Thoma Newsletters

Sometimes "Just Say No"

Since its inception, Thoma Development Consultants has prepared grant applications for its customers. This service is the basis for almost all of the work we do as a company. We get paid by our customers to write grants. If grants are awarded to a customer, Thoma sometimes receives a substantial fee for writing a successful grant application. In addition to the fees that we earn from grant writing, we also earn fees from managing grants that we have previously written. Thus, one may assume that Thoma must always encourage their customers to submit as many grant applications as possible. That would be an incorrect assumption. At times, the best advice to a customer is not to submit a grant application. Every grant application is not suitable for every customer or every project. Grant applications cost our customers time and money. If a potential project is not that important to a community and its residents, then the cost is too high. If the project does not fit the funding criteria, or if the funds will not solve the problem, the effort is wasted. Sometimes a project is not far enough along in the planning stages to consider an application.

Over the years, we have witnessed wasted efforts by municipalities seeking grant funds. It serves no purpose to submit an application with little or no chance of funding. Our recommendation to our customers is to select a small number of priority projects on which to focus grant applications. Utilizing this philosophy, the scarce local resources will not be wasted in futile attempts for grant dollars. At times it is difficult for municipalities to forego an application for non-local funds when their neighboring communities are receiving awards. However, as noted above, grant submissions without hopes of funding are not beneficial. Sometimes an additional year of planning makes for a stronger and more competitive application.

Since we at Thoma work closely with and have years of experience with a number of funding sources, we can offer an opinion as to whether an application is likely to be funded. Even though it may seem against the nature of our work, there are times when we may recommend to our customers not to submit an application because, after all, our real responsibility to our customers is not just to write grants, but to give them advice they can trust.

If you would like an honest opinion regarding the potential for a specific grant application, please do not hesitate to contact us.