Kindle partners with industry and employers to spark grant funding

Five adults working together around a table with laptops and papers

Budget cuts and limited funding are becoming the norm for so many institutions. Consequently, seeking grant funding is more important than ever in order for institutions to continue with their mission and serve their stakeholders. To win a grant, applicants must be very creative in their approach and show that an award for their application will prove most beneficial to the grantor. Proposing a project where partnerships are an integral approach for a project is a key strategy for getting a grant awarded. So how do you build partnerships for your grant?

  1. Start early – don’t wait until the last minute to bring in partners. You need at least one and half to two months to bring partners on board. Of course, if you have more time, all the better.
  2. Have a simple and clear project abstract that will show your partners why their mission will benefit from the proposed project and the grant’s mission. No contribution from a partner is too small. Accept any support, even if it is just a letter stating how important your proposed grant project’s mission is. Bring the abstract with you everywhere you go; you never know when you might meet a new prospective partner. Include a link on your social media pages to advertise your desire to find relevant partners, with something like: “Join our winning team. Grant partners wanted. ” 
  3. Write a press release and announce your project’s application.
  4. Prepare templates for letters of support or memorandums of understanding and have them ready before your meeting – many partners are busy and need this extra help.
  5. Ask strong partners to introduce you to other partners. Relationships are everything! Utilize partners you work well with to help form new affiliations. For example, an economic development group may be able to introduce you to a business partner that you aren’t familiar with.
  6. Include as many industries as possible, as long as they can play a role in the grant: schools, civic groups, businesses, government agencies, chambers of commerce, non-profit groups, media groups (free media coverage), faith based groups, parent groups, youth groups, local workforce groups, etc. Broadening your partner network will help with your leveraged resources as well. For example, if your grant calls for helping folks get jobs, you may have non-profit groups that can provide services as well; your local workforce board may have funds for training; and your area civic groups may have scholarship funds. These could all be considered leveraged resources. You will be surprised how quickly this adds up and your grantor may favor your application if you have strong leveraged resources. Be creative and do not limit yourself. The more grant partners supporting a project the better.
  7. Make certain you meet with your partners, engage them (and document) how they can help the grant succeed, even if it is just in marketing or recruitment. Be enthusiastic and talk about the great deliverables you and your partners will share. Everyone wants to be on a winning team. 


When you win the grant funding, celebrate with your partners – it’s all about the teamwork. The new and improved relationships you developed will improve your application for future grant funds. Good luck and have fun!

About the Author
Margie Burnham

Margie Burnham

Margie Burnham is the Assistant Dean of STEM Programs and Academic Affairs at Pasco-Hernando State College. Prior to her current position, Margie was the Project Manager for the Florida TRADE Grant in which PHSC was one of 12 Florida State Colleges in a college consortium that provided pathways to careers in advanced manufacturing. Margie has worked in higher education administration for over 15 years, with many of those years involving grant application and management. Her tenure in higher education includes directing the opening of the largest campus for the City University of New York; an administrator for 13 Health Science programs at Hillsborough Community College and most recently she was recognized with the STEM Manufacturing Education Award by The Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence for her outreach and recruitment for the Department of Labor TRADE Grant. Margie holds her Master of Public Administration and is a member of Pi Alpha Alpha.