and only apply to programs you are highly competitive for. Don’t waste your resources on grants that won’t be fruitful.