Right now, communities across the country are benefitting from the unprecedented $1 trillion in funding created by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). While there are a lot of federal funds available, many organizations don’t have the capacity or the resources to do the necessary prep work involved in applying for IIJA funding.
You can take concrete steps to improve your chances of receiving these awards, but getting the right information for a winning proposal may require a different approach than your program typically uses.
Organizations that start preparing their project proposals now will be at a significant advantage later.
We know you already have enough on your plate, so we want to help you prepare to get the funding your projects need. Here are 3 tips to getting the right data and resources for a head start on your applications:
1. Create a “wish list” of potential projects
Make a list of all the projects that you’ve always wanted to pursue. Add any projects you had to put on the backburner because you just never had the funding or the resources to take them on. Once you have identified these projects, work on prioritizing them so you can determine which projects you can develop a proposal for.
- Evaluate the potential impact of each project. Prioritize projects that have the potential to make the greatest impact on your target population or community.
- Assess the potential for sustainability. Prioritize projects that have the potential to be sustained after the grant funding ends.
- Assess the capacity needed for each project. Consider the resources, time, and expertise required for each project, and prioritize those that are most feasible given your current capacity.
Tip: If a lack of resources is frequently a roadblock for your organization, grants management software like AmpliFund helps create capacity for your team by streamlining your processes. It can send automatic reminders, generate reports with the click of a button, and make auditing a smoother process as well.
2. Know where to find federal funding
There are several reliable routes you can take to find IIJA funds. IIJA funding can primarily be found through government agencies like the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy. You can also consult the White House's guidebook on infrastructure funding to find funding streams relevant to your project needs, and you can even allocate some ARPA State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to infrastructure projects. The federal government's website, Grants.gov, serves as a central location for searching and applying for federal grant opportunities as well.
Tip: Grants management software can help you search for and apply for funding. For example, the AmpliFund Research tool gives you access to over 4,000 federal, state, municipal and local government opportunities, including those on Grants.gov, as well as over 200,000 independent, community, and corporate foundation grants.
3. Start planning projects ahead of time
Some projects require more intensive planning than others. Take lead remediation, for example. If you are awarded IIJA funds to replace lead pipes, you will need to know relevant details such as identifying and mapping all the lead pipes in your community. Likewise, if you are envisioning a broadband access expansion project, you will want to make sure your community’s current access levels and needs are well documented ahead of time so you can demonstrate the need accurately in your proposal.
Keeping all the data you collect in one central location will pay dividends during the application process itself and during project execution.
Tip: Grants management systems can store all your preliminary research and data collected. For example, AmpliFund comes with unlimited document storage, so you never have to worry about finding a separate place to store your documents.
By having a plan in place to prioritize the projects that are the most vital for your community, knowing where to find funding, and making sure to prepare ahead of time, you can increase your organization’s chances of submitting a winning proposal.
Overwhelmed by the complexities of managing grants? AmpliFund’s team of experts will give you access to compliance news, recommended best practices, and even live training events to help you realize the full potential of your funding.
Reach out to learn more about how you can get support from a team that understands your needs, your grant program, and your goals, and is dedicated to helping you exceed them.