Before you research funding sources, you should have already developed a GIS project plan. The focus of your plan is to address the problem or challenge your organization is facing and a solution that can include both GIS-related and other components to support the goal. Good planning is fundamental to submitting an effective grant application.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when defining your GIS project plan.
Defining Your Project
You should be able to answer the following questions:
- What are the long-term goals of your organization or agency?
- Hold meetings with other departments or agencies to collaborate on perceived needs and establish goals that will benefit all with the most return on investment.
- What are the immediate, short-term objectives of your project, and do they meet your organization's long-term goals?
- What needs is your project addressing, and how critical are these needs?
- What methods and technologies are being proposed to achieve the goals of the project?
- Are there any projects in place that serve as planning or pilot projects that can be leveraged?
- How do you plan to measure the results of your project?
- Who will be managing the project, and how are they qualified to do so?
- Are there any collaborations or partnerships with other stakeholders, be they organizations or beneficiaries?
- What existing funding sources within your organization could be leveraged for the project? What could be used for matching funds on a grant (money, salaries, dedicated equipment, etc.)?
- Is your organization's management supportive of the project and the process of seeking federal funding?
Tip: Most federal grants only have a 30–60-day period in which an applicant can apply, which is a very short time period. It is best if you do some research, have a clear project overview ready, and prepare collaborations/partnerships and management support ahead of time. This gives you the best chance for success. Refer to Funding Resources for more information on how to do research and prepare grants.