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3 steps to get your agency grant ready

To respond quickly and effectively to EMS and fire grant opportunities requires a constant level of grant readiness


You are toned out for a man down. In less than 60 seconds an ambulance is rolling from a posting location, a first responder fire engine is responding from quarters, and a dispatcher is giving compression-only CPR instructions. Your agency is “cardiac arrest ready,” as well as ready for other medical emergencies, traumatic injuries, and all-hazards responses.

Applying for and receiving grants requires a comparable level of readiness. Is your agency grant ready?

Here are three steps that will help your agency be better prepared to apply for local, state, regional, and national grant funding!

Step 1: Have necessary documents on file

Many foundations or other grant making organizations require a common set of documents. At a minimum, have on hand current year and previous year budgets, an organizational chart, and a list of directors or policy makers as well as their affiliations.

For non-profit agencies make sure to include your agency’s IRS determination letter stating your 501c3 designation. You might want to support this with financial and income statements.  

Step 2: Write up information on the department

Grantmakers want to know about your organization; its mission, history, and accomplishments. Write a background document that in a half to a full page gives insight into your department for potential grant makers.

Step 3: Create a “one sheet” for your agency

A “one sheet” is a snapshot of the most important statistics, performance measures, and demographics about your agency. Having this at the ready will save you hours of time searching and compiling data when a deadline is quickly approaching. Our EMS grants team recommends the following one sheet data points:

  • Annual call volume
  • Distribution of incidents by type - medical, trauma, structure fires, alarms
  • Mutual aid responses
  • Cardiac arrest responses and related data (i.e. ROSC, 30-day survival)
  • Motor vehicle collisions requiring extrication
  • Number of full-time staff (paid), part-time staff (paid), and volunteers
  • Distribution of staff by level of certification
  • Number of on-duty injuries (per year)
  • Coverage area (square miles)
  • Number of stations
  • Number of apparatus
  • Population in coverage area
  • Median income
  • Recent grant successes
  • Recent service enhancements or improvements

Being grant ready, just like readiness for a major trauma patient, takes time. Having the information outlined in this article at the ready can not only help you meet a critical deadline, it can also help you assess whether a grant is the right fit for your project.

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