Financing Your Project
A primary limitation to turning your plan into action will be the ability to fund your project. Numerous sources of funding and technical assistance are available to groups attempting watershed clean-up projects. The only problem is determining when, where, and how to begin a search. See Appendix F for a matrix of possible funding sources for AMD projects.
Do Your Homework
Research funding sources early, and during each stage of your project. Identify potential funding sources before you develop your financial and action plans. It will not only simplify your search, but allow you more time to widen its scope. If you have not previously established a base of funding sources, consider contacting several watershed associations with completed AMD projects. This information will provide you with sources of financial support and additional funding ideas.
When researching each prospective funding source, find out:
- Who have they funded in the past? Are these efforts consistent or in conflict with your proposed projects?
- How important is your project to their giving program? to their mission?
- What is their timetable for grant giving?
- Who is the project officer to whom you should direct your funding inquiry?
Timing Is Everything
To secure funding, timing is essential. It is important to determine the time needed to create an effective application, including information-gathering, writing and rewriting, and internal review time. Getting an early start on funding will ensure that you do not miss critical funding deadlines. It is often helpful to include elected officials, community and business leaders, and agency representatives on your fundraising committee, since they often have excellent contacts within both public and private funding organizations.
Note Any Special Requirements
As you research funding sources, be sure to note the requirements for applying, especially the type of organizational entity necessary for receiving an award. These requirements will have a direct bearing on how your application is structured, what organization will actually be submitting the application, and who will be responsible for financial management, reporting, and programmatic activity.
Parties responsible for reporting and handling management tasks need to agree up front what their duties will be. A memorandum of agreement should be drawn up to list responsibilities, if a number of separate organizations are involved.
Increase Your Chances for Getting Funding
Most applications for funding are direct requests for fairly specific activities. Projects that are:
- tightly focused,
- have widespread in-kind and other support,
- demonstrate considerable need,
- seem "doable,"
- appear well-structured, and
- adequately assessed
receive more consideration than those which lack these qualities. Defining your project through the goals established for the watershed helps focus projects that are developed for possible funding. In addition, letters of support from partnership member organizations, businesses, elected officials and other members show funding source representatives that your project has broad support.
Since AMD problems are formidable and funding is less than adequate, federal and state sources look for strong partnerships planning achievable projects when considering funding applications. The amount of support that a project has determines its ultimate success. Outreach and education are the keys to promoting involvement within the watershed community and sparking the interest of potential funding sources for AMD remediation projects. People need to know what AMD is, how it affects them and their local economy, the approaches involved in treating AMD, and what is necessary to implement the project. Support will be needed from citizens, government, industry, businesses, and other organizations to provide the expertise, resources, and funding required for success.