Winning Ways to be Unique

Often, you can mentor and network successfully to leverage and incorporate the strengths of other projects into your own, and collaborate on marketing and outreach.

Instead of being project specific, take a step back and look at the big-picture benefits and connections created by your project.

Focus on a multi-tasked analysis by asking some key questions. Does your project provide economic, green space, environmental or other benefits simultaneously? Does your project provide ecotourism potential that might contribute to the local economy? Is there an opportunity to include an educational component in your project that may be part of a bigger regional vision?

By looking at the spin-off potential of a project you can increase your project’s chances by connecting with other conservation, watershed, economic or park planning initiatives.

A great example is how one Southwest Ohio community’s grant application listed all of the recreational resources and entertainment connections that were located near the project in a list:

• Amusement Park (30 minutes away), Paramount’s Kings Island, Beach Waterpark

• Beach (10 minutes) Caesar Creek Lake/Cowman Lake

• Bicycling/Jogging Trails (15 minutes), Little Miami Bike Trail

• Fine Dining (25 minutes), The Golden Lamb, Lebanon or Casual Dining at the Spillway Lodge

• Fishing (10 minutes), Caesar Creek Lake/Cowman Lake

• Golf Course (5 minutes), Majestic Springs Golf Course

• Theatre (5 minutes), Historic Murphy Theatre (circa 1918) downtown Wilmington, Ohio

The result was a creative and effective connection between the local project and the recreational entertainment resources of the entire area.

5. Answer the application criteria and create an executive summary based on the evaluation criteria.

Applications are always competitively ranked based on a broad range of criteria established by the grant source. Since these are listed in the application, it’s not a guessing game, just a matter of making sure that all of your criteria are answered appropriately.

Once you have fulfilled the grant requirements, take a look at pulling out several key needs and tying them into an executive summary.

For instance, if the application requests a project timeline, project cost, and project narrative, create a checklist of benefits based on these criteria, and keep them in the order of the grant evaluation.

Begin with the question, “Why select this project for funding?” and then list a series of bullets on the strengths of the application in the different criteria.

For example, with regard to the timeline, you could have a bulleted statement that discusses the project’s readiness to proceed, and illustrates the organization’s ownership of the property, or potential funds outside of the grant that have already been leveraged.

By focusing on what makes your project unique, you can effectively differentiate your project amongst the competition and increase your ratio of success on future grant applications.

Betsy Bowe is grants and regulatory affairs manager for Environmental Design Group Inc., Akron, Ohio. For questions or comments, contact Betsy at (330) 375-1390 or e-mail

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Related posts:

  1. The Match
  2. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses, Part 2
  3. Grant Alert
  4. Minnesota Playground Honored
  5. 80 Ways To Reduce Expenses: Part 4

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