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Beginner steps to apply for an EMS grant

Learn the basics of grant writing or hone your skills at Pinnacle EMS session

At the Pinnacle EMS session “Fire? Police? What About Grants for EMS?” EMS1 Columnist Rachel Stemerman provides an introduction to grant writing, then delves into specific elements that strengthen a funding request.

People often get overwhelmed by grant applications, but applying certain skills and tips can make the process much easier, Stemerman said.

“I hope people come away with basic knowledge and skills to put together a successful grant,” Stemerman said. “Grants aren’t as scary as they appear.”

Programs and partnerships

Her session offers an opportunity for those who may be hesitant to tackle a grant application to get their feet wet, and provides information for more experienced grant writers to hone their skills.

Stemerman also aims to teach people how to “think like a grant writer,” and identify ways, such as including a program to go along with equipment purchases, to make funding requests more desirable.

For instance, if an EMS agency is requesting a new ambulance, developing a program that uses the vehicle to educate the public at community events can often boost the chances of receiving funding.

“It becomes more than just an equipment purchase,” Stemerman said. “It becomes something more vital to the community.”

Sarah Wilson, Director and Founder of Grants Program at EMS1, also suggests EMS agencies pair up with other organizations, such as police and fire departments or hospitals, to file joint requests.

“There are a lot of funding sources and opportunities for partnerships,” Wilson said. She also suggests EMS agencies look beyond state and federal grants.

“Corporate giving is a huge funding source for EMS agencies,” Wilson said.

Planning is also “probably the most unrespected process in grants,” Wilson said.

EMS agencies should start planning one year to three months before the grant application is due, and can usually look at grants from past years to get a jump start on the process, she said.

How to handle rejection

Rejection is also part of any grant application process. If rejected, Stemerman recommends reaching out to the grant makers and asking for advice on how to improve your application.

“They don’t want you to fail,” Stemerman said. “They’re very receptive to giving feedback.”

There’s also the chance your application was rejected due to a technicality, in which case it’s good to find out about the problem so that you can fix it for the future.

Whether you’re new to the process, or looking to improve your grant writing skills, Stemerman aims to educate.

“You’re definitely going to come away learning something,” Stemerman said.