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Grant Tactics for Fire Departments

by eCivis on October 25, 2012
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Firefighter grants for departments other than AFG and SAFERTwo weeks ago, I wrote about grants that fire departments could pursue that were not the usual big FEMA funding opportunitiesnamely, AFG and SAFER (“Fire Department Grants: Don’t Just Look to FEMA”). Given that October is Fire Prevention Month, I think it's appropriate that the eCivis blog continue its focus on fire departments—in this post, on the tactics that fire departments can employ to increase their chances of winning grants.

eCivis is particularly proud of the work we’ve done for clients on AFG and SAFER applications for fire departments. Earlier this year, for instance, we helped pre-peer review two grant applications by the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority in Colorado, which won both grants totaling more than $1 million. (Read the full case study.)

I asked eCivis’ Vice President of Grants Professional Services, Dr. Bev Browning, about some tactics that fire departments can employ to procure money for their firefighting fleets:

You said in your November article for KnowledgeBase that “it is important to remember that your fire department must look for complementary private-sector funding (foundations and corporations) in the event that your FEMA AFG grant application is not recommended for funding,” to always have a back-up plan. What initial steps would you suggest for this plan?

Research your local and regional foundation and corporate grantmakers.  Use search terms such as: public safety, fire services, civic improvement, and disaster prevention. Once you have a list of 3-5 potential funding sources, make the first contact by telephone or in a face-to-face meeting. Be ready for this meeting! Have a folder with your list of needs, recent financials, and any other agency/organizational information to tell potential funders the history of your organization and the specific need(s), and, of course, the total cost for whatever you are seeking.

How can departments develop multi-pronged tactics to acquire much-needed funding for their fire and rescue teams?

I strongly suggest that if your fire department is 100% volunteer or a combination career/volunteer unit that you consider starting an equipment fund as well as an endowment. My next KnowledgeBase article (December) will discuss the benefits of separate municipal funds for equipment and community foundation-managed endowments.  

2017 Update

The best case scenario is to win both federal and foundation grants. For those that will be applying for the 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grant, here are some specific tips from Washington's The Ferguson Group to put your best application forward: https://blog.ecivis.com/afg-2017-tips-for-success

About eCivis

eCivis is the nation's leading grants management software solution and the ideal platform for improving grants performance for local governments and community-based organizations. For more information about eCivis, visit www.ecivis.com. For our free article on the "Top 10 Reasons to Have a Grants Management System," click the button below:


Topics: Grant Articles & News