Evaluating funding opportunities can seem daunting, even for experienced grant-writers. Federal grant guidelines often include 75 or more pages of information and instructions! Not every funding opportunity will be a good fit for your organization or your project. By breaking down the evaluation process into stages, you can avoid spending too much time assessing programs that are an obvious mismatch to your water infrastructure project.
The first step is to eliminate programs for which you don’t meet the basic eligibility requirements. The second step – before you really dig into the guidance to assess competitiveness – is to do a more thorough assessment of the nexus between your project and funding program.
One of the most important aspects to focus on is a grant’s matching requirements. Funding agencies almost always expect your organization to bear some of the financial responsibility for the proposed project. This responsibility is known as the match and is usually expressed as a percentage of the request amount. It’s not always necessary to meet match requirements with cash, depending on the funding agency. Some will allow staff time, in-direct costs and volunteer contributions as “in-kind match”. If you can’t meet the required match percentage, consider whether it’s reasonable to lower your request amount so that the match is feasible.
Evaluating a funding opportunity can seem overwhelming. However, by focusing on a few important considerations like match requirements, you will be able to better determine if a funding opportunity is worth pursuing.
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