May is a month of growth. Trees leaf out more fully and flowers bloom. The temperature rises without being sweltering. We slip the cold bonds of winter and the chaotic weather of early spring, and we breathe deeply of air redolent with the fragrance of blossoms and freshly mown grass. I do, at least until my allergies cause my sinuses to shut tighter than a 100-words-or-less organizational description. As spring’s warmth sets in, we may clean out some of the clutter we accumulated during the long winter. Yes, May is a good month for decluttering our living spaces, and it’s a good month to declutter our writing. By paring down our writing to its essentials, we can be much more effective as grant writers. We can actually grow by shrinking. And not only can we reduce the physical space our writing occupies, but we can also reduce the effort needed to read it and understand it.

U.S. Department of Justice – Community Oriented Policing Services Attention law enforcement agencies! The Department of Justice (DOJ) – Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office has several funding opportunities currently available and multiple programs that will open soon. COPS funds a variety of grant programs that advance community policing through hiring personnel; developing and testing policing strategies; and training community members, leaders, and law enforcement officers. Included below are brief breakdowns of the open COPS solicitations, which support officer mental health and wellness and investigating the unlawful distribution of opioids and methamphetamines. In next week’s Funding Friday blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the upcoming COPS opportunities.

As pointed out in the Value Your Volunteers blog, it is important for grant professionals to properly communicate the value of volunteers, both programmatically and monetarily. Grant professionals should also be aware of ways they personally can volunteer their time outside of where they work. In addition to volunteering for organizations like food banks, youth development centers, and animal shelters, grant professionals can give back to their profession by volunteering their time.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Attention community mental health centers! Does your organization serve individuals with serious emotional disturbance (SED), serious mental illness (SMI), and/or co-occurring disorder (COD) of SMI or SED and substance use disorders? And were your clients, staff, and services impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? SAMHSA is now accepting applications for its 2021 Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) grant program. During the pandemic, the needs of many individuals with behavioral health conditions – including minority populations and economically disadvantaged communities – have not been effectively met. The CMHC program aims to support CMHC staff and other caregivers and to restore the delivery of clinical services impacted by the pandemic. Proposals for this program are due May 21, 2021, with an anticipated project start date of September 30, 2021.

In our April blog series, we are focusing on “Helping Hands.” Last week, we explained how to track volunteer time and efforts and how to include these figures in grant budgets (click to read the blog). Volunteers can add significant value to your project budgets and your agency’s bottom line, but did you know they can also leverage additional grant dollars for your organization? Let’s explore some of the strategies you can use to successfully in pursue volunteer grants.

United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service Does your organization provide education or health care services in rural areas? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting proposals for its 2021 Distance Learning & Telemedicine (DLT) grants program. The goal of the DLT program is to enable and improve rural access to education, training, and health care through modern telecommunications technology. This 27-year-old program has helped to establish hundreds of distance learning and telemedicine systems in rural areas throughout the United States. Proposals for this year’s solicitation are due June 4, 2021.

If your organization or program works with volunteers, you know firsthand that these individuals are often invaluable assets in delivering your mission. While volunteer management professionals know how to communicate the intrinsic value of these services to the community and the volunteers who provide them, we have to ask ourselves…. are we as grant professionals properly communicating their monetary value to current and potential grant funders? As we continue to celebrate National Volunteer Month, let’s explore ways to express the value of volunteer contributions. This will help you to present accurate and comprehensive grant budgets that fully express the extent of your organization’s in-kind commitment.