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Making your case for funding

Just as you make your case for a court hearing, every police department must make a strong, justified case for funding. It has been a while since I wrote about making a case statement but this question comes up in my every grant writing class and consulting work with departments. Responding to a grant announcement with a short turnaround time requires that the department be well prepared for a competitive application. Creating a case statement allows the department to offer due diligence to the detailed work it require to get funded. This work takes considerable time and planning.

For example, the 2013 JAG application requires the following for a program narrative:

Applicants must submit a program narrative that describes activities for the two or four year grant period. The narrative must outline the type of programs to be funded by the JAG award and provide a brief analysis of the need for the programs. Narratives must also identify anticipated coordination efforts involving JAG and related justice funds.

In order to respond to this requirement the department must consider which policing strategies, tools, technology, personnel or other related needs to provide this description to the funding. All of the requested funds provided by the JAG grant must comply with your department’s strategic plan and your state’s strategic plan. A simple paragraph description will fall far short of the funder expectations for this grant program. The funding announcement also states:

Failure to submit this required information will result in an application being returned in the Grants Management System (GMS) for inclusion of the missing information OR the attachment of a withholding of funds special condition at the time of award.

Many departments have failed to access their formula funded dollars due to the failure to understand the depth of information required to access this important funding resource.

So how do you meet these stringent requirements and prepare for a federal or state grant prior to the funding announcement being posted? The answer is not hard but requires a commitment by the department to commit to serious planning. Follow the following prescription and your department will reap the funding rewards. Develop your case statement for funding. Be sure to consider, research, answer and justify all of the following considerations

Develop an introduction to your department
Describe your department’s size and structure, when founded and where. Define major milestones and accomplishments. Describe all policing strategies developed and implemented by your department including the data which justifies the need for that strategy. List any and all federal, state or private money garnered by the department

Gather and synthesize your data from your jurisdiction
Define how your data compares to your region, state and national data. What are the pressing problem/ characteristics of the population you serve? Identify the economic and community demographics. List all types of Part I and Part II Crimes.

Determine your Department’s needs for the next four years
What are the pressing problems for your department? What internal or external data validates these needs? What are the greatest challenges facing your department?

Planning and Decision Making
Describe your departments planning process. Who is involved? How were the decisions made? What are the financial, programmatic and crime reduction goals for your department over the next four years? Describe your life cycle management plan for tools and technology? What are your personnel training goals?

Create a planning document
Draft a strategic planning document with all of the above data and information. This plan will be required for federal and state funding. Make sure you obtain a copy of your state plan and review it to see if and where your plan aligns with your state. If you do not align you will need to adjust your plans to assure that part of it is in alignment. Without this you surely risk not being funded.

Once you have completed this process, your work to create a competitive grant application will be a cinch! Most of the work has been complete, decisions have been made, you have a planning process in in place and a plan to share when asked.

I have facilitated many dozen strategic plans and the outcome for those departments who have a sound process and a justified document will be the department who goes to the bank with the check. If you have any question about building your case for funding please contact us at policegrantshelp.com.

Best wishes with your funding endeavors!

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