23, October 2017
The Signs Your Manufacturing Company Should Seek Grant Funding - Part 2
This post was written by Micki Vandeloo, President of Lakeview Consulting, Inc. Micki’s company has obtained over $20 million dollars in grant funding for her clients, most of whom are in the manufacturing community. Micki is considered an expert in the field of for-profit grant writing and published the book, THE For-Profit Grant Writing Guide, in 2014. She partners with Impact Dakota to find and access grant funding to help their clients accelerate growth and innovation.
In my last post, I told you about the signs you should look for if you are interested in accessing grant funding. They included adding employees, increased capital investment and being negatively impacted by foreign trade. Be sure to look for these signs and go back to re-read the post to see the others!
However, as Paul Harvey said so long ago, now I am going to tell you “the rest of the story”. While you may be experiencing a situation that could lead to grant funding, your company may not be ready to apply for funding! If you are not ready to apply, your application is likely not to be successful, or worse, you could get a grant award, but have to return the money due to an inability to manage the grant or conduct the required reporting.
So, how do you determine whether you are ready to apply for a grant? Here are some considerations to help you assess your organization’s capacity and capability to apply for and manage a grant:
- Mission – Does your company have a clear and precise mission statement?
- Strategic Plan – Do you have an updated strategic plan with both short term and long-term goals?
- Organization Information – Do you have access to your Dun and Bradstreet (DUNS) Number and an EIN number and have you registered in the System for Award Management (SAM)? The latter is required to apply for federal grant or to receive federal grant money from a pass through organization such as USDA.
- Project Planning – Have you documented a project plan? Do you have a cross functional team that provided input to the plan or is knowledgeable about its contents? Do your project objectives and activities meet a need stated in the application (increased market share, job retention or generation, etc)?
- Financial Stability/Cash Flow – Many grants are provided on a reimbursement basis. In other words, you spend the money first, prove to the funder you spent it, and then get the money back. This can sometimes take 2-6 months depending on the type of funder and their approval and reimbursement process. Do you have a strong enough financial situation to “finance” the investment until you get the reimbursement?
- Track Record – Has your organization previously received grant funding and met all funding requirements?
- Personnel – Do your people have the capacity to perform grant management or application writing duties in addition to their current workload?
- Funds Tracking – Do you have a reliable electronic system for segregating grant expenditures? For-profit funders often require this. This many times means creating a separate revenue and expense account for grant related funds allocation.
I have created a Business Self-Assessment for Grant Readiness document to help you perform this self-assessment if you have recognized the possibility of applying for funding, but don’t know if your organization is ready to do so.
As I stated in the last post, if you find yourself in need of services to increase your grant readiness, contact the folks at Impact Dakota. They should be your first stop when looking for resources for any situation!
If you are interested in learning more about funding to support your growth and innovation, Impact Dakota will offer the Manufacturing Money webinar on 10/25 at 10:00 a.m. Micki Vandeloo, GPC, President of Lakeview Consulting, Inc. will explain the why, what and how of manufacturing grants, and answer any questions you have! Click here to register for this valuable webinar!