Applying for a government grant or contract can be a complicated and very involved process. Don't worry - Community Partners is here to help! Before you begin the process of putting together an application for a government grant or contract, please review the following information and reach out to your liaison team. Public funding usually requires significant time on the part of Project Leaders and Community Partners staff to prepare and submit proposals; negotiate, review, and execute agreements; document and track project activities and expenses; prepare programmatic and financial reports; invoice for payment; monitor; and audit.
Applying for any level of government funding also may entail the need to make some systemic changes to your project in order to accommodate the needs of the funder:
- Most government funding requires an increased level of oversight and monitoring of how funds are spent and whether results achieved matched those promises.
- Government contracts are usually cost-reimbursement – meaning that payments under such grants and contracts are usually made only after services are performed and invoiced. It frequently can take weeks or months after invoices are submitted to receive payment. As such, projects will need to have a diversified funding stream and enough unrestricted cash balance to float expenditures until they are reimbursed, as well as cover any expenses that are not covered under the government grant.
- Community Partners’ administrative charge on all public funds is 12% - 15% due to the substantially higher amount of time, oversight, and responsibility that they require.
- Additional staff may need to be brought on board to ensure that a project is able to sufficiently handle all government requirements.
Community Partners will support government grants and contracts only if:
- The Project Leader demonstrates that the project has sufficient commitment, experience, and ability to satisfactorily handle all requirements of publicly-funded grants or contracts.
- The project is able to maintain sufficient unrestricted cash balances from private or other funding
sources to cover any cash-flow deficit resulting from a lag between the payment of expense and the time when funds are reimbursed by the contracting government agency (exceptions are made to this policy on a rare, case-by-case basis)
- The project advisory board members indicate that they understand the programmatic, administrative, and financial commitments required, and fully support the proposal.
Here is a handy checklist to help you determine if you are ready to apply for a government grant?
- Have you spoken with your Advisory Board to formally decide that it is appropriate for you to seek and accept government grants/contracts?
- Have you spoken with your program, finance, and grants liaisons to decide that it is appropriate for you to seek and accept government grants/contracts?
- Are your program, finance, and grants liaisons aware that you intend to apply for a specific government grant/contract opportunity?
- Have you reviewed the grant/contract guidelines to determine the financial requirements? Can your project meet them?
- Is there someone at your project who can put together the financial components of the grant application – the budget and budget narrative?
- Is there someone with finance and contract administration experience at your project who can help you manage the contract post-award – financial reporting, invoicing, contract compliance?
- Is there someone at the project aware of current federal grant policies and procedures that related to the use of government funds?
- Does your project have policies and procedures in place to ensure that government grant funds are used appropriately?
- Is your project prepared to be audited by a federal agency before a grant is awarded or at the conclusions of the grant period?