Our last two posts on the Public Sector View looked at how rural areas can utilize video teleconferencing (VTC) solutions to overcome some large challenges, such as weakening economies, and achieve some major goals like offering a quality education to students on tight budgets and giving citizens access to quality healthcare services. We also looked at two different grant programs that the federal government is currently running designed to help state and municipal governments and organizations in rural areas purchase VTC solutions.

Unfortunately, even with programs available for them like the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training Grants Program (TAACCCT) and the Rural Utilities Service’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Loan and Grant Program (RUS DLT), some organizations remain hesitant to apply for grants.

This is especially true in rural areas where there are smaller hospitals, colleges and K-12 schools that could benefit from VTC solutions, but struggle to purchase them. Unlike large hospitals, colleges and universities, these organizations don’t have their own dedicated grant writers whose sole job is to establish a strategy, identify programs and write applications for grants. Without these specialized staff members, smaller organizations get nervous about the process of applying, and the potential for audits.

For small organizations that are nervous about applying for grants, such as the TAACCCT and the RUS DLT, it’s essential to seek out help, and be strategic.

Many smaller organizations in rural areas are unaware that grant help is available, but it is. Some vendors have specialized grant teams, such as the Polycom Grants Assistance Program, that can come in, offer a writer and help the organization get a grant.

These writers take time to develop a relationship with the organization, get to understand their specific pain points and challenges, and work to identify their needs. They then use the knowledge of the organization and their experience in the industry to help the organization apply for grant programs.

These grant teams can also help organizations establish a grant strategy.

Many smaller organizations have to spend this fiscal year’s funds by the end of the year. This leads to random spending without a plan or strategy. Grant teams can help them think about their purchases and weave them into the scope of upcoming grant programs. They can even identify opportunities where spending could serve as a match to get a grant that can double their money.

By working with a grant team, small organizations can overcome their concerns and apprehensions about applying for grant programs. They can also receive the guidance, strategic thinking and knowledge they need to be sure money isn’t being left on the table and the best equipment, that suits the organization’s needs, is acquired.