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What is public funding?

You know that public funding is:

___Funding from the public treasury, i.e. taxes and other government revenues.

___Federal funding

___State funding

___Local funding

Why should your organization apply - or not apply - for public funding?

You know that among the advantages of public funding are:

___Public funding often represents the largest amount of money available to fund organizations and initiatives.

___Public funding is often more reliable and more long-term than private funding.

___Public funding is often appropriated specifically for what your organization does.

___Public funding gives your organization more credibility in the community.

___Public funding may make it easier for your organization to gain funding from other sources.

___Public funding is subject to advocacy, and therefore you may have some influence on how much of it is available.

You know that among the disadvantages of public funding are:

___Public funding proposals may be extremely time-consuming and difficult to write.

___Public funding may come with lots of conditions attached.

___Public funding requires strict accounting and audit procedures.

___Public funding, because of its restrictions, may not allow you to do what you want to do, or may conflict with your mission and philosophy.

___Public funding may be administered by a bureaucracy that is unresponsive, ignorant of the important issues for your organization, rule-bound, and/or difficult to deal with.

___Public funding payments may be slow in coming, either because funding agencies are inefficient or unresponsive, or because the government isn't getting money to them.

___Public funding can get cut or run out if the economy is bad, or if fashions in funding change.

How do you find out about the availability of public funding?

You know that:

___Federal, state, and local agencies usually send notices of funding possibilities to everyone on their mailing lists.

___The Federal Register, a weekly publication, publishes all federal grant notices , with appropriate information and deadlines.

___Check federal, state, and local government websites.

___The newsletters and journals (print and electronic) of professional associations , community coalitions, and other groups often publish funding information.

___Establishing and maintaining contact with individuals at potential funding agencies and town and county offices will ensure that you get information.

___Becoming part of a larger network of community-based, non-profit, and other organizations and agencies will gain you funding information.

How do you position your organization to acquire public funding?

___You know how to become eligible:

  • 501(c)(3) tax status
  • Appropriate administrative and organizational structure
  • Staff with appropriate credentials and training
  • Proper financial management, bookkeeping/accounting, and audit procedures
  • Compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations
  • A good track record

___You understand the need to establish relationships

  • Establish relationships with federal and state legislators and/or their aides, and local officials
  • Establish relationships with individuals at agencies that might fund you
  • Attend meetings, conferences, etc. where you'll meet others doing the same work you do
  • Join coalitions and collaborate whenever you can
  • Volunteer for committees and task forces you're interested in, and take (and carry out) responsibility.

How do you apply for public funding?

___You pay attention to the information in the Request for Proposals (RFP).

  • Services or programs desired
  • The amount of money available
  • Who is eligible to apply
  • What the deadlines are
  • What information the applicant needs to submit
  • What the proposal should look like

___You conceptualize the proposal

  • Study the RFP
  • Get creative with what you propose
  • Be true to your mission and philosophy
  • Assemble a reasonable budget for what you're proposing

___You write the proposal

  • Find a good proposal writer
  • Respond to the RFP precisely as it asks you to
  • Answer questions as directly and clearly as possible
  • Follow format rules
  • Be as brief as you can and still get your message across accurately
  • Be explicit about what you want to do and how you'll use the money.
  • If possible, allow plenty of lead time to complete the proposal
  • Check any numbers several times for errors
  • If a checklist is provided, use it; if it's not, make your own

___You assemble the proposal

  • Start planning when you first read the RFP
  • Assign tasks as you conceptualize
  • Do everything you can beforehand
  • Make sure you have enough time, space, hands, and equipment to assemble and check the proposal, and deliver it on time

___You celebrate after the proposal has been delivered

If you're successful

___You understand the mechanics of the grant or contract, and be sure you can make it work financially

___You understand any legal agreement fully, and negotiate any questionable points before you sign it

___You make sure you understand and can live with the funder's required financial and reporting procedures

___You negotiate the scope of work if necessary, to be sure you can deliver what 's promised

___You diversify your funding