In higher education, grants can be catalytic in running successful and sustainable programs. This is especially true in the field of healthcare, where education is expensive and there are significant requirements for staying accredited.
Why Healthcare Programs Need Grants
When most people think grants, they think “free money.” And while they’re technically right – a grant is a cash award that doesn’t have to be paid back– there’s so much more that goes into earning and using grants. For healthcare programs in particular, grants are essential in:
- Staying afloat. In some situations, grants are necessary in order to simply pay the bills and stay in the black. For smaller schools in particular, grants may make up a large percentage of overall funding. Without these grants, it’s tough to perform at the necessary levels.
- Funding technology. Healthcare technology and equipment is expensive – particularly when it has to be purchased in large quantities to outfit classrooms and labs. Certain grants help healthcare programs stay current with their technology in order to remain competitive.
- Funding research. Schools often develop their reputations through research and scholarships. For small healthcare programs to stand a chance at making a big splash, they need funding. Research grants can level the playing field and provide the resources necessary to make groundbreaking discoveries and present the findings in the appropriate places.
- Developing students. Grants can be used to extend financial scholarships, entice prospective students, and provide members of the program with the opportunities they need to thrive as students (and even as graduates).
At the end of the day, the right grants play a key role in helping healthcare programs stay accredited. Without this funding, many would be unable to meet even the basic standards set by state and national accreditation boards. Thus, we aren’t just talking about “free money” in the sense of winning the lottery. We’re discussing essential components of the financial foundations of these programs.
5 Grant Writing Tips for Success
Grants don’t get tossed around like candy at a parade. They’re precious assets that are only handed over when a program proves it has a need and a plan for using the money.
In order for your healthcare program to attract the funding it needs to thrive, you need to take grant writing – i.e. the act of soliciting grantors – seriously. Here are some tips to help you along:
- Find the Right Grants
There are grants for everything. Depending on your size, location, and program type, there could be dozens of grants open to you. The key is to zero in on the right ones. In other words, make a short list of the grants that (a) will be most beneficial to your program, and (b) are realistically attainable. These are the grants you want to spend your time on.
- Consider the Pros and Cons
As previously mentioned, grants are often essential in funding big projects and remaining competitive on the large-scale. They also provide opportunities to enhance visibility and promote credibility. But grants can also be very time-consuming.
“It first takes time to develop grant-writing skills that actually win grant proposals, then it takes time to write a winning application, and then it can take quite a while for you to see the funds in your bank account,” DonorBox.org explains. “Additionally, grants usually come with strings attached. Typically, there are conditions that will refer to how exactly you can use the money. These conditions can also be related to particular program outputs or outcomes.”
In other words, applying for a grant just for the sake of running through the motions isn’t the best plan of action. Always weigh the pros and cons and make decisions based on all the facts you have in front of you.
- Build Relationships With the Right People
Networking is a highly significant piece to the grant writing puzzle. Just like with any type of fundraising, relationships matter.
Take your time and cultivate relationships with the right people. This may look like calling a foundation to see who is in charge of the grant, or striking up a conversation with a program officer. While email and social media are certainly helpful networking tools, nothing replaces having real face-to-face conversations with people. Try in-person networking whenever possible.
- Get Familiar with the Fundamentals of Grant Writing
Whether you plan to do it on your own or outsource it to someone else, it’s vital that you familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of grant writing.
Every grant will have slightly different requirements and specifications, but most follow a pretty similar structure. You’ll usually be limited by a word count (somewhere between 500 to 2,000 words is pretty standard). You’ll be asked to start with a summary, provide a succinct mission statement, state the problem, share your impact, and communicate how the funding will be used to alleviate the underlying issue and produce a more favorable outcome.
- Consider Hiring a Grant Writer
Grant writing is a highly technical expertise. Unless you have experience writing grants – or you’re willing and able to learn on the fly – you’re better off hiring a grant writer.
A professional grant writer already understands how to write compelling grants. This allows them to instead focus on gathering the right information and organizing it into a single persuasive document that’s designed to move people to action. Just make sure you hire the right person for the job!
As GrantWriters.net explains, “Illegal and ineffective approaches to grant writing can not only prevent you from winning grants but could also damage your organization’s reputation with funders and your community. Make sure you ask questions and check references before hiring a grant writer.”
Take Your Program to the Next Level
Accreditation is a big issue for healthcare programs in today’s higher education field. Many of today’s governing boards are now requiring video observation in order for programs to become accredited and/or maintain accreditation. If your program finds itself in a similar situation, consider reviewing the services and solutions offered by Intelligent Video Solutions.
If you’re looking for ways to improve training programs, our video training solutions provide a cost-effective opportunity to enhance your core offerings without needing to chase down massive grants. We highly recommend exploring all of your options so you can make a cost-effective decision. Contact us today to learn more!