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I Have an Idea

  • It all starts with an idea.

    So you’ve been thinking about an important need for your department or students and different ways to overcome the challenge. Perhaps you’ve come up with a full project concept or have simply identified the cost of something that needs funding. What do you do now?

    Have a Vision

    The first thing you need to think about is the big picture

    For example: You have a need for specialized equipment for your Engineering Technology program.  What is the bigger picture for that need? Answer: Without that equipment, students would not have the best hands-on training experiences required to get a job in the field.

    In this example, you open up your opportunities for accessing funding by seeing the big picture. In your mind, you need funding for equipment. In the funder’s mind, the need is to have a better trained workforce in the engineering field.

    Another example: You have an idea for a summer college preparation program for at-risk youth to address the need for the vast number of low-income youth who are unprepared for college. In this case, you have the big picture in mind. What else do you need to be thinking about?

    Ask yourself the who, what, why, when, where and how much 

    • Who are you targeting? Who will benefit?
    • What is the big picture need?
    • Do you have documented data that verifies this need? 
    • Do you know of similar programs that exist in the community that you can connect with? Can you replicate or enhance an existing program? Do not reinvent the wheel. Be resourceful. 
    • What other partners can you bring to the table, both internal and external? What resources can they provide?
    • Do you know what the associated costs would be to run this program?
    • Do you have the approval of your supervisor to move forward?
  • Partnerships

    The most important part of grant development is having partners, both internal and external. Funders expect to see you working with others to combine resources that supplement what is being paid for out of the grant. Internally, an interdisciplinary approach to grant projects is essential. It is also imperative that you think of external community partners that can play a role in your project, such as businesses, the local workforce board, other educational partners, government agencies, as well as community organizations.

    InformationContinue to grow and nurture your partnerships at all times.
    You never know when you’ll need them.

    Beyond combining resources, partnerships are important for several other reasons:

    • Sustainability – partners can assist you with continuing aspects of your program beyond the grant period.
    • New ideas – partners can bring a new perspective and additional feedback to the concept and success of your program. You may not be aware of an existing resource that could benefit your program, but your partner might.
    • Eligible applicant – in many cases, the community college may not be an eligible applicant for a grant, but one of your partners might be. In this case, we would end up being a ‘subcontracted partner’. Many times this is the easier role. And many times they need you, just as much as you need them. The community college may also be a required partner and they cannot apply for their grant without you.
    • They’re required – increasingly funders are requiring that you partner with certain types of agencies in order to apply for a grant; see the list above for examples. 
    •  Letters of support – many grants require letters of support or commitment from the same types of agencies as listed above to support your project. When you maintain your partnerships over time, it is much easier to garner these letters in a quick turnaround timeframe.
  • Submit an Idea

    Complete our Idea Summary form if you have an idea so our Grants Department staff can better assist you. You will also need to work with Grants Accounting to help develop your budget. You may also need to involve Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) for data requests and evaluation services.

    Understand more about these departmental roles through the Contact Us page. 

    Let Us Know. Stay Connected.

    Keep the Grants Department in mind when working on special projects or if you have a specified need for funding. The Grants Department can help you connect the dots to other programs, partners and resources you may not know about.