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Staying on Target: The Power of Starting with 'Why' in Grant Seeking for Public Safety

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

The grant-seeking landscape is highly competitive, especially for public safety entities where grants are crucial for operations. Every organization is competing for its share. Staying true to an agency's "why" is essential to make sure that the urgency to secure funding doesn't overshadow its mission.

Breaking Down the Why, What, and How

Before we dive deep into grant-seeking for public safety entities, let's pause to better understand the three pivotal concepts that underlie this process: the "why," the "what," and the "how." These concepts are crucial for any successful grant application and will guide us as we explore the competitive world of funding opportunities. By grounding our actions in these ideas, we can craft compelling grant proposals, ensure our initiatives align with our core mission, and increase our likelihood of securing crucial funding.

Why: In the realm of public safety, the "why" represents the central mission or driving force behind your organization. It's the unwavering commitment to protecting and serving the community, beyond just the desire for funding.

What: This is where you get specific about the projects or initiatives you're pursuing to make your community safer. These are the actions you're taking on the ground - things like community policing, drug prevention programs, or emergency response plans - that embody your overarching "why."

How: These are the tactics, strategies, or plans you use to carry out your "what." For a grant-seeking public safety agency, this could be your approach to building partnerships, your methods of implementing projects, or your plans for measuring outcomes.

Starting with "why" isn't just a good idea - it's vital when you're seeking grants. It brings clarity and authenticity to your proposal, making it stand out in a sea of applications. It shows potential funders that you're committed to a cause, not just looking for a financial boost

Why 'Why' Takes Center Stage

Every organization has a beating heart - its raison d'être. This is its "why." The "why" is a mix of an organization’s history, aspirations, and the positive change it ai

ms to bring to the community it serves. Embracing this genuine motivation before leaping into grant-seeking helps align every subsequent action, partnership, and project with your organization's essence.

In the grant world, starting with "why" achieves multiple feats. It helps filter out the noise, ensuring every pursued grant resonates with the organization's mission. It also lends authenticity to proposals, turning them from mere applications to heartfelt narratives.

The What and How in the Shadow of Why

Think of the "why" as your guiding star. The "what" and "how" are the ships that follow this star. The projects you undertake or grants you seek (the "what") and the strategies and methods you use to implement them (the "how") should always be in line with your guiding "why."

Imagine a scenario where a law enforcement agency lacks a clear "why” for their grant writing. Their agency mission may focus on community engagement and building trust. However, without a well-defined "why," they might find themselves pursuing grants (the "what") that do not align with its primary mission. And it's not just about chasing the wrong grants and projects. Without a clear "why," your "what" and "how" can get disconnected or go off track, resulting in wasted resources and mediocre results.

But when you've got a clear "why," your "what" gets sharper, and your "how" gets smoother.

Conclusion: The Orchestrated Symphony of Grant Seeking

When "why" takes the lead, the chaotic world of grant-seeking becomes more organized and harmonious. Each element works together, creating a result that's both compelling and true to the agency’s values and mission. Organizations should not just see grant-seeking as a task but as an opportunity to further their mission. By understanding and embracing their "why," they can ensure that every step, and every initiative, resonates with purpose.


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