How Soon is Too Soon?

Could there be such a thing as too much pre-planning? Or starting your pre-planning for a grant application too early?

I have climbed on my soapbox about the importance of pre-planning for government grants as a means to increase competitiveness in the process more than once through I’ve talked about

How to Plan Your 2016 Grant Applications Using Federal Forecasts and Budgets

Managing the Pre-Planning Process for a Grant Application

What to Do BEFORE You Start a Government Grant Application

I can’t help but talk about pre-planning again – its too important not too.

Let’s rewind to last year. Were you one of many fire or emergency responder departments that spent their New Year holiday fretting about the looming Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) deadline? I personally had planned a vacation for January after the New Year, as leaving upstate New York when it is cold and snowy is always appealing to me and right after the first of the year is often a quieter time for application deadlines. No such luck last year with the slightly later than anticipated deadline for the AFG grants.

Were there grant professionals and firefighters that didn’t fret about the deadline because they had already laid out much of their application prior to the release of the application? You bet!

Were there departments that had received a rejection in a previous year that had worked in the months between the rejection and the release of the new fiscal year’s application to strengthen their work? Absolutely!

Now as we head for the next year of AFG grants, potentially with an early fall release of the application, are you spending time during your summer vacations thinking about what equipment you might request for your department? Are you sitting on the beach contemplating how to best tell your department’s story? Or taking returned phone calls from equipment vendors while out hiking in the sunshine?

Successful preplanning does not require a certain of numbers. Successful preplanning does not need to look the same in all organizations.

What successful preplanning does need to include is using the knowledge and format of previous applications to shape conversations in your organization/department. Successful preplanning needs to include those in your organization that will ultimately make the decision about what the request will include, which partners will be involved and what match sources are able to be committed.

Whether on a kayak, a bike, a golf course or enjoying some time in an air conditioned space this summer now is the time to do a bit of brainstorming with your colleagues about what your grant applications might look like this fall. You’ll be glad you did as the formal NOFAs and RFPs are released and you already have an initial direction laid out.

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