How to win a grant for crime analytics software
Grant funding for new technology systems is competitive, but these tips will help make your submission stand out.
The following is paid sponsored content by VION
By Todd J. LeDuc for PoliceOne BrandFocus
Many police organizations need grant-funded predictive crime analytics software suites, products and services that may be beyond the reach of their internal budgeted resources. But grant funding is competitive and highly sought after, so a methodological approach is essential to ensuring that your grant submissions stand out.
Here are six tips to help you win grants for much-needed crime analytics software upgrades.
Describe your organization in detail
Organizations that provide funds for grants want to feel comfortable that your law enforcement agency is sound and has good foundational processes in place—and that means delivering a service or product to the community that is needed and desired.
First, describe your organization and why it would make sense for federal review boards to award grant assistance. This includes demographic information, including the population you serve and the square miles covered by officers. Include crime statistics.
Next, add the type of services your agency provides, including public outreach, crime analysis and body-worn or in-car video procedures and policies.
Be as specific as possible to help peer reviewers visualize you agency and the community you serve.
Conduct a needs assessment
Why does your agency need this grant money?
To be successful, your application should include a gap analysis to explain how your agency is unable to solve crimes or process video in a reasonable timeframe. Maybe you are unable to connect the dots from gunshot sensors and body-worn cameras.
Or, perhaps your agency is overwhelmed and having trouble storing massive amounts of video evidence collected or responding to FOIA requests for videos.
Then, provide a detailed explanation on how crime analytics software will help your agency sort through video evidence. This is the time to describe how much more successful your agency will be if you are awarded funding to purchase and implement analytical software suites and services.
Be specific about the features available in crime analytics software that will help you better serve the community, such as its ability to store video on a CJIS-compliant cloud and provide a more efficient method of storing videos.
Support your needs assessment with good data
This portion of the grant writing process is essential. Making your case with strong data will set you apart from your competitors.
Use crime reporting data to show specific crime trends in your community. Also include data on the number of videos stored annually, the number of body or in-car video systems capturing data, sensor-based systems and more.
This can show grant peer reviewers that you have invested in the hardware systems and now need robust crime analytics software to help stave off crime.
If you are unable to garner internal data to support your request, consider contacting another agency that has already successfully implemented the crime analytics software solution you are seeking grant funding for; they may have data they are willing to share.
Write a compelling case
You are requesting external funding through grant applications because you cannot fund your own technology application request. You will need to be prepared to make a compelling case why you need the grant for this technology.
It is important to demonstrate significant challenges and financial hardships for your agency, as well as any extenuating circumstances.
Additionally, address how you will sustain the program— as grant funding is typically a one-time allotment. It is important to demonstrate how your organization will continue to pay for the new software upgrades or monthly subscription successfully when the grant runs out.
Grantors also look for a cost-benefit analysis to see what the return on investment will be.
Technology requests ideally should enhance operations, safety and efficiency. The trick is to showcase how this will impact the organization and its customers. It is important to demonstrate ROI with service levels, funds, efficiencies and any other metric indicator that you can use to make the case that this is a good investment.
This is another area of the grant application where quantifiable data is important, whether from internal sources or other agencies that have been successful with a similar project.
Make it easy to read
Writing style and ease of reading is important. It can help you win (or lose) a grant.
Grant writing classes are one source of assistance. Also ask organizations that have been successful in their grant applications to share their past grant applications, so you can read and learn from successful approaches.
Another great way to learn about the grant process is by volunteering as a grant peer reviewer. This provides insight as to the competition, and what the funder is looking for in prioritizing how they award funds.
Remember, grant funding is finite and sought by what often seems an infinite number of grant seekers, but following these tips can get you closer to the grant funding needed for crime analytics software.
Good luck and get to work.
For more information about software systems that can help with predicative analytics and video management, visit VION