Things to Review
New funding for your local landscape project is exciting! The grant funds will make it possible for your group to provide community curb appeal and encourage economic development for your area. But, before you ship that application package for review, be sure to check these things.
• Ask yourself if this is a project with people behind it. Are you just applying for the grant to get free money, or are you invested in the success and long-term maintenance of the installed design? The reviewers can tell, and will hesitate to award a grant to a group that is obviously only interested in the money. Prove your heart is in the project with your words.
• Start the application preparation process early!Prepare a preliminary concept for review early in the process, so you have time to make revisions without rushing. Getting required approval, signatures, and notarization may require waiting for specially scheduled meetings.
• Be specific about your landscape proposal. Grant reviewers will not spend time listening to why your area is known as “the dill pickle capitol of the world”. They are interested in your landscape proposal and not the first settlers or the current administration. They want to read about your project, and they want to know why your proposal is unique. After you are awarded a grant, the reviewers will then want to know all about the first cucumber planters that settled in your area and the great pickle festival you celebrate each year. You can invite the funding dignitaries for public relations photos and do a check presentation or ribbon cutting that includes all the fun PR stuff that makes your area special.
• Be concise. Grant reviewers are reading up to 40 applications in one day. Distill your landscape project pitch down to the essence of the proposal.
• Include the required number of copies of your application. Several different reviewers will be looking at your project, and they each want their own full copy. Be generous.
• Fill out every field in the application form. Your application may be discarded if you leave blanks.
• Include all the required items in the application package. I am mentioning this, because, so often, a local government entity will omit important and essential application items.
• Read the policies mentioned in the instructions. They may be boring, but they include special nuggets of information that will be judged in your proposal.
• Check out the judging criteria, and pad your applications with items that build points.
• Read the instructions for the grant carefully to be sure you are not asking for funds for items that are not covered by the grant. This can make or break your application success.
With our experience creating and reviewing landscape grant programs, we can evaluate your project and provide tips on how to make it more awardable. The grant application process can be quite competitive, and little changes can make the difference in how your proposal is scored. Guidance from an independent expert can add the features your project needs to rise to the top of the applicants. Contact us for more information.