A grant writing workshop, led by Nancy Daniels, Community Vitality Specialist for K-State Extension, identified aspects of grant writing.
The money is out there and its available but it takes someone who isn't afraid of making the effort to write a grant to get at the available funds.
Nancy Daniels, Community Vitality Specialist for K-State Extension, presented a path to successful grant writing to a dozen area residents representing a variety of entities that can use grant money for their organizations.
Daniels had every one at the workshop share their grant writing experience, if any, what success they had and what they would use grant money to accomplish. Among the various projects were funding a dog park, art exhibition to make arts unavoidable, helping fight substance abuse, help students in Head Start, support Circles of Hope, FFA projects, Celebrate Recovery and others.
Organizations need to have a diversified revenue plan and grants are an important part of that plan.
When applying for a grant, there are some misperceptions and assumptions that have to be over come. First, there is enough grant money out there. Understanding that is an important step to success. When applying for a grant, never assume that the grantor will see how much the organization needs this money.
When applying, don't be afraid of failure but keep trying. Also look for partnership and work together for the grant.
To get the grantor's attention, take the approach that the grantor has a mission and that's the reason they are funding projects. Let the grantor know that by helping the potential recipient, it will help the grantor reach their mission.
"Look at their mission and show why what you are doing is exactly what they want," Daniels said.
Daniels said working together to get a grant is important. The main thing is to get people connected to the resources.
Areas of focus at the event were sources of data for community needs, elements of great grant proposal, practicing the grant elements and where to find grants.
Getting a grant requires a person to do the hardest part of grant writing and that is coming up with a plan. Several areas have to be identified to make a successful plan, Daniels said.
First, the person or organization has to determine the problem that the group or person is trying to solve. The more this is clarified, the more the grant can focus on the need.
Daniels had the group divide into smaller groups to work on defining they problem they want to solve.
Some questions she had the groups ask are who or what is affected, how are they affected and what this the magnitude of the problem.
Then they had to determine why this problem and why now plus what are the causes. Its important to document the situation. Don't make assumptions. If documentation is not available, investigate and use national and local data for documentation.
Also, take a practical look at what change is possible. It's always better to know what goal is reachable.
Figuring out how an organization or collaboration will produce the desired change gives them a goal to shoot for.
Finally, once the group has figured out the goal, they need to determine what the finished product looks like so they will know if they succeeded.
There is more to grant writing but just knowing that money is out there and going after it are the first steps to success.
The event was held Feb. 22 at the Pratt County Fairgrounds and the Pratt County Extension Office supported the event.