Many manufacturing leaders find the process of pursuing grants to be overwhelming. Most have pretty full plates already, but that doesn’t mean that the prospect of finding grants must be abandoned.
Help is available, but the appropriate resources should be put on the project to ensure success. This means turning to a good grant writer or consultant with the following characteristics:
- Strong attention to detail
- An understanding of what the funder is REALLY asking. For example, if they are asking about the need for the project, a good grant writer will know where to go to find statistics to support the need. This is often what the funder is looking for.
- Knowledge about budget allowable and unallowable costs.
- Strong project management skills to ensure all pieces are ready for submittal prior to the deadline.
- The ability to clearly answer questions in a grant application. Answers must be clear so as to never confuse the reviewer
This type of person will know where to look, how to approach the application and increase the success rate of securing the funding by pursuing the right grants as opposed to chasing those which may not be appropriate for the project (which will only waste time and money).
Choosing the Right Person for the Job
Many manufacturing leaders may be tempted to turn to resources within the organization, or professionals they already work with. While this approach is well intended, it’s likely not the best route to secure results. Here are some of the first resources manufacturers tend to turn to, and why they may not lead to funding success:
- Administrative Assistants: Many leaders believe that, because they normally have their Administrative Assistant fill out forms for other reasons, and many times an application is a form, this person can take care of completing a grant application as well. While this can be a valid option, many administrative personnel don’t have the time to fill out a grant application completely and will often need extensive help obtaining the information. And, the time it takes for them to do this work is time they can spend doing more productive work for their boss.
- The HR Manager: Some leaders think the HR Manager should naturally know how to fill out a grant application. Unfortunately, even if it is a training grant, they may not know why training is being done, or have the training details. And, again, this person’s time is better spent on doing their job than trying to understand the requirements of a grant and complete the application.
- CPAs: While some CPA firms have grant writers on staff and can be very helpful if you identify incentives such as tax credits in your search of state programs, the vast majority really don’t know anything about grant writing or research.
Instead, the best chances of success lie in securing the help of a professional with the Grant Professional Certification (GPC) designation. This ensures your grant writer possesses the skills to create the most competitive application based on the information the client provides.
Grant Funding Can Transform Your Business
Many manufacturing leaders are frustrated by their inability to afford the capital, facilities, training, services and other projects to address current and future market needs, but remain hopeful about their company’s future. Once they gain a full understanding of the grant process, and the help that’s available for them to pursue this type of funding, they experience a sense of relief that there is hope for the chance to increase revenue and ensure their company’s prosperity for current and future generations of workers.
The renewed focus on the need for American localized supply chains to avoid disruptions experienced during and following the COVID 19 pandemic has created exciting rhetoric at state and national levels about funding to support bolstering American supply chains. After all, it only takes a drive past an empty car lot to see how one little chip made overseas impacts an entire industry. In addition, the continued need for skilled workers is driving funding for apprenticeship program expansion and creation of career pathways. These are truly exciting times for American manufacturers.