Grant Funding for Transportation Infrastructure Projects – Now Flowing to Cities and States

Opportunities for infrastructure and transportation grants don't come along every day, so when they do, it's important to be ready to take advantage of them. These grant applications can be lengthy and time consuming. GrantWriterTeam can help you find an experienced grant writer with a proven track record of success. Click this link to Request a Grant Writer.

Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants were announced on Dec. 11 at an event at Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters. The department said it divided the funds among 91 projects in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. The only state to not receive a BUILD grant this year was Hawaii. BUILD grants are designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The following article was reprinted from Strategic Partnerships, with permission of the author: Mary Scott Nabers. 

There’s new funding – $1.5 billion – now available to fund critical transportation projects.  Government officials are moving quickly to finalize plans and contracting solicitations should be rolled out soon.  More than 90 road, rail, transit and port projects planned in rural and urban areas of the United States will benefit from the new grant funds to support expanding and upgrading American infrastructure. These funds will offer financial support for projects in 49 states and the District of Columbia and will supplement existing or alternative financing for the projects.

Mary Scott Nabers bookInside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large, explores how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects. Nabers describes in detail the development of joint ventures that transfer risk and maintenance responsibility to private vendors under long-term contracts–with government retaining control and oversight.

The revenue is part of the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Deployment (BUILD) grant program.  This program was once the very popular Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant program. The federal government encourages using these funds with a variety of other financing sources, including municipal bonds, public-private partnerships and/or alternative funding from other sources. 

Crumbling infrastructure continues to plague government officials. The funding needs for transportation projects are great, as evidenced by the fact that requests for funding totaled $10.9 billion.  That’s more than seven times the $1.5 billion that is available in the program.

Projects in rural areas received special dispensation. While urban areas must consolidate other funding with BUILD grants, public officials in rural areas can use this funding for up to 100 percent of the costs of a project. That’s good news for the 62 projects awarded grants in rural areas. Rural applications represented 59 percent of the total applications.

Approved projects include the construction or rehabilitation of more than 200 bridges nationwide, including $20 million toward a nearly $30 million rural project in California to widen a border port of entry. Restoration and rehabilitation of arches and their foundations on the Manhattan and Brooklyn approaches to the Brooklyn Bridge are part of a $337.6 million project that was awarded a $25 million BUILD grant.

Oregon’s International Port of Coos Bay plans to spend $25 million for improvements on approximately 15 bridges along its rail line.  The project will enhance safety and extend the life of the bridges. A $20 million BUILD grant was awarded to help fund the project.

The largest grants awarded were $25 million, with no more than $150 million awarded in any state. One $134.5 million project to complete a 4.8-mile, four-lane interstate facility in southwest Missouri that will bypass US-71 and connect to Interstate 49 in Arkansas got grant funding. The city of Spring Hill, Tennessee, will use a $25 million grant toward its $48.3 million construction of an interchange on I-65. South Carolina was awarded $25 million to help fund a $51.1 million freight rail infrastructure improvements project.

Texas dominated the field of grant recipients. The Lone Star State was awarded five BUILD grants totaling more than $104 million. With a goal of building a four-lane thoroughfare and improving two existing roads, the city of Haslet will use a $20 million grant to defray the costs of a $59 million rural project expected to relieve traffic congestion. Funding of $14.05 million was awarded to the Brazos Transit District to help pay for a $17.5 million project to replace more than 30 existing buses with diesel and zero-emission battery-electric buses.

In Maryland, grant funds totaling $6.5 million will help fund a $32.7 million public-private partnership project to add a second berth at the Seagirt Marine Terminal. Sioux City, Iowa, was awarded a $7 million grant to cover the entire cost of a project to design and build an operations and bus storage facility for the Siouxland Regional Transit System. More than 100 traffic signals statewide will be replaced or enhanced in South-Central Maine with a BUILD grant of $8.2 million paying for half of the $16.48 million cost of phase one of the project. Some of the signal systems will include features such as adaptive signal technology, dedicated short-range communications and infrared camera detection.

The city of Espanola, New Mexico, received a grant of $1.29 million to help fund a $6.1 million project to construct a maintenance facility, vehicle wash bay and fueling station for the North Central Regional Transit District.  And in Youngstown, Ohio, upgrading pedestrian safety is the goal of a $26 million project that will provide autonomous transit shuttles, transit waiting environments, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and LED lighting. This project was awarded a $10.8 million BUILD grant.

The positive impact of BUILD grants is undeniable. Designed to stimulate stagnant infrastructure spending nationwide, the funding will also provide jobs and economic stimulus for all areas of the country.

The new funding is a positive indicator of a busy year in 2019. 

About the Author: Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc. (SPI), a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S.

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How To Keep Your Grant Writing Clients Happy

Are you a grant writer?

If so,  you are probably spending half to one quarter of your time finding new grant writing clients. How about living a much less stressful life by spending some of that time, just keeping your current grant writing clients happy. 

How do you do that?

  1. When you start the job – be sure you have a few ways to reach your client.
  2. Be responsive – respond to your clients emails and texts as they come in – even if it is an, "I am sorry I can't talk now – but I can in an hour."
  3. Be transparent – create a contract with a system of deliverables – as we have on GrantWriterTeam – so that everyone knows the date you will complete each part of the whole application. Meet your deadlines!!!
  4. Provide your client with their work product after they pay for a deliverable. (On GrantWriterTeam you will upload deliverables, enter a complete date and after payment the client can download their work product.)
  5. Mark drafts clearly as drafts – so no one gets upset over minor errors.
  6. Give your client a running list of documents needed – marking the date due; when received; and remind them often.  You cannot submit a grant without all the documents.  No one is happy when stress is created on the day of the grant deadline looking for documents.
  7. Read the RFP or application carefully so there are no surprises half way into the application.
  8. Spell check anything you provide to your client. Proofread and edit your text – you are the professional!  A client should only need to review your text for content.
  9. If you make a mistake – take responsibility, apologize and happily correct your error. A happy client is a returning client.
  10. Thank the client for the opportunity to have worked with them and suggest your next steps.

At GrantWriterTeam we want you to develop a long term relationship with your client and we have set up our portal in a way that rewards those long term relationships. To find new clients and grant writing projects complete your profile on GrantWriterTeam.com. 

 

 

 

About the Author: Libby Hikind is a retired grant writer and the founder and CEO of GrantWriterTeam.com

How to Apply for Grants and Write Effective Grant Proposals

Crafting effective requests for funding can be a daunting prospect. Competitive, confusing and overwhelming for newcomers, but the good news is that grant writing can be learned.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com and GrantWriterTeam, said good grant writers need skills beyond strong grammar and punctuation.  Think about what makes your proposal unique. What will set your application apart from others? Find a way to capture the funder’s attention. Is the writing creative? Imaginative? Does it evoke any emotion? Touch their hearts?  Evoke images for them?

The layout and questions on funding applications are generally straightforward, but every application is different depending on the type of funding body you approach and the kind of funding you’re applying for.

GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. The process and the ability to communicate a vision should not be underestimated. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full-time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam.

The Letter of Inquiry and Applications

Many trusts and foundations require a letter of inquiry or letter of application prior to submitting your application. The letter should be no longer than two pages. Keep your sentences short and use active language, including specific accomplishments. If there is an application form, don’t exceed the word limit. Include only the important information and the data that support it.

If you’re working with others, start by talking through the funding application with your colleagues to get their input on the proposal. Collate all the information together and ask them to continue to update you directly if they have anything new to add in future, and to get it to you before the deadline. 

Read the application requirements and form several times. Break down each question into its various parts, and make sure you answer every aspect of the question. Be as specific as possible. Add examples in a concise, succinct manner. Keep language simple and avoid ambiguous or general, generic statements. 

Fresh Outlook

Assume your funder isn’t familiar with your organization or the issues you address. Look at your application as if through their eyes. Avoid jargon that only people in your organization or your field are familiar with. When appropriate, use the same language they use in their guidelines. 

Make sure you address the key questions:

  • What is the issue?
  • Why is it a problem and what evidence do you have for this need?
  • How will you address it – what activities and outcomes?
  • What will you not be able to do (scope)?
  • Why should they choose you versus another organization to address this? What’s your track record?
  • What difference will their funding make? How will you meet their objectives?
  • How will you measure success (monitoring and evaluation)?

Funders will lose interest if your application is too difficult to understand or takes too much of their time to figure out what you’re trying to say – or what you’re asking for the money for. Be clear and straightforward in your request.

Getting and Staying Organized

  • Make a Checklist. 
  • Choose a title for your project that’s clear and self-explanatory
  • If you’re responding to a problem, outline why it needs to be solved.
  • Allocate time for research. Gather facts, statistics and quotations to prove the importance of your proposal and why they should choose to fund you.
  • List how you will go about achieving your short, medium, and long-term goals with the funding you’re requesting.
  • Make it clear to those who will be reading the proposal what you will be creating or providing with the money received, and how you plan to be able to continue to operate once the funding period is over.
  • Decide who you will be working with to implement the plans and why.
  • Outline your progress to date.
  • Build a timeline detailing all that’s required to take your project further: any positions that will be needed, or number of hours per week it will take you or other employees already working with you, the next steps you want to take and the time this will take you.
  • Use assertive language. Choose confident words and keep the funders objective in mind at every stage. Does your proposal fit with their mission?

Create a Budget

Create clear breakdown of costs, outline the costs for pilots, development phase or an investment-ready proposal. Be realistic when breaking down costs: budgets should accurately reflect the planning, research, project delivery and evaluation. Grant and funding assessors will always look out for over and under-estimated costs. If you don’t have a financial officer in your organization to help you with this, it is worth seeking advice from an external financial expert so that your budget will be as precise and realistic as possible for the achievement of your goals and objectives.

List any other funders you’ve received funding from, and the terms you have with them. Give details about the other investors and in what capacity you’re working with them. Some funders will only take on projects where they’re the sole granter, so be sure before you apply that you’ll be eligible.

Reporting Results

Make sure you have a clear way of identifying your impact and prove your organization has the capacity to manage, deliver and evaluate your proposed activity.

Show how you will be able to continue the project once the funding period is over. Let the funders see what their money has accomplished and how the good you plan to do with their money will continue after the grant funding ends.

Before Submitting Your Proposal

Review your final draft and proofread it. Make sure you haven’t skipped any sections and that you’re submitting all documentation requested. Get someone impartial to proof your final draft as well. Ask for the opinion of someone your trust and be open to any constructive criticism and feedback they provide. Use it to refine your answers and project plans.

Even if you’re not required to detail your timeline, building one for the rest of your project will give you clearer vision of the whole. By fully understanding your proposal, you’ll be able to break down, outline and respond to each part of the process or delivery.

Are your vision and objectives achievable? Can you see any areas in which you’ll need assistance to bring it to fruition? Identify where you’ll need assistance, whether that’s from legal advice, marketing, accounting, administrative or professional support outside of what your organization currently has.

Be ready to supply key information about your organization that will be requested if your application succeeds. Make sure you have these ready to present prior to any consultation meeting dates set with funders.

To be effective grant writers need to know how to communicate and convey a message to different audiences; research funding opportunities; and build and maintain relationships with funding sources.

Grant writing is a skilled craft that involves time. It’s important to develop accurate management plans and have accurate reporting mechanisms.

GrantWriterTeam.com receives a high number of requests from organizations that seek qualified grant writers. Nonprofits, without the funds to hire a full-time in-house grant writer often turn to GrantWriterTeam.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal should sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWriterTeam.com.

Architect or a Gardener? What’s Your Writing Style?

Game of Thrones creator, George R. R. Martin shared this analogy in an interview. He’s quoted as saying:

“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they're going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there's going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don't know how many branches it's going to have, they find out as it grows. And I'm much more a gardener than an architect.”  

Writers in chat rooms, on LinkedIn and Facebook groups began to share their thoughts and weigh in on the topic. But is it either or, or is there a spectrum?

The analogy has spread to other fields where people are asking this question as well. In business, innovation, design, technology, teaching … How do you operate? What kind of creative are you?

When you start a new project, do you plan it out in advance, or jump right in and start, then see what emerges? Are you a planner or a planter? A plotter or discoverer?

Libby Hikind, CEO and founder of GrantWriterTeam.com, and retired grant writer says that the budget is to the grant, as blueprints are to a building. Libby's way of starting a grant was a clear read and highlight of the application identifying all budgetary directions and merging it with the needs of the applicant.  The budget was her blueprint. After that she would plant seeds programmatically.

Libby invites all grant writers to join the GrantWriterTeam.

 

Architects

Grant writing architects can't even think about starting to write unless they have the whole project planned out. They’re actually at an advantage. Grants are generally laid out with steps to follow. The architect grant writer will find it easy to work from a detailed outline, or based on the answers to the questions asked that need to be enumerated. Architects often devise timelines.

If you’ve ever covered your wall in sticky notes, you’re probably an architect (or maybe a detective?). Some will literally map everything out.

When in school, we’re often taught and obligated to follow this style. We’re told to make an outline first and to follow prescribed steps. We’re often even graded on said outline. And then we write – opening paragraph (thesis or hypothesis), body, conclusion.

hall architectureAdvantages of Being an Architect

  • Prevents or diminishes the frequency and severity of writer's block (you’ve already worked everything out, so you know the next step).
  • Tends to feel more focused, especially on first drafts.
  • More efficient. You’ve got the plan, all that’s left is to flesh it out.
  • Minimal structural editing
  • Higher level of productivity and faster word count rate
  • Minimizes anxiety.

Disadvantages:

  • Can be creatively boring or less exciting, at the very least
  • Writing may feel lifeless or stale
  • You may dump the whole project because you don’t think you can succeed in getting the grant.
  • Outlining becomes a new form of procrastination—you spend weeks or months on researching, feel like you’re not done yet, so you keep outlining and then have no time to do the actually writing, or have to rush to get the grant written and meet your deadline in the end.
  • Writing can feel stiff when making decisions for the sake of an outline.

Gardeners

Gardeners plant the seed of an idea and watch it blossom. They often begin with a particular thought or topic, then work from there. Where it goes is anyone’s guess. While being a gardener is liberating, it also requires a lot of trial and error. Gardeners might start on a promising idea and spend weeks nurturing it. But what if it doesn’t grow? It’s discouraging to spend time on a particular piece or project only to realize you have no idea how it should develop.

Grant writing can be difficult for gardener-types unless they use the structure inherent in the genre to assist them in being organized and detailed. The guidelines can help them stay focused and on task.

Gardeners tend to write by the seat of their pants, like, “Late night drivers who can only see as far down the road as their headlights will allow, trusting that they will arrive at their destination,” writes Tara East in a blog on the topic. But grant writing gardeners at least know their destination.  They can use the guidelines to form a general plan if not a step-by-step outline to follow. 

Garden, which way to go?Advantages of Being a Gardener

  • The writing is exciting and full of surprises.
  • It feels more spontaneous and natural.
  • Less rigid
  • Feels more creative
  • More original and organic ideas are likely to occur.
  • Allows the writer flexibility in the story telling.
  • You can start writing right now.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased risk of writer’s block
  • Often lack focus or need to learn to stay focused and on task.
  • Potential to go off on a huge tangent that takes you in a completely different direction.
  • Additional time spent getting back on the right track
  • Difficulty reaching your destination or being sure when you’ve gotten there.
  • Massive rewriting and editing to fix the holes
  • Potential for a weak ending.

Can You Become a Master Gardener or Landscape Architect?

No one is completely one or the other. People tend to lean more to one side of the spectrum than the other. Most writers are hybrids, finding their own blend of these two styles. It’s important to find the blend that’s right for you, but how do you know if it’s working?

1. Take an honest look at yourself and your work.  
Know your basic style and what you need to work on. Have you met your writing goals for the day, week, month? If not, re-examine your approach. Yes, it might be tough for gardeners to even set those…

2. Avoid either or thinking.  It isn't a matter of one style being better, or right vs. wrong. Learn to be comfortable with both sides of a spectrum. Explore new ideas while at the same time taking advantage of your strengths. These require different skills, and it’s easiest in the short run to choose one or the other. But to succeed over the long run, we need to do both, shoot for “both-and” outcomes.

3. Both skills are needed. So, do what you can to figure out which approach you’re more comfortable with, and then develop a strategy for getting both skills into your process.

4. Collaborate to address your weaknesses. If you don’t have both skills yourself and don’t have the time to work on your weaknesses enough to find or write the grant – it might be best to find a partner, create or join a team. Remember, the key to success when collaborating is to have cognitive diversity. Work with someone who has the skills you lack and learn as much as you can from them. Model their style, or parts of it, to the extent that you can without losing the beautiful qualities you already posses.  

Find ways to use your strengths and strengthen your weak areas or find collaborators to help you complete your projects for the most success. Whichever you are, keep building and keep planting. Keep writing!

To find grant writing projects join GrantWriterTeam.com. 

About the Author: The author is a staff writer for Grant Writer Team.

Sources:

Build Lasting Relationships With Grantors and Funding Will Follow

When applying for a grant, seek out ways to build a relationship with the funding source.  Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, advises grant seekers and GrantWriterTeam grant writers to: "Do some research as to who the funding source has funded in the past, the amount of the awards and the types of program." When dealing with a foundation or corporate funding source, you should be able to find information on the experience, education and existing nonprofit relationships of the administrative staff (other boards they serve on…). When you make that initial phone call or email you should be prepared with some common ground and know how to approach the foundation staff member you want to connect with.

Getting a grant award involves competing for money from a variety of funding sources.  The better acquainted you are with the funding source, the easier it can be to get the funds you're seeking for your nonprofit organization, your community group or yourself. Building a relationship with people at the foundation or organization that you are seeking funding from, can greatly ease and aide the process.

Theresa Lu, Ph.D., founder and CEO of MissionQuest, Inc. is involved in every aspect of the grantsmanship process with her primary roles including strategic planning, marketing, talent development, and fiscal management. Dr. Lu is a highly regarded consultant and educator, with 25 years of experience in the fields of organizational development and management. Dr. Lu is also an associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and an adjunct professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is the author of Total Domination: Millions from Grants.

Since 2002, MissionQuest, Inc. has been offering transformative organizational development services including team building, leadership development, and strategic planning.

The first step in getting a grant, explains Lu, is to do a historical analysis. Lu and her team look at who has been funding the nonprofit for the past three years. They look at what grants they’ve gotten, what they’ve applied for that's been rejected, and any prior funders it makes sense to approach again. Only then do they look for new potential donors. 

"The next step is to look at how to sell to organizations. What is unique about the program? What are the greatest strengths? Is there a family aspect? A children's aftercare program? A health component? A senior assistance component?  We think about strategies up front, before we look for new funders."

Next, they do a thorough analysis of the organization, their budgets, their funding, and their programming.

They subscribe to different websites such as GrantWatch.com and do searches based on the different segments and present the results to their clients and work with them to decide which to apply for.

Lu and others at MissionQuest talk about "Old friends" and "Newer friends." Saying, it's all about relationship building. "We ask our clients, 'What are the opportunities in your organization to meet potential sponsors to brand your organization? We recommend that they get out and meet people. Are they a member of the Chamber or Rotary, for example, in their area?”

"We ask them if there’s anything happening at their organization that would provide an opportunity for their regular funders to see how their contributions are making a difference. We recommend that they invite them to a graduation ceremony, for instance, if it's a school, or comp them with tickets for their fundraising events."

Lu and her team do all they can to find the names of the key individual(s) to contact within an agency or foundation and their phone numbers to call and email them. They strategize with clients, coaching them on what to say on phone calls and  working with them on how to pitch to each program, highlighting the importance of an “elevator speech’.

Some tips for what to say when calling funders

Practice your elevator speech. Write it down and practice. Tell them your name, the name of your organization and two to three sentences about your organization and what you do.

Do your research 

Know everything you can about the funders. “Don't ask them anything you could find out on their website or in an online search.  Ask specific questions like: ‘We notice that you fund Florida, do you fund Gainesville? How many grants did you give to programs in Gainesville in the past year?' Have three to five questions to ask, be specific. Don't waste their time.”

"You want to put forth a proposal that really speaks to the funding officer and board of directors.  You want the funding officer to be able to advocate for your organization.  Ideally you want a partnership. Make sure your proposal relates to what they're interested in funding.”

Collect information about the funders and their interests both professionally and personally. Get to know the program officer as well as possible. "Consider it like making a friend. Also, they want to get to know you. They want to know who you are and what your organization does. They want to believe in you and know you'll spend their dollars well. That's how you build long term sustainable relationships," according to Lu.

Become an Expert

Dr. Lu asks that you, "Consider buying our book." Total Domination: Millions from Grants on Kindle takes readers through the world of grantsmanship in a thorough, informative, engaging way, from finding valuable grant opportunities to producing a top-notch proposal. This step-by-step guide will walk you through all the elements of a proposal, plus budgeting, program evaluation, funder research and more. Total Domination

"We published it not to make money, but because we wanted to make this information accessible to as many people as possible. We teach between 200 to 300 people a year, so we know how to train people in grantsmanship." Four of their staff members have PhDs and provide program evaluation, organizational development and executive coaching as well. 

"We feel blessed that we get to work with people who are so passionate and focused on making the world a better place. I tell people: 'I want you to be the most popular person in the room because what you do is so important and relationship building is a major way that we own our power.' "

It's important to remember that relationships count more than filling out papers. Grantors are often wanting to continue to give to organizations that they previously funded rather than start from scratch with a new company that's an unknown entity. Lu recommends working on those relationships before sending in the paperwork. This includes finding out who is in charge of reading the grant proposal, and what they're looking for. This could include simple phone calls or email connection if that's the best way to get their attention. If you know someone at the agency or foundation that you are seeking funding from, contact them and see if you can get them on board with your request. If they are not the right person to contact, they might put you in touch with the right person for the grant you seek.

Foster Lasting Relationships

Once you get a grant it's important to stay in contact with the funder to make sure that you are in compliance, especially if you hope to get more funding in the future. Touch base with them to find out if they have other grants that your agency or nonprofit would benefit from and stay on their radar for continued funding when the time comes. Maintaining strong relationships and applying to the same granting foundation or government agency is often easier and more effective than finding new funders and starting from scratch.

Request a Grant Writer

If you need a grantwiter, you can find one through Grant Writing Team.

For more information call: 561-249-4129 or email: support@grantwriterteam.com.

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Staff writer for the Grant Writing Institute.

On Johns Island, Grant Writers Could Help Rural Mission Keep Doors Open

From an increasingly valuable 5-acre waterfront lot, Linda Gadson can look past the poverty around her on Johns Island to see how the affluent homeowners on Wadmalaw Island live. As large, city-approved development projects begin to integrate the haves with the have nots on Johns Island, the executive director of Rural Mission wonders how she will keep the nonprofit’s doors open.

For a half-century, the faith-based charity organization has assisted migrant farmers and rehabilitated homes for low-come residents on the barrier island near Charleston. But, a reduction in funding has drained the mission’s bank account, forcing Gadson to cut staff, services, and programs. Meanwhile, more families seek assistance as Rural Mission struggles to help itself.

With a permanent staff of five, Gadson is juggling both fundraising and grant writing. She needs bodies, even on a part-time basis, to chip in and handle the roles.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said many nonprofits in the same predicament will turn to GrantWriterTeam.com, to identify grant writers who can secure funds for projects from public and private foundations, government sources and corporations, and crate a YouHelp.com free fundraising page. GrantWriterTeam gives nonprofits a head-start in fundraising by matching them with a grant writer who already possess skills in writing, research and communicating and is persistent, personable, organized and creative enough to handle diverse assignments.

Skilled grant writers are always in high demand. Hikind said more than 1.5 million nonprofits and hundreds more organizations rely on their unique qualities and skills. Communications professionals who have a background in journalism, public relations, marketing or English or a liberal arts degree, three successful grant proposals, as well as a desire to serve as a voice for nonprofit programs and services are encouraged to join GrantWriterTeam.

Without a grant writer, nonprofits like Rural Mission will continue to struggle to obtain funding. Most funding sources award grants to only those charity organizations that are sustainable. Rural Mission is now somewhat behind the eight ball.

Gadson said a new board of directors charged with developing a needs assessment is a step toward reversing its misfortunes. A needs assessment will help a grant writer present a clear and concise rational for funds along with the urgency.

In the case of Rural Mission, the needs assessment will describe how a cut in federal funds has put a dent in the nonprofit’s budget and ability to pay basic bills and operational costs. Right now, Rural Mission needs about $12,000 to stay afloat.

Because in addition to renovating homes and working with migrant farm laborers, Rural Mission the mission also buses worshipers to non-denominational services held in a chapel on the property. And when funds are available, provisions for medicine, transportation, food and cash to pay utilities in crisis situations.

For Linete Nesbit, that emergency played out last year when her home was flooded during Tropical Storm Irma. She is one of 200 residents awaiting help. We do not know today how many more people have been flooded from Michael.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch

Expanding Internet Access To Rural Areas Means Local Governments Connecting To Grant Writers

Improving internet access to rural residents could cost Skagit County as much as $1 billion, but government officials aren’t quite sure where or how they will find the funds for expanding broadband coverage.

Some county commissioners believe a grant writer may be the answer.

Although the position is not in the budget plans, Bobby Jackson, a commissioner for the county that occupies the northwestern corner of the State of Washington, thinks a grant writer can pay for itself.

But first, Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com and GrantWriterTeam, said grant writers must be skilled at navigating through the often-complex eligibility requirements to identify and secure new funding.

Skagit County hopes to apply directly to the federal government or to programs within the State of Washington that take advantage of dark fiber networks, an information infrastructure currently in place, but not in use to extend internet service to outlying areas. Hikind said a grant writer with some background and understanding of the subject matter of a grant is helpful, but not always necessary.  A good grant writer becomes the expert on any topic through good old fashioned research and conferences with the client and asking experts in the field right-on target questions.

Once hired, the commissioners believe a grant writer might broaden the county’s fundraising scope and bring in enough money to offset a full-time salary and, perhaps, begin to balance Skagit’s budget.

Hikind says she built GrantWriterTeam in response to the need for skilled grant writers when local government agencies and nonprofits could not afford to hire a full-time grant writer.

Those agencies without the budget to invest in hiring or training a grant writer will turn to GrantWriterTeam.com. Proposal writers at GrantWriterTeam.com translate ideas into compelling grant proposals. 

Grant writing is a skilled craft that involves the ability to research and sell a program's needs, objectives and activities in narrative form. The process and the ability to communicate a vision based on best practices and a cost effective programmatic budget with evaluation mechanisms should not be underestimated.

Writers at GrantWriterTeam.com will collect all background data, articulate concepts and ensure that arguments are well-documented. Grant writing can be extremely puzzling and require multiple applications before achieving success. For those agencies that do not have the time and energy to commit to writing a grant proposal, GrantWriterTeam.com will help find a qualified writer who does.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling grant proposal are encouraged to sign-up at GrantWriterTeam.com, powered by GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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For Grant Writers At Municipalities, Identifying Foundation Funds Can Help Close Budget Gaps

New Philadelphia leaders didn’t need to search far and wide for a grant. The funding source lives and works in town.

A local connection helped the city’s fire department secure a $9,000 grant from the Westfield Insurance Foundation, which will be applied toward the purchase of new thermal imaging cameras. Joel B. Day, the mayor of New Philadelphia, learned about the grant through a relationship the city has with Bill Weisgarber, owner of Tuscarawas Insurance Agency, a local small business.

As a member of the New Philadelphia community, Weisgarber said his small business has a civic responsibility to support local services, especially projects that will help save lives. Due to budget restrictions, Mayor Day said singling out grants that can be used toward the purchase of new equipment is an important assignment for any municipal government. And that role involves research.

GrantWatch.com is a valuable resource for local nonprofit and government agencies to identify funding opportunities from foundations and the full details a grant writer will need to construct a compelling proposal. In some circumstances, grant writing requires assistance. GrantWriterTeam, a service of GrantWatch, matches grant seekers with grant writers for submitting winning proposals.

Foundations are nongovernmental trusts or corporations. As nonprofit charities, foundations are established for the prime purpose of making donations. Hundreds of billions of dollars are available from thousands of foundations each year. Most foundations grants, like the one from Westfield Insurance, are designated to improve the standard of living within a community. Grants are typically targeted to a specific subject.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch, said the odds of winning a grant from a foundation are very good. For one, they are generally not publicized and do not receive as many applicants as other governmental funding sources. And, in good times or bad, foundations are required to offer at least 5 percent of their assets, averaged over five years, in charitable grants.

Although foundation grants may help establish a new program or strengthen an existing one, state and federal grants are the lifeblood of local municipalities. Foundation grants are usually not large enough to sustain an organization or department over a long stretch of time.

In addition to the grant money, New Philadelphia also had to use $3,000 from the fire’ department’s new equipment fund to supplement the purchase of the cameras, which cost $6,000 each. Fire Chief Jim Parrish said the new units are smaller, easier to carry and represent a technological advance over the four 12-year-old cameras in the department’s inventory.

The Westfield Foundation has awarded nearly $1.8 million in grant money in the past four years. Tuscarawas, which has been affiliated with the Westfield Foundation for the past 75 years, was one of 88 insurance agencies in 17 states this year to distribute grants to 95 nonprofits totaling more than $500,000 in the Westfield Legacy of Caring grant program.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

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Grant Writer Thankful for Career Opportunity to Put in Good Word for Animal Shelter

While she enjoyed making jewelry, Signe Ross-Villemaire knew early in childhood she had a heart of gold for animals that bled for their welfare. But, the former goldsmith could not find an answer to satisfy both her passion and career ambitions until she began working as a grant writer for the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

From dogs and cats to rabbits and roosters, Ross-Villemaire writes descriptive content that will hopefully soften an adopter and find these pets a new home. She is instrumental in the shelter’s communications that includes a quarterly magazine and newsletter, social media messaging and writing grant proposals to bring much-needed funds to the California nonprofit.

Ross-Villemaire credits classes in grant writing and nonprofit management for easing her through the career transition. Her acquired skills have helped secure more than $300,000 in grants for the Humane Society.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of Grantwatch.com, said animal welfare is a priority of charitable organizations including foundations and nonprofits, and some corporations. Animal shelters rely on these funds; however, as nonprofits, most are not fortunate to have a grant writer at their disposal.

GrantWriterTeam.com matches requests from animal shelters, animal welfare organizations and other nonprofits, as well as small business, and entrepreneurs with a qualified grant writer, who can provide proposal assistance.

A good grant writer is viewed as the key person in what can be a challenging and time-intensive process to obtain funds for animal and pet adoption, animal shelters, facility improvement, and animal education. Beyond strong punctuation and grammar skills, an effective grant writer will know how to communicate and tailor a proposal to different philanthropic audiences; research funding opportunities on GrantWatch.com; and build and maintain relationships with potential donors.

Up until her job interview at the Humane Society of Sonoma County, Ross-Villemaire had never stepped foot in an animal shelter. She wanted no part of witnessing the abandonment, neglect and suffering firsthand. But, that was five years ago. Her part-time job has since evolved into a full-time position along with an uptick in the number of animals the shelter houses.

As a result, Ross-Villemaire figures she has written about 700 pet adoption descriptions and, much to her predilection, she has learned that the Humane Society is as a kind, caring place where people like her are committed to helping pets find safety and love.

Grant writers from all backgrounds who have the talent to craft a compelling proposal for funds are encouraged to sign-up on GrantWriterTeam.com, a service of GrantWatch.com. Joining GrantWriterTeam is easy. Create a profile, fill out the application and begin to bid on grant writing jobs.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch.com

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If I Only Had The Time, I Could Write The Grant Myself

When you receive the grants newsletter from GrantWatch, do you find yourself saying,"If only I had the time!"?

Your job as an executive director is to grow your nonprofit in order to serve more and more of your constituency.  So how do you do that on a shoestring budget?

First off, you cannot be penny wise and pound foolish, thinking "with grants there are no guarantees." Yes, you are correct. Grant writing has its risks. You could pay a grant writer and have a beautifully written grant that can score a 95, but there may be five others that score a 96 and above, and they got funded and you did not.

But here is the caveat: you have a beautifully written on-target proposal. With some tweaking and matching of another funder's requirements, you can reuse that grant application, and apply it to one or more funding sources.

How do you pay for a grant writer if you are short on funds? Local community people really respect an organization looking for funds for capacity building. When you ask for a donation that will pay for a grant writer to complete a few proposals, you will get that donation. You wouldn't be asking for an annual salary — just enough for the grant writer consultant. And if you were to open a YouHelp campaign, you could raise the money from more than one funder; so, smaller contributions that total your immediate needs.

Where will you find that grant writer that matches your organization's needs? GrantWriterTeam has a service to match you with grant writers. Once you put up a request for a grant writer and pay the $50 administrative fee, you receive bids from skilled professional grant writers. You can review their one-page writing samples from three different grants and see if you like their writing style. In their bids, they will list grants they have won and their experience and expertise. You can see if they have the background that matches the mission and vision of your organization.

What will it cost you to hire a grant writer? Or what will it cost you if you do not hire a grant writer? Just look at the GrantWatch newsletter to see all your the missed opportunities.

There are two ways of working with a grant writer. You can locate the grant yourself and the grant writer will give you a flat fee from start to finish (you will list the URL of the grant in your grant writer request), or you will request that the grant writer do the research and locate a certain number of grants for you to choose from (allot a certain number of hours for research). And then when a grant is chosen, you will negotiate the flat rate for the proposal. 

Do you really have the time or do you have someone on your staff who is capable of and has the time to locate federal, state and local grants; and find foundation and corporate grants? Do you have the time to write proposal narratives; developing budgets; research the needs of your target population; complete the needs assessment; and research literature for best practices

Grant writers on GrantWriterTeam have the time and the skills for all of these tasks and they work with a system of deliverables in which the project is broken into smaller parts (with the exception of the small retainer to start the work). You pay only when a deliverable is completed and then you receive the work within the hour of payment.

Writers at GrantWriterTeam.com will collect your background data, articulate your concepts and ensure that your passion jumps off the page. If you don’t have the time and energy to commit to finding or writing a grant proposal, GreatWriterTeam.com will help you find a qualified writer who does. Request a grant writer here or call 561-249-4129.

About the Author: Libby Hikind lives and breathes grants and funding for nonprofits and small businesses A retired NYC Public School Teacher and Grant Writer, she established GrantWatch to serve the nonprofit community. Libby is the Founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, GrantWriterTeam.com, YouHelp.com, GrantNews.com, MWBEzone.com and GWI.education.