Grant-writing pitfalls

     Part of our mission at Law Enforcement Technology is to provide our readers with useful, vital information on law enforcement's critical issues — because those things that keep you up at night keep us up at night, too. For this reason, we have been targeting cost-saving measures for departments in each issue of this year.

     This month, accomplished grant writer and frequent contributor to Jim Donahue reviews good grantmanship in the article, "Going after a piece of the pie."

     In addition to his tips in that piece, as agencies are preparing and finalizing grant applications, Mr. Donahue suggests they keep the following frequent mistakes in mind to be sure their application is not set aside based on a simple technicality. Describing the six common mistakes, he writes:

  1. The application package is not bound in accordance with the instructions. Generally, the feds want applications to be bound only with a binder clip. More is not better.
  2. The format is wrong. The instructions say to print the application on single-sided paper and the applicant instead prints it two-sided to save paper.
  3. The directions call for signatures of certain officials, but writers either forgot to sign or the wrong person did the signing.
  4. The applicant's plan requires the grant to provide something that is not available under the grant for which they are applying. For example, an agency writes an application for additional patrol officers when the grant instructions indicate that the grant will only fund school resource officers.
  5. The applicant agency is unclear. It's hard to decipher if the application is coming from a municipal police department, county sheriff, county government or somewhere else.
  6. With the application deadline looming, it is sent at the last possible moment by a courier service that doesn't guarantee delivery by a certain date, making the application arrive after the cutoff.

     Be mindful of these pitfalls and best of luck in your grant-seeking efforts.