If you’ve never applied for a grant before, the process can seem daunting. Where do you begin? Who do you contact? What do you need to say?
Vel Tye is a leading manufacturer of NIJ-certified protection gear. We’ve worked with police departments looking to apply their grant monies to the best tactical gear on the market. Here are a few things we’ve learned about how to handle the grant application process if you’re a beginner.
Step One: Define Your Need
Grants aren’t designed to just dole out money indiscriminately. Almost every grant requires applicants to prove their need and also to show how the grant monies will help fill that need. A good example of a grant-worthy need is a police department operating with outdated or expired protection vests. If new vests aren’t in the operational budget, the problem (officers outfitted in subpar protection equipment) could potentially be solved by a grant (used to buy new and improved tactical vests). This can also help you determine which grants to pursue.
Step Two: Identify Potential Grant Prospects
This step is always the hardest. Before you even think about applications, your team should develop a list of prospective grants to apply for. The list should contain a few tactical grant resources that are general in nature (i.e. the DOJ’s COPS grant program) as well as others more specific to your exact situation. There are hundreds of grants available to police officers and military members that utilize both private and public funding.
Step Three: Do Your Homework
Almost every type of grant has an “opening” and “closing” schedule; some schedules run annually while others are one-off in nature. Once you’ve selected the grant(s) your department will apply for, spend some time reading every RFP to determine what you need to know. Note opening dates, the dates on which the grant application periods begin, and determine whether additional information should be acquired. You might need to spend some time in historical records, gathering statistics, or even surveying your own team in person. When you prepare the materials you need ahead of time, the actual grant writing process is less overwhelming.
Step Four: Submit, Wait, and Allocate
The award notice schedule for tactical grants is varied. In some cases it may take months to find out if your application has been approved. Eventually, you’ll receive notice of whether or not your department has received a grant, and for how much. At this point you’ll work with your staff to manage the award which should be allocated based on your request. It’s a good idea to keep tabs on how your grant monies are actually making a difference throughout the year so you have concrete data to support any other grant applications you may write in the future.
Don’t let the complex grant application process keep you from submitting. Grants can change the way your department operates for the better at virtually no cost to you.
Looking to apply your recent grant award? Browse Vel Tye’s online catalog to find out what’s new in cutting-edge tactical vests, plate carriers, and more.