How does one apply for a Homeland Security grant?
December 7, 2008 4:51 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about applying for a Homeland Security grant?

My organization wants to apply for a Homeland Security grant to create and install security systems for public water systems.

How do we go about doing this, and what can we expect? Also, what sort of preparations should we make?
posted by Lownotes to Law & Government (4 answers total)
These sites have all the information you need, so I recommend reading them in their entirety:

PS: If you've never written a grant before, make sure to either hire someone else to do it or hire an editor with plenty of experience. There's a lot of money at stake, so improvising is never worth it.
posted by halogen at 5:09 PM on December 7, 2008

Call the contact numbers and ask your questions of the people who actually work for the grant programs.

I worked for a grant program for years and this is THE single most useful thing you can do for yourself. They will be happy to discuss your project, help you decide which program to apply for and to talk you through the process. Hell, they will be delighted because it will be one less totally inappropriate 50 page grant application they have to read later.

Half of our applicants never talked to us then submitted proposals we couldn't fund, even if we wanted to. D'oh. Don't be shy, call early and often.

Oh, and don't forget to read the FFO which details what kind of organizations can apply, what the money can be used for, where, when etc. A lot of people don't bother with that either.
posted by fshgrl at 8:12 PM on December 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've gotten a few FEMA grants. Nothing huge; largest was 300k or so.

halogen and fshgrl's points are spot on. Know what they will fund and what the requirements are.

Not sure what your organization is, but it should be formal, not just a bunch of guys who want to do something.

I've written a large pile of other grants, and there is a single observation that I would share with anyone who is considering doing so: it's not begging. These groups (government of private foundations) are attempting to support a specific mission. The want ideas consonant with their goals and they want credible and responsible people to help them apply their funds. If they could do the projects, they would. They can't. They need the outside world to help. You are helping them do their job. Be sure to tell them how you are speaking to their needs and desires.

A FEMA grant, or presumably any H.S. grant, is going to have a pretty formal application. Some of the boxes are limited in size, so there isn't a lot of chance for floral prose. A lot of it is pretty cut and dried. (Floral prose gets you nowhere, incidentally!)

There usually is a grant narrative box, however, and in that, you should quantify the need and highlight how it is consonant with their funding goals. You should also emphasize your organization's credibility, which is enhanced by its age, formality, prior successes, size, personal qualifications, etc.

If grammar is not your strong point, have someone edit your work. It won't influence the outcome of your application that much, but you should strive to communicate well.

One thing about these grants... usually they require partial matching fund, though not always. (This is the government's way of obtaining a reference! If some other idiot is willing to fund your scheme, it makes them feel more confident, I suppose?)

Be prepared for paperwork. If you get money, spend it and stick to a schedule. File your reports on time and close out the grant when done. (They will tell you how in detail.)

Good luck.
posted by FauxScot at 4:29 AM on December 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

I used to be a manager in the Texas SAA (State Admin. Agency) for the Homeland Security Grant Program. All the money was assigned to governmental bodies: cities, counties, local govt associations, plus Indian tribal governments. If a private company wanted to get in on it, they would have to receive an order from a local governmental body that would pay for it from HSG money. My advice: contact your state's SAA and ask how to do it.
posted by CRS at 10:14 AM on December 8, 2008

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