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Five Tips for Successful Technical Training Grant Proposals

In this article, an experienced grant writer shares five quick tips for improving your chance of funding a technical training program through grant funding. These grant writing tips are a great start to any grant proposal.

Say you’re an ambitious educator, school administrator, or training director and industry leaders in your community are telling you, “We have great career opportunities that we can’t fill. The applicants just aren’t qualified.” You begin sketching out a program with your school or company that you know will help both local business leaders and local applicants. You decide to apply for a grant. And now you’re intimidated. Don’t be! Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

1 – Don’t Answer a Question that No One is Asking

The most important part of a grant proposal is a clear, thoroughly researched “needs statement” that outlines what problem your program will address and establishes your credibility to address it.

Proposing a program that follows a weak and/or vague needs statement is like answering a question that no one is asking. You can outline the most organized program in the country, but if you don’t give the grant reviewers a comprehensive, detailed, passionate statement of program purpose and need, you’ve failed to give them a reason to fund it.

2 – Go Find Some Partners

Involving the community in your grant proposal – usually industrial partners for technical training grants – strengthens your chance of funding.

If you want to implement a process control training program within a community with several refineries, reach out to the refineries. Working with them grants you access to real-world, specific training needs that gives your program direction and offers them a pipeline of qualified future employees. Their involvement shows investment in your program’s success, which strengthens your grant proposal’s credibility (and opens the possibility of matching funds from industry partners).

3 – Be Smart About What You Can Accomplish

Setting poor goals and projected outcomes will sink a grant proposal. The best advice is to make sure that all of your goals and projected outcomes are SMART.

  • Specific: Few problems are the result of one factor. Use individual goals to identify distinct factors contributing to a problem and address how your program will act on them.
  • Measurable: Success stories are important, but when reporting on program accomplishments, numbers talk. Set goals and outcomes that are realistic, quantifiable, and trackable.
  • Achievable: Don’t bite off too much. Honestly look at your resources, partners, timelines, and the scope of the problem and be realistic about what you can achieve.
  • Relevant: Referring to the “Specific” comment, while multiple factors create a problem, narrow your focus only to the distinct issues that you can or will act on through your program.
  • Time Bound: Grant funding only lasts so long. For reporting purposes, set your goals and objectives for the term of the grant. This provides a strong baseline when applying for additional grant funding.

4 – Sustaining Your Pace Past the Finish Line

Speaking of grant funding lasting only so long, a major factor of your grant narrative that appeals to grant reviewers is long-term program sustainability. Yes, once a grant ends, you can keep applying for grants, but focus on how your program can tap into other sources of revenue. For technical training initiatives, this is where strong community involvement and industrial partnerships come in handy.

5 – The Funding is in the Details

This one sounds obvious, but it’s vital. Pay attention to the details. Read the Request for Proposal (RFP) line-by-line and create a checklist of every required item. If you omit a required section from of your narrative, provide a half-hearted stab at a program budget, or don’t supply all of the required appendices – or put them in the correct order, title them correctly, etc. – it sends the reviewer a message about your preparation and attention to detail. If you can’t follow instructions on the application, then you open the question, “Are you ready to implement and run a program with the funding that we grant you?”

About Karl Prinz

Karl Prinz is a former grant writer for a Nashville-based nonprofit organization. He is currently a Marketing Content Developer for Amatrol, Inc. Learn more about Amatrol and its technical training solutions, including eLearning, here and connect with Karl on  Amatrol’s TwitterFacebookGoogle+, YouTube and LinkedIn pages.

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