Collaborate With Your Community
Community support for many proposals is essential. Look for individuals or groups representing academic, political, professional, and faith- and community-based organizations that may be willing to support the proposal in writing. Numerous letters of support can influence the administering agency. OJP and its peer reviewers consider the type and caliber of community support as critical when they review applications.
Elicit support from local government agencies and public officials. Letters of endorsement from local government and public officials detailing the exact areas of the project that they are sanctioning and any financial or in-kind commitment are often requested as part of a proposal to a federal agency. Keep in mind that it may take several months to develop these relationships and acquire letters of endorsement if something of value (e.g., buildings, staff, services) is negotiated between the parties.
Give thought to the kinds of nonmonetary contributions that may be available to you. In many instances, academic institutions, corporations, and other nonprofit groups in the community are willing to contribute technical and professional assistance, equipment, or space. Such contributions will reduce the amount of money you request for your project, and most reviewers will view evidence of such local support favorably.
Many agencies require agreements in writing before they will approve a grant or award funds. These could include affiliation agreements (a mutual agreement to share services between agencies) and commitments to provide building or office space (i.e., Memoranda of Understanding).
Generate community support by forming a citizen advisory committee or holding meetings with community leaders. Meetings may involve—
- Discussing the proposal’s merits.
- Developing a strategy to gain support from a large number of community groups, institutions, and organizations.
- Generating data that supports the proposal.