Mary Gute, Sr. Transportation Planner, WSB
You encounter many opportunities to pursue grants throughout the year. Grants can be a great way to fund community needs. However, preparing applications comes with expense – staff time and effort or consultant fees. Not to mention, there’s no guarantee you’ll be awarded anything. Is it worth the effort? Below are some things to consider when making a decision.
1. Know the program requirements
- Does your project or need fit the eligibility requirements? Try talking to the grant administrator to see how well your project fits within the program requirements.
- If a local funding match is required, make sure your community has the funds available.
- If the grant is for construction, does the project need to be let or constructed by a certain date? If so, be sure your community meet that requirement.
2. Know the real level of effort
- Calculate the cost: consider staff hours or consultant fees needed to prepare the application.
- Can your community meet all of the application requirements, including the due date?
3. Identify the grant team
- Assign a grant champion – the person who will see the application through from start to finish.
- Identify who will provide the technical portions of the application. For example: engineering layout; cost estimates; benefit/cost analysis; etc.
4. Obtain necessary approvals and endorsements
- Is your community leadership on-board with pursuing the grant?
- If the application will benefit from outside support from stakeholders or elected officials, be sure to request those items early.
5. Identify unstated factors that may influence success
- Has your community recently been awarded money from this funding source? Oftentimes, grant administrators award money based on historic awards in an effort to ensure everyone has an opportunity.
- Identify any outside factors that may influence selection.
Thinking about the items above will help you make an informed decision – balancing the level of effort required compared to the likelihood of success.
Need help deciding whether or not to go after a grant or wondering if any grants might fit a project? We can help.
Mary is a Sr. Transportation Planner at WSB with over 17 years of progressively complex transportation planning and project management experience, gained from working on a variety of transportation projects for modes including roads/bridge, transit, and trails.