Connecting the Funding Dots with Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Some people say that finding the funding for a capital project is tough. Many people stop before they even start because a coordinated effort between federal, state, and local agencies is damn near impossible.

A capital project is a long-term, time and money intensive investment that usually requires a lot of coordination between multiple agencies. Its purpose is to build upon or improve an already existing asset and are typically defined by large-scale investments, involving more planning and financial resources.

It's also common to see corporations plan capital projects. Large companies need to allocate time, resources, and human capital to build or maintain assets, such as a new iProduct or breaking into a new market.

In both cases, these types of projects need planning and a carefully managed coordinated effort by many players, in many different fields. Delivery and success are directly dependent upon the strategy and execution.

What do Capital Projects Have to do with Development?

I've coordinated a lot of these efforts in my twenty years as a business and fundraising development professional. Some of them with marginal success, where I've cried myself to sleep wondering at which point exactly did I ruin everyone's lives (and sometimes, it really feels that way), and some have positively affected the populations in entire towns.

Yes, it's a lot of work, and yes, people are counting on you for a positive outcome. But if you stop before you start, you're guaranteed a 'no-win' outcome. Federal, state, and local agencies can be tough to manage. So can three children under the age of eight. But you usually don't see mom's in that situation just throw in the towel and declare "This is impossible!" and walk away. Though every fiber of their being is screaming at them to do so.

Where do I Even START?!

Strategy and execution always start with a single step. Act and document. Then do it again. Next, you have a few meetings and gain some buy-in, and you document some more. There will always be help along the way, particularly when you ask for it.

The money, man-power, and resources are always available. You just have to be willing to look. For example: I just discovered in an hour that there are 6.2 billion dollars in funding available for revitalization of my small, rural American home-town, and as luck would have it, I'm smack-dab in the middle of revitalizing my small rural American home-town.

People and Agencies WANT to Help!

I've also enlisted the help of Fresno State's School of Social Sciences, the California Conservation Corp., the Rotary Club in our area, Sierra Unified School District, the USDA, and the National Forest Service to help us apply for and receive grants. Some of them are even downright eager to help!

I suppose my point is this: it's easy to say that accomplishing great things is too difficult. Great things take time and energy to accomplish, and sometimes you will fail, but nothing is impossible (except for traveling at the speed of light - so far as we know now).

You have to be willing to further your organization's mission, and to serve the populations you've promised to serve, or you become part of the problem. Besides, how do you know federal, state, and local agencies are tough to coordinate? My team and I have had pretty great outcomes so far and, not only has it been fairly easy, it's been a delight to work with people as passionate about affecting positive change in the world as we are.

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