Finding Funding Isn’t as Simple as Point and Click

February 20, 2020

The sheer volume of Volkswagen Settlement funding, combined with myriad other state and federal incentives, makes it a challenge to not only find the best funding opportunities but assess the competitiveness of your project.

As a new calendar year begins, so too does a new slate of funding opportunities. The $2.925 billion Environmental Mitigation Trust, created by the Volkswagen Settlements, continues to buttress other state and federal funding opportunities. Indeed, 2019 saw $200 million in confirmed awards funded by the Volkswagen Settlement, allowing fleets across the US to deploy approximately 3,000 vehicles and pieces of equipment. This only represents 7% of the total potential slate of Volkswagen Settlement-funded projects though.

The start of 2020 has been a busy one to be sure. Major funding programs have recently opened or will open soon in grant-rich states like California, Texas, Florida, and New York. With all the near-term opportunities on the horizon, how can a fleet navigate hundreds of grant opportunities to identify which is the best fit?

With all the near-term opportunities on the horizon, how can a fleet navigate hundreds of grants to identify which is the best fit?

While other “funding finder” resources rely on you to point and click through countless incentives, GNA’s Funding 360 Program is a targeted, efficient, comprehensive and proven market-intelligence solution to help you pursue—and secure—the funds you need to achieve your operational goals.

Funding 360 provides strategic forward-looking market-intelligence to those that want to win. By regularly surveying state and federal agencies throughout the United States and Canada, we generate a forward view of the funding horizon that we refer to as “curvature of the Earth.” When combined with the knowledge about our client’s project priorities – both from a technology and a geographic perspective – our experts provide targeted and efficient updates about these future funding opportunities.

This allows for project development efforts to take place in more deliberate and timely fashion, thus allowing our clients to stay ahead of the curve. Our forward-looking approach also creates opportunities to consider co-funding and other project financing needs in a more calculated and competitive manner, thus further enhancing the likely success of a grant funding application.

Success Begets Success

GNA has written and submitted nearly 500 funding applications with a 90% record of success, leading to awards in excess of $650 million. GNA is proud to hold the most significant track record of success in the industry, stemming from a simple reason: a tried and true process to track, evaluate, and secure the right funding programs to meet our client needs. GNA leverages our history and understands what makes for a good application, and we will tell you when you should not apply, saving you time and money. We work with your team to understand the specific needs and goals of your organization and develop the best strategies to execute them.

GNA has written and submitted nearly 500 funding applications with a 90% record of success, leading to awards in excess of $650 million.

The dedicated team of project developers, technical specialists, and marketing experts is key, as is the historical knowledge and understanding of what wins. During the application process, this collected intelligence, combined with our understanding of past winners and successes, allows us to develop compelling narratives that sell the project by leveraging our knowledge of technical requirements, policy trends, and market demand. Unlike others, our grant writing efforts are not done in a silo, but instead with an integrated team of project development, technical, and marketing specialists.

Grant applications can be complicated and difficult to understand. Going it alone can open you up to unforeseen pitfalls such as discovering the opportunity isn’t a good fit too late in the game. With a proven track record, GNA’s Funding 360 experts understand the funding agencies and programmatic priorities therein, positioning us to only pursue funding from grants we know you can win.

Keep Focus on What Matters Most…Your Business

GNA’s Funding 360 clients no longer concern themselves with shuffling through online tools or other databases to try to figure out which programs may be a great fit for them. Rather, this time-intensive task is put in the hands of the experienced experts at GNA, thereby allowing your team to maintain its focus on the business at hand.

GNA possesses unmatched market knowledge and maintains up-to-date information on over 500 individual incentive programs at the various levels of government. Established contacts with officials at energy, public health, environmental, and transportation agencies allow us to best develop in-depth knowledge of the programs, which will help assess how competitive a project will be in advance of application. Funding 360’s advanced intelligence allows clients to get ahead of the best opportunities, well before competitors have even heard of them.

GNA possesses unmatched market knowledge and maintains up-to-date information on over 500 individual incentive programs at the various levels of government.

GNA’s industry knowledge and relationships ultimately creates efficiencies for our customers, as they have more immediate access to critical intelligence and strategic guidance. To ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and that all co-funding opportunities are fully explored, GNA tracks hundreds of unique fields specific to each and every funding program in order to best understand the timing, financial, and emission reduction benefits. Further, we remain in contact with all key stakeholders throughout the dynamic process of developing a project. Unlike a funding website or web crawler, which puts the onus on the applicant to do all the heavy lifting, GNA streamlines the process and keeps your focus on what matters most – your business.

By the Time Funding Opens, You are Already Too Late

The announcement of new funding entices and excites. Unfortunately, if the first time you hear about a funding program is when a solicitation has opened, then you are likely too late. Developing a new advanced technology / alternative fuel project takes time, much longer than the 30 or so days most funding programs provide to apply. Companies should not be slamming together a new deployment project in response to a new funding RFP, while at the same time trying to develop and write a competitive application. Nobody likes the “rush job” that then results in the final days (and nights) before the application must be submitted, never mind the task or implementing a project that was developed on an accelerated timeline in order to win a grant, rather than to be operationally successful.

Unfortunately, if the first time you hear about a funding program is when a solicitation has opened, then you are likely too late.

Projects that have the greatest chance of long-term success need to be more carefully planned in a strategic manner, with the right team members all having a chance to weigh in and contribute.  Project implementation plans that have been well thought-through and carefully designed will also yield the most competitive funding applications. Simply put, to have the best chance of grant success, an applicant’s needs to know about the funding program before the information becomes public.

The Devil is – and is Not – in the Details

Many sources of funding intelligence paint an incomplete and sometimes distorted picture of what it takes to win and execute an award. The world of incentives is dynamic and ever-charging – to stay on top of the information, you need a dynamic team capable of uncovering accurate intelligence. Specific provisions are buried deep within the solicitation and can be easy to miss without the right experience. For instance, did you know that, if your fleet has equipment newer than engine model year 2012, that you are ineligible for Volkswagen funding, regardless of state? What about the expected timeline from grant application to award, to contract execution, and ultimately to contract sunset: how does this all affect your purchasing timeline?

The world of incentives is ever-charging – to stay on top of the information, you need a dynamic team capable of uncovering accurate intelligence.

Beyond what may be buried deep within an RFP, it is also critical to understand what is often not in a grant soliciting document. Perhaps most importantly, it is often critical to understand what other grant funds are available to match against this program, and which programs cannot be matched? Other factors influencing eligibility may be the status of a fleet CARB Truck & Bus rule compliance, or other such compliance requirements.  And above all, what will the competitive landscape likely look like and what will be the critical elements required for a successful application to be awarded the funding?

Understanding the detailed level of reporting and thoughtful follow-through required to track the impacts, successes, and potential challenges of every project is core to fully appreciating the investment required to secure grant funding. Funding 360 can help you look before you leap, understanding the grant award implications in their entirety at the beginning of the process, allowing you to focus on your award and get back to your operations.

Funding 360 helps you look before you leap, allowing you to focus on your award and get back to your operations.

Though many entities would like to think of grant funds as “free money”, there are almost always complicated reporting requirements that accompany receipt of public agency grant funding. These reports may be required on an annual, quarterly, or even a monthly basis. They are often required for several years, and almost always request detailed vehicle fuel use, mileage data, and/or station throughput data.

These reporting requirements, though clearly identified in most funding solicitations, often don’t find their way into early stage discussions about securing grant funds. Thus, they become “hidden costs” to fleets and suppliers who are busy enough with their normal workloads. Adding administrative reporting requirements to their already long list of responsibilities can be challenging.

Finding the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow

The near-term funding horizon is brighter than ever. The challenge is no longer where to find the funds, but how to secure the right funds, which begs the question— who can help evaluate which opportunity is the best for you?

The near-term funding horizon is brighter than ever. The challenge is no longer where to find the funds, but how to secure the right funds.

To navigate these opportunity-rich waters, GNA’s Funding 360 Team has its fingers on the funding pulse. Our relationships with leading agencies in each and every state provide us with the intelligence needed to help fleet managers, technology providers, and fuel suppliers identify and secure the best incentives for their projects. We have made some of these funding resources available on ACT News, including the new VW Funding Project Competitiveness Calculator, which evaluates a project’s eligibility for VW funding.

From identifying and getting ahead of the opportunities that are right for you, to creating a competitive application and helping you understand the reporting requirements involved after you secure funding, GNA’s Funding 360 Team is here to help you apply for—and win—funding today.