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Ten Tips for Your JAG Proposal

Nov 14

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Tuesday, November 14, 2017  RssIcon

With the application process for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program complete for state agencies, it’s time for small- to medium-sized law enforcement agencies across the US to prepare for their state’s pass-through competition. 

JAG funds are allocated through a formula to each state and territory, based on their share of violent crime and population. A list of State Allocations for FY 2017 is available to view online.  These dollars are awarded directly to the state. A portion - if not all - of these funds is then allocated to local government units, such as law enforcement organizations, municipal courts, and corrections agencies. Local details and deadlines for this pass-through process vary state-to-state. For more information, we suggest contacting the state administering agency that oversees your criminal justice organization.

Ready to go? Preparing to submit a JAG proposal this fall? Check out these Ten Tips for putting your best foot forward in that upcoming competition:  

Learn about the program to before you apply. Read (and re-read) the announcement to gain a clear understanding what your state requires for the JAG proposal. If you have further questions, contact the program coordinator or state agency. 

Assume grant reviewers are unaware of your organization. Provide background information on your agency and the surrounding community in the proposal. Give reviewers some context as to where and for whom their financial support will benefit. 

Avoid unique acronyms or colloquial language. Again, this proposal may introduce grant reviewers to your agency for the very first time. Be descriptive. If you must use an acronym, be sure to spell it out at least once on each application page. 

Craft a compelling problem statement. Convey the need or lack in services your proposed project will address. Explain to the grant reviewer how these local conditions are challenging the community. This is your chance to provide a connection between the proposed project and the guidelines or priorities established in the JAG program. If you’re requesting technology, for example, don’t simply state that your agency needs it. Pinpoint how the capabilities of said equipment will enhance your ability to address the inadequacies identified within your problem statement.

Utilize recent statistics to support your problem statement. Include local data to illustrate themes or identify underserved areas. This information can serve as a powerful rationale and/or justification for the problem statement. 

Provide a detailed budget. Illustrate exactly how each line item will benefit the project as a whole. Funders may not be able to connect each expense is related to a project objective, thus aimed at supporting a project goal. Leave nothing to chance by explain this. Also, be sure to include all budget information requested - Not just what you think is important. 


Check your math. Budget errors will cause grant reviewers to lose confidence in your agency’s ability to manage large sums of money.


Don’t ignore the project timeline. This section is very important! The timeline is often the first item grant reviewers check out in a proposal. If the project is awarded, grant funders will bring along that timeline on site visits to ensure your agency is in compliance. As such, be sure to list all activities and identify exact persons responsible for each task. You can also include general grant management and administration activities (i.e. send in quarterly progress report by February 15) in the timeline. 

Ask a person outside the agency to read your drafts. This extra set of eyes can check for spelling errors, confusing phrases, and unclear information. They can also give you their overall impression of the project. If you’re intimately involved in the minor particulars of the narrative, you can often overlook large details.


Follow directions! Did we mention this before? It’s very important. If the funder requests a three-page response with one-inch margins and 12-point font, follow those instructions. If they ask that you do not bind or staple the application, follow those instructions. You don’t want to annoy those exact individuals who will determine if your agency gets funded!  

 

Want to learn more about the JAG Program in your State? Check out the BJA’s Interactive Map of State and Territory Fact Sheets.

 

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