How Surveys Help Community Coalitions with Grant Funding

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3 Ways Surveys Can Help Your Community Coalition with Grant Funding

As a member of a non-profit, community-based coalition, you understand the need to seek out funding for your organization. Unfortunately, attaining a regular and predictable influx of federal funding to support your coalition’s programs and goals is not as easy as simply applying for government funds or soliciting community donations.

One effective and popular way to seek out funding opportunities for your community coalition is through grants, and many of these grant programs require measurement of the different aspects of your community that your coalition addresses, often through surveys. While they may seem tertiary to your goals, below we’ve outlined three ways in which surveys can help your coalition gain and maintain funding.

1. Surveys Can Help Your Coalition Get Federal Funding

As an active member of your coalition, you are likely already involved in your community and see many examples of need on a regular basis. However, in order to convey this need to review boards and decision-making bodies charged with awarding federal grants, you must demonstrate it in a non-anecdotal, quantitative way. One method of achieving this—and a method required by many grant programs—is through surveys.

Many federally-funded grants require coalitions to have a measurement plan in place as part of the application process. This plan generally involves a detailed map of how the coalition will use approved measures to establish baselines, track success, and report on results to all applicable sources. For example, the Drug Free Communities federal grant requires that coalitions “establish a system to measure and report outcomes, established and approved by the DFC Administrator, to the federal government.”[1]

By ensuring that all grant applicants have protocols for measuring progress over time—in the case of the DFC grant, typically surveys of students in the community—award decision-makers guarantee that they will have a wealth of data from approved sources with which to evaluate the effectiveness of the program on an individual coalition level, and as a whole.

2. Surveys Can Help Your Coalition Keep Federal Grant Funding

As discussed above, during the course of the award period, many federal grants have a clause requiring that you track progress and outcomes. Consider this example: your coalition is focused on alcohol and substance abuse among middle and high school students in your community and receives a five-year federal grant to support education and awareness programs. As a result of being awarded the grant, you will likely be required to submit data on a regular, predetermined basis in order to track progress.

Using the real-world example of the DFC grant, the guidelines state that the “grantees are required to report updated progress data every 6 months, Coalition Classification Tool (CCT) data once each year (in August), and DFC core measures data every two years.”[2]

Similarly, some grant opportunities, like the DFC, allow for recipients to apply for an additional period of funding after the initial period has completed. The data and results that coalitions obtain from the surveys conducted during the initial grant period can be used to inform the secondary application, making it more detailed and compelling.

Furthermore, many federal grants require funds matching, meaning that coalitions must attain a certain amount of money from alternate sources. Survey results and progress towards your coalition’s goal can be used in a number of ways to encourage increased community support and participation. For example, baseline numbers regarding alcohol abuse among teens can be publicized to encourage community members to volunteer their time in mentoring programs; or annual progress figures on lowered prescription drug abuse among students can be leveraged to solicit donations from local businesses.

3. Surveys Can Help Your Coalition Find Alternate Funding

Most of the federal funds your coalition may apply for, including grants, have time limitations on them. But, once your coalition hits the time limit on its eligibility for a specific grant, you want to ensure that funding doesn’t dry up completely. This is where it’s important to note that funding opportunities aren’t limited to just federal dollars. Many businesses, both local and national, offer financial support to community coalitions, as do many state and local governments and private foundations.

While they may or may not require survey data as part of the application process, providing decision-makers with specific information about issues in the local community and what your coalition is doing to address them can be helpful in encouraging financial support.

Finding the Right Surveys to Get the Right Funding

As the DFC guidelines note, “an effective coalition will utilize a variety of data to understand their community, build a data-driven plan, and monitor progress towards outcomes.”[3] However, knowing what data to gather and how to collect it can be a process that many coalitions aren’t prepared to handle on their own.

If your community-based coalition has received or is applying for a grant that requires survey measurement, Pride Surveys can help. For over 30 years, we have been helping coalitions use scientifically reliable and valid surveys to evaluate students in their communities. Discover the range of different surveys we offer or read more about why Pride is the right choice for your survey partnership. Ready to get started? Give us a call at 800-279-6361 or fill out our quick online contact form.




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