General Grant Writing Tips for Public Safety Agencies

When budgets are tight, it can be a real challenge for public safety agencies to invest in all of the programs and technology that they want and need. Fortunately, new grant opportunities are announced all the time. The funds are out there. It’s just a matter of getting your agency noticed with a compelling application.

Public Safety Funding Opportunities and Grant Writing Resources

You’re looking to receive new funding to help improve public safety, but first you need to find the right match. Grant programs often have specific goals or priorities that they are looking to fund, so agencies need to make sure that their grant proposals clearly explain the impact their projects will have in relation to those goals. These resources can help you get the ball rolling.

  • The Grant Watch website lists grants for all types of organizations, and you can use the search function and keywords to find grants that are related to agency’s unique funding needs or upcoming projects:

  • The Department of Justice regularly posts grant opportunities that are specific to public safety teams and available nationwide:


  • The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) provides a database of grants related to criminal justice, including public safety:

  • The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) offers resources and technical assistance for grant applicants, as well as information on current funding opportunities:

  • The National Police Foundation offers a free guide to grant writing for law enforcement agencies:

  • The International Association of Fire Chiefs provides resources and guidance on grant writing for fire departments and emergency responders:

  • Your State Government: Federal grants are appealing, but don’t overlook the local options. Many states have online portals for grants too.


Of course, finding an appropriate grant opportunity is just the beginning. You’ll also need to put together a strong grant team, conduct a needs analysis, and complete the actual proposal. If you don’t have experience writing grants, or if you’re struggling to craft a strong proposal, take a look at this checklist. Breaking down the process into small steps can help you stay on track with a successful application.

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Quick Tips for Submitting Your Application

Before you do anything else, make sure you understand the grant guidelines and the specific requirements of the grant. You need to confirm whether your agency actually meets the eligibility criteria because you don’t want your hard work to waste. Sometimes the funding will only be awarded to agencies in a certain region, or only to agencies that have already registered accounts with the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) or federal System for Award Management (SAM).

Grant applications can be time-consuming and require significant effort, and you’ll need to get to work on your proposal as soon as possible to avoid last-minute stress. Along the way, you’ll need to carefully review and follow the instructions for writing and formatting guidelines if you want your agency to stand out.

You’ll want to get to the point quickly in order to keep the audience engaged. Include all required sections and use clear and concise language. Focus on the impact of your proposed project or research, and clearly explain how it will benefit the community, or even the field of public safety as a whole. It’s especially important to make sure your budget is well-organized, realistic, and clearly explained. It should be easy for the grant reviewer to understand and see how the grant funds will be used.

Getting some outside feedback before submitting your application can help you identify any errors or areas that need improvement with a stronger argument or extra data. Finally, once everything is in order, be sure to submit on time. Late applications are often rejected. But if you follow a checklist and stick to a set timeline, then you should be good to go!

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