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Second Round of 1199s and 10?s

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  • Greenacres2
    replied
    Art versus Science

    I am relatively new to both the fire service and grant seeking but in the past few years i've developed a few theories on what it takes to be successful at the grants game. (warning:the following may be a cure for insomnia. Do not operate machinery while reading.)

    It strikes me that successful grant writing is an art. Trouble is---it is also a science. And...the problem with that is that scientists are very analytical and not very creative. And artists are very creative and not analytical at all. Even in history, there are very few examples--Pythagorus (i think--it's been a long time since i've seen "Donald Duck in MatheMagic Land") developed many of the mathematical theorems that create beautiful music and was able to put them into practice. DaVinci understood the math and anatomy that his creative juices turned into masterpieces of perspective. Composing great music is a fine balance between mathematical comprehension (music theory) and an ear for beautiful tone. Even in rock and roll.

    What does that have to do with fire grants?? It is rare for humans to be both analytical and creative at the same time--especially when we ask them to be able to read and comprehend something like a Program Guidance within which to work. I'm not saying that Kurt, Brian or Alana are the equivalent of Pythagorus or DaVinci (or John Lennon either!!), but each of them has a unique ability to be highly creative within a narrow set of analytical rules. What enables them to help the rest of us is that they also know the fire service and have developed good contacts in this field. They would likely all be successful in grant writing for any other business with a little study.

    That said, most of the rest of us have varying degrees of skill at each essential area, but we fall a little short somewhere. Often, it takes someone else's eye to point out where we missed. For those of us who miss mare than we hit--most likely we are making the mistake over and over. Maybe in different ways, but we just can't see it. Getting an education can make a world of difference. Our dept invested in sending me to Kurt's seminar back in January. So far, we have gained $212 for every $1 spent. Other departments have picked up $222 in funding for each $1 we spent. It wasn't cheap, but it was a great value. I'm sure that many of Brian's students could tell the same story, and Alana too.

    Bottom line--i spend a lot of time hanging around this forum making wise-crack comments--but at the same time i'm reading, digesting, learning and getting better at getting money. Multi-tasking is a good thing!!

    Told you that you'd fall asleep.

    earl (is "Donald Duck in MatheMagic Land" available on DVD??)

    Leave a comment:


  • ktb9780
    replied
    dellroy, no offense taken, that is what a forum is all about. When I say following the rules I guess I painted to tight a box for myself there. As Brian said, little things like lack of proper detail, broad statements without supportive documentation, answering the department charecteristics willy-nilly instead of knowing how much that one little question is worth to your score, those are things I include "in the rules". Not just what the PG says but, how you construct it, say it, interpret it etc. Knowing what is a good project and what is a bad project. How to conduct a proper needs assessment, how to do a risk assessment for FP&S; all those little things come into play in a successful grant application. The VAST majority of the departments that I work with have gone unfunded for a minimum of 2-3 at bats. In most cases some simple corrections or addition of details is all that it takes to make a loser into a winner. Understanding the whole picture is the key here.

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  • BC79er
    replied
    Not harsh at all, no one that handles more than a few applications will bat 1000. The more I write the more that will not be awarded, it's a fact of the situation.

    And some departments will never get an award. My department has finally seen the light and isn't applying (after much encouragement from me). Our budget is over $3 million as a combination/mainly volunteer), 3 station department with "only" about $1.3 milllion going to salaries & benefits. That leaves us $400k per station to operate, which is more than enough. There isn't a single project we can apply for that will cost enough money that anyone could argue we couldn't make the funding available locally. The computer scoring agrees.

    Now that doesn't mean that someone with no flexible spending will win, nor are they doing something improper. Many times it is the little things that get people. Some are missing budget accountability, some don't explain the problem properly, or why the solution fits the problem. That also doesn't mean that it's not awardable as is. Many departments that don't explain budget or problems like it "should" be done still get awarded. It is a competitive program, and only 1 out of 4 will be awarded. All we can do is throw our best dart and hope it hits the bullseye. And if it doesn't, then follow the proper assessment process and try again while stumping for more funding. The more money in the program, the more awards there will be each year, and the greater chance that everyone will get a piece of the pie.

    Leave a comment:


  • sgafirefighter
    replied
    Who makes the calls

    .In 03 I received an emial and a call from my grants specialist but no call for a politician. Are the political guys going to call everyone this year? If so who calls US senators or Reps or will it be State politicians. I want to look for releases.
    Good luck all. I know noone will sit up late tonight and surf the FEMA site.

    Leave a comment:


  • DellroyVFD08
    replied
    Originally posted by ktb9780
    I would have to concurr with Brian all the way on that, it si interpreting the priorities and sticking to them with adequete deatil for a reviewer to come to an infrmed concleusion and favorable decision in your favor. Guys if you are 0-4 on your AFG grants you are doing something very wrong. I would highly suggest that you get your education level on the grants game up to par. Those that play by the rules get funded and we prove it in here every year. There are a number of educational training seminars offered by all the grant gurus in here, get in one and learn how to win!!
    I certainly don't want to be arguementative, but I think that's a pretty harsh statement. Obviously, by statistics, there are A LOT of people each year that don't get funded. I'd agree that going to a seminar or having help writing the grant would help, but wouldn't go as far as saying someone is doing something "very wrong" if they're 0 - 4. It could be something simple or it could be that they just don't have the numbers for the program that they feel they need to approach. I'm sure there are a lot of people that "play by the rules" (in your words) that don't get funded. If that's the case, then EVERY grant that is written by a "professional" would be funded. I personally only know Brian and think he is incredibly skilled and plays by the rules, but know that he isn't batting 1.000.
    I hope that made sense without sounding harsh.

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  • ktb9780
    replied
    I would have to concurr with Brian all the way on that, it si interpreting the priorities and sticking to them with adequete deatil for a reviewer to come to an infrmed concleusion and favorable decision in your favor. Guys if you are 0-4 on your AFG grants you are doing something very wrong. I would highly suggest that you get your education level on the grants game up to par. Those that play by the rules get funded and we prove it in here every year. There are a number of educational training seminars offered by all the grant gurus in here, get in one and learn how to win!!

    Leave a comment:


  • BC79er
    replied
    Just so we're all on the same page, broke doesn't mean anything. Budget size isn't a metric for scoring, it's budget as related to fixed costs, related to the affordability of the project. I know departments that get $10K a year and are operating just fine while still putting $2K in the bank every year for capital outlays. I know others that have $2 million budgets and spend 96% of that on salaries & benefits. If you go after this thinking that you're broke and they owe you something (i.e. welfare program), it will show in your application and narrative. And if you're lucky enough to make it to Peer Review, it won't fare there well either. Thousands of FDs that fit the 'totally broke' mode have been funded over the years.

    This is an objective program, not subjective. The challenge is in ALL of the details, not just a select few.

    And so we're not jumping on me for thinking I'm defending the large budget departments, I've got over half of the awards pending going to departments with less than a $50K annual budget. 2 under $3K/annually, including a tanker to one of those.

    Leave a comment:


  • pmed19
    replied
    Originally posted by NewAtThisGame

    Sure would be nice for an all volunteer totally broke fire company to get awarded just ONCE through this afg grant.


    Our all volunteer, totally broke fire dept. is getting awarded this year. 0 for 2 till now. Good luck to everyone.

    Leave a comment:


  • chief19
    replied
    AVFD34 Don't give up, we were 0 fer 7 total before we got the Fireman's Fund grant. It now looks good for 06 AFG. Would be happy to help since were not that far apart.

    Evereman Volunteer Fire Dept.

    Leave a comment:


  • AVFD34
    replied
    Any rejection letters out yet?

    I am trying to remain optimistic about our AFG, but we still have not received any information regarding this year’s application. Our department is 0/5 in this game. I know no news is good news, but curious as to when rejection letters would go out.

    Leave a comment:


  • hdavid66
    replied
    Originally posted by NewAtThisGame
    Congrats, Dave! Now that THATS out of the way...

    Sure would be nice for an all volunteer totally broke fire company to get awarded just ONCE through this afg grant.
    Well if it is any consolation.... Besides being a memeber of the ambulance company that was successful; I also belong to an all volunteer totally broke fire company that covers the same response district as the volunteer ambulance listed above, and the fire company has been turned down every year too.

    Hoping this year will be different.

    Dave

    Leave a comment:


  • NewAtThisGame
    replied
    Not meant to be mean spirited....

    Originally posted by hdavid66
    We just got a 1199 update notice this morning. This would be our first successful grant. The grant application was for a vehicle exhaust system. The really intestesting part is this application is from an EMS only agency.

    From what I've heard, the EMS Agency money is harder to get simply because this is less of it to go around.

    So needless to say we are really happy.

    Dave
    Middlesex Ambulance
    Middlesex NY

    Congrats, Dave! Now that THATS out of the way...

    Sure would be nice for an all volunteer totally broke fire company to get awarded just ONCE through this afg grant.

    Leave a comment:


  • hdavid66
    replied
    Got a 1199 this AM.

    We just got a 1199 update notice this morning. This would be our first successful grant. The grant application was for a vehicle exhaust system. The really intestesting part is this application is from an EMS only agency.

    From what I've heard, the EMS Agency money is harder to get simply because this is less of it to go around.

    So needless to say we are really happy.

    Dave
    Middlesex Ambulance
    Middlesex NY

    Leave a comment:


  • jmkfire
    replied
    Check the 1199A link in your 2004 drop down menu.

    Leave a comment:


  • onebugle
    replied
    They will use the old one, as long as you do not have to make any changes to the info.

    Leave a comment:

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