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  • AFG Grant help

    Hello,

    I am currently taking a grant writing class in my senior year of college and need to find something that I can use to write a grant for new technology for our strictly volunteer department. We have a very limited budget, and a board that would rather not spend anything on things we don't absolutely need. Currently all NFIRS reporting is done at one of our members homes on the weekend because the 10 year old computer that was donated 5 years ago can't load the pages and crashes frequently.

    Can I use the AFG grant for this? I read through the approved list and the only thing I could see that it wouldn't cover as far as Information Technology is cell phones and contracts.

    If I can apply for the AFG, is there anywhere I can get the requirements, such as the Request for Proposals and page limits. I need to be able to start this on Tuesday, and am struggling to find a tech grant for our department.

    Thanks for any help, and sorry for the long story

    Ian

  • #2
    Sounds like you need to write a grant for a/v equipment for training. You can use the laptop for double duty to do your reporting. Go to the AFG web site and see if you can pull down last years guidance. That will help you get it started for your class and it will be ready when the grant period.

    Comment


    • #3
      The AFG is done entirely online so there isn't a printable copy of anything other than a previously submitted application to show what they're looking for. Other than the statistics, this is the guidance for the narrative section:

      Please provide your narrative statement in the space provided below. Include in your narrative, details regarding (1) your project’s description and budget, (2) your organization’s financial need, (3) the benefit to be derived from the cost of your project, and (4) how the activities requested in your application will help your organization’s daily operations and how this grant will protect life and property.

      The limit is 20,000 characters on the narrative. And yes you can write for a new computer but normally we recommend writing for operations equipment (PPE, SCBA, hose, truck, etc) and then leaving some fudge factor for price increases. If it isn't needed then use the Excess Funds rule to purchase the computers and other things that are normally a low priority and would not score well.

      If you need to also fill out statistics portions of the application shoot me an email, I have a PDF of the screen captures so you can see what's needed there. [email protected]

      - Brian
      Brian P. Vickers
      CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
      FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
      www.helpmewithgrants.com
      www.facebook.com/vcsinc

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by idonaldson View Post
        Hello,

        I am currently taking a grant writing class in my senior year of college and need to find something that I can use to write a grant for new technology for our strictly volunteer department. We have a very limited budget, and a board that would rather not spend anything on things we don't absolutely need. Currently all NFIRS reporting is done at one of our members homes on the weekend because the 10 year old computer that was donated 5 years ago can't load the pages and crashes frequently.

        Can I use the AFG grant for this? I read through the approved list and the only thing I could see that it wouldn't cover as far as Information Technology is cell phones and contracts.

        If I can apply for the AFG, is there anywhere I can get the requirements, such as the Request for Proposals and page limits. I need to be able to start this on Tuesday, and am struggling to find a tech grant for our department.

        Thanks for any help, and sorry for the long story

        Ian
        I can only assume you've looked at this site:

        http://www.firegrantsupport.com/cont...ogramDocs.aspx

        Lots of info here

        Comment


        • #5
          http://208.109.252.161/wp-content/up...teers-2011.pdf

          If you have access to the installation discs of an operating system this is an awesome opportunity. I loaded 2 laptops with windows xp from one of my former computers.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with Brian, figure out what other firefighting equipment that would score high on the application. Then request the maximum award amount for the items (can be found here), then follow guidelines after the award and use your excess funds for those computer needs. You should be able to get a stylin' PC and killer laptop. I am using one now.

            Comment


            • #7
              Since one of the conditions of award is that you report on NFIRS, he can request the computer simply for that reason alone.
              Kurt Bradley
              Fire/EMS/EMA Grant Consultant
              " Never Trade Skill for Luck"

              Comment


              • #8
                You may have a few options. As already mentioned, include the computer with an application for other needed equipment through AFG.

                We used our excess funds from a grant a couple of years ago to get a computer and "risk management software" to allow us to do both NFIRS reporting and statistical analysis. It also tracks our training, inspections, etc. We're paying the annual service/licensing fee, but the grant took care of the bulk of the cost. This was with the FP&S rules for excess funds over $5K, so I would think it'd be something a guy could use for an FP&S project.

                Wal-Mart and some other stores have opportunities for donations/grants that you could use for technology. One department near us recieved $10K from Wal-Mart's educational grant program to get items for training, including a computer and projector. They also used to have a program where they'd match contributions up to a certain amount if you had a fundraiser on their property.

                I can't remember the name, but there's an insurance company that was awarding grants for inspection, pre-planning, and investigation equipment. I know several departments recieved computers and software through that one.

                You may even be able to hit up some local businesses to help out. Or maybe you have a business that swaps out systems on a regular basis that'd give you one.

                Get creative and think outside the box, don't just lock in on AFG as the only option.

                Comment


                • #9
                  FM Global is the one you're trying to think of Mike. Their main/only focus is FP efforts in arson prevention, investigation, and preplanning.

                  Also unless you're going ToughBook, playing videogames, or doing severe photo/movie editing there isn't much reason to spend more than $500 on a laptop. Best Buy, Sam's Club, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, and the others have in-store non-profit assistance in many cases, so it's not just Wal-Mart. Managers of those stores have a lot of latitude when dealing with stuff out of boxes, clearance, etc. RadioShack not so much at the store level truth be told. Computers aren't as hard to get your hands on if you need something basic to just function and don't have anything now. Try Craigslist too.

                  Don't get me wrong ToughBooks are nice and I'd take one if they were more like $1000but if the laptop you buy is probably going to be spending 99.9% of it's time in the laptop case or sitting on a desk it pretty much defeats the purpose of having a ToughBook. Can buy a portable hard drive and 10 basic laptops for the cost of one ToughBook. Most take a decent beating anyway.
                  Brian P. Vickers
                  CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                  FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
                  www.helpmewithgrants.com
                  www.facebook.com/vcsinc

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's the one, Brian. That also reminds me I have one of their applications saved on the other computer that's not finished.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Geez man, slacking away again. Everyone tells me you don't do anything but sit around and point for other people to do stuff up there, not like you have an excuse for not getting it done...
                      Brian P. Vickers
                      CEO - Vickers Consulting Services, Inc
                      FH.com/Firehouse Mag Contributor
                      www.helpmewithgrants.com
                      www.facebook.com/vcsinc

                      Comment

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