Is your agency interested in adopting RQI Partners programs, but is concerned about cost barriers? For many 911 dispatch centers and fire/EMS departments, the thought of applying for grants can be intimidating.
In this blog series, Stacey McShane will share how your agency can prepare and apply for grant funding. While a variety of public and private funding sources exist, dedicating time for researching the most appropriate “match” between funder and recipient can help you find the best source for your agency.
Finding the “Right Match”
What is a good match for your agency?
Some funding sources, such as federal and state grants, are solely interested in data and demonstrated need. Others, such as private or corporate foundations, are more invested in community outcomes and knowing that their funds have benefited a large amount of people in the most impactful way.
How do you find the right funder?
Before searching for a funding source, you will first need to construct a realistic budget proposal for implementing the RQI program within your agency. This step is crucial as it enables you to clearly determine if the intended grant(s) would cover estimated costs.
You may need to cover gaps within internal budgets or locate “bridge funding” from another external source. In constructing your budget proposal, you will need both your official RQI contract quote and a plan for how staff time will be funded.
You should also consider:
- Will the time staff spend learning with RQI be absorbed in their everyday activities? Or will it be on overtime outside of normal work hours?
- Is any state sales tax or use tax calculated into the budget?
- Do you have the support of your command staff, executive board, or other important stakeholders?
- For how long will your agency require funding?
- Does your agency have a plan for self-funding the RQI program after the grant expires?
Usually, most grants fund a program for 1-2 years. Some funding sources may extend to 3 years if the funder believes the program is reaping benefits within the greater community. However, you should realistically plan for 1-2 years of external funding.
Stacey McShane, Grants Manager for RQI Partners, discusses the process for sourcing grants to fund RQI programs for organizations facing cost barriers.
Starting Your Search
Once you have your final budget set, it is time to start your search. The type of grants to look for will depend on your agency’s situation.
Federal grants can serve as sources of funding for a variety of programs and equipment, and typically provide larger sums of money. Often, these grants stipulate an “in-kind” requirement, requiring agencies to cover certain costs, a set percentage, or partial funding for the initiative.
Federal grants require you to plan ahead of time, as the federal fiscal year does not typically run during a municipal or county fiscal year. The federal fiscal year runs October 1st - September 30th. Typically, their grants open in the fall and close early in the calendar year, with awards announced in the spring and funded in October.
These grants usually require data to support your application for funding. Make sure you are prepared to provide high-level data for the application forms.
If your agency has not previously applied for federal grant funding in the recent past, you must register on the federal grants management page prior to submitting the funding request: visit Grants.gov
In addition, to conduct business with most government funding entities, you’ll also need to register with the System for Award Management Registration (“SAM”): visit SAM.gov
The SAM website will provide more information on how to start this process. Customarily, their website ranges from 5-25 days to approve agencies. If you received a grant within the past 5 years and registered on the older system, you may need to re-apply. Do not wait to register on the SAM site until your grant deadline, as registration takes about 10 business days.
To find federal grants that may fund your RQI program, visit Grants.gov and use their filters to narrow down your search results. It is recommended you check weekly while you are in your search, as grants and deadlines shift throughout the year depending on the department handling the funding. Grants can be approved by legislators and application processes may open unexpectedly mid-year.
State grants come from many sources and often originate from state legislative mandates. Alternatively, state grants may act as a pass-through for federal grants, which occurs when the federal government allocates funds to states with clauses for specific spending categories. The state establishes application rules based on federal requirements, and then transfers the funds to counties or individual municipalities. Often, reporting requirements for these funds vary depending on the source and spending purpose.
Some state grants are perpetually funded by taxes, such as lottery taxes, and have varying funding amounts available throughout the year. Applications are usually data- and community-need driven and requirements will be determined by the state agency managing the funds.
When searching for state grants, the best place to start is a simple web search, entering your state with the accompanying phrases, such as: “public safety grants” or “EMS grants.” Most states list their grant funding on the state page, but some operate independent websites for grant funding.
Many states assign a single department to manage the funds, most often being the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) or Department of Public Health (DPH). You are encouraged to contact your state’s DEM or DPH directly via telephone to inquire about grants and future funding, as staff may know of upcoming opportunities not yet publicized.
Private Trusts and Corporate Foundations
Your local community offers possible funding sources in the form of corporate and private foundations.
Talk with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors to brainstorm companies that are headquartered in your area. You’ll likely identify at least two large corporations within your area that are regularly involved in community giving. Corporate community foundations are often lucrative resources, as they involve a variety of philanthropists providing funds for projects and initiatives in the community.
Additionally, create a list of local and regional private foundations. Start with simple web searches for community foundations in your area and contact them – regardless if their mission aligns with RQI Partners programs or cardiac arrest/community health. Foundation administrators may know of a philanthropist interested in exploring a new funding initiative. Additionally, they may know of another foundation that would align with the RQI Partners program and provide you with the contact information.
Making the Connection
Cardiac arrest affects everyone. RQI Partners’ lifesaving mission translates seamlessly into a convincing story for you to share with grant fund prospects. Persuading grant administrators the need for, and importance of, a program like RQI can be accomplished through a solid budget proposal alongside a narrative of the heartwarming and empowering outcomes the program enables.
Additionally, when you have identified potential funding sources, consider introducing yourself and your agency to establish positive relationships with funders. Sharing the passion for saving lives may provide a key emotional connection with a funder who is equally passionate about impactful community initiatives.
While the research and application process takes time, current customers have shared that the rewards are immense after experiencing the first cardiac arrest save after implementing the RQI program.
With these resources available, consider embarking on the research process to find creative financial solutions to obtain the RQI program for your agency.
For more information about the RQI pre-hospital programs visit https://rqipartners.com/solutions/prehospital-solutions/