Tips for Tapping into Grants
Every social service agency struggles with funding, and when applying for grants, it may not always be clear where an Electronic Health Record (EHR) like AWARDS fits in. With creativity and perseverance, you can incorporate an EHR request into more grants than you might think. Whether you’re looking for initial seed money or more support for your agency’s existing initiative, here are some tips shared by agencies in the Foothold community who have been successful in funding their implementation of AWARDS.
Diversify Your Funding Sources
While certain grants exist to fund technology initiatives, funding for your EHR can come from many other sources. In your research into websites such as guidestar.org and foundationcenter.org, focus on funders that have supported your type of service in the past. Often, funders like to extend their reach by rotating their grantees and/or areas of focus, so you can search organizations that are similar to yours (in mission, population, or even geographical location) and see which foundations have supported them. If you already receive support for your agency’s program(s) or administrations, it’s worth asking for a little more to help pay for your EHR. It’s sometimes easier to incorporate the need for an EHR when a foundation is already interested in what you do, and even better when you can demonstrate your agency’s potential by using the EHR.
Approach from Every Angle
Different funders list different priorities: some grants focus on improving agency administration, while others intend to drive clinical outcomes. Foothold clients have presented AWARDS as a tool to do both and more. Here’s what they’ve said:
- AWARDS Improves Program Outcomes: Metrics are crucial to demonstrating the success of an agency. An EHR can track and report on client demographics and data related to services provided over time, and help identify gaps in service or target populations, as well as other areas for quality improvement.
- AWARDS Supports Administration: Management reports that normally take hours can be produced in a matter of minutes. Features like our Audit Trail hold staff accountable for their daily interaction with clients, while Messages and Alerts promote timely records. With a real-time relational database, mistakes are far less likely to occur. Additionally, executive staff can get a birds-eye view of the agency’s activity anytime — with just a few mouse clicks.
Present the Big Picture
When your documentation is organized and centralized, you can track services more accurately, report more quickly, and free up staff to provide more services. All these benefits work to boost your agency’s chances for success. National foundations such as the UPS Foundation, the Verizon Foundation, and the Commonwealth Fund are just a few examples of grantors that have funded AWARDS under general categories like “nonprofit effectiveness.”
“We were just awarded a federal grant for project expansion from SAMHSA at $500,000/year for five years. The grading we received was “outstanding” in the category of Health Record Management System, which, of course, is due to us using AWARDS.” -Kay Velardo, Agency Administrator, Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada