<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://analytics.twitter.com/i/adsct?txn_id=nzjkn&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0"> <img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="//t.co/i/adsct?txn_id=nzjkn&amp;p_id=Twitter&amp;tw_sale_amount=0&amp;tw_order_quantity=0">
Polco News & Knowledge

How A Health Non-Profit Leverages Polco Data To Secure Critical Grants

data to secure grants

Thrive Allen County writes over 60 grants per year. The non-profit turned to Polco to save time on data collection and write stronger applications.

The majority of Allen County, Kansas, is rural. One quiet town is home to just 17 people. Communities like this are at a disadvantage when it comes to winning federal grants because they lack the time, staff, and resources to apply. This means communities that need extra dollars most miss out on funding. 

Luckily, non-profit Thrive Allen County works to transform the health landscape of Kansas’s small towns and offers grant support. 

“We do most of the grant writing for our local governments because they don’t have their own grant writers,” said Jessica Thompson, the grant writer for Thrive.

But Thompson applies for nearly 70 grants every year. Each application takes hours to write, including the tedious time spent collecting data and resident input to strengthen the application. 

Thompson needed a more efficient approach to grant research. Thrive turned to Polco to streamline the data collection process and connect with more residents in less time. 

Using Polco for Faster Public Data Collection

Track by Polco gives organizations immediate access to dozens of useful public data points, all curated on easy-to-read dashboards. The data points are hand-selected by Polco data scientists who have worked in local government for over 30 years and know what indicators more accurately demonstrate a community’s quality of life. 

The data comes in handy because Thompson says she uses data heavily to defend the need for funding in grant applications. 

For example, Thompson is working on a $20 million Environmental Protection Agency grant to fund climate resilience projects and green initiatives. 

“I’m using the Track dashboards for that because the grant application had a lot of questions about environmental and climate justice issues and the impact on disadvantaged communities,” Thompson said. 

Instead of searching the websites of various federal agencies for this information, she can find all the data she needs in one place on Track.

See an example of the Track dashboards.

Thompson also uses data from Track to apply for a $500,000 Kansas Office of Broadband grant. With the funds, the County can distribute free laptops and tablets to residents who can not afford the devices. 

Track dashboards show how many residents in their community are in poverty, have a disability, are over 65, how many students are on free or reduced lunches, and much more. 

Data like this helps Thompson craft a strong narrative that is more likely to win the grant with much less effort. 

“I don’t have to spend hours and hours searching for things like SNAP beneficiaries anymore,” Thompson said. “I’ve saved time because the data is at my fingertips.” 

Collecting Resident Input Through Surveys 

Along with data collection, Polco also streamlines resident engagement. 

Thrive holds regular in-person community conversations, which help set its goals and strategies. However, Thrive doesn’t have the capacity to visit each community every month, and Thompson is worried that they are missing out on important input. 

“We base our decisions off of whoever we hear back from, so it’s important we provide a wide range of communication,” Thompson said. “Unfortunately, if we’re only hearing from four or five people. That heavily influences our decision-making.” 

To solve this problem, Thrive plans to use Polco’s surveys and polls to hear from those residents who can’t join in person. 

“It’s a way to engage the individuals who can’t attend those meetings to gather input from them as well,” Thompson said. “We want to hear from people who live two hours away from the closest community conversation and still be able to get that input.” 

This data can further support grant applications and funding allocation. It also helps Thrive better understand the community’s priorities, get a baseline knowledge of community sentiment, and measure the success of their programs. 

“We can come back to residents before and after the grant and see if they have increased knowledge of services,” Thompson explained.

Thompson is hopeful that Polco’s data and engagement tools will help Thrive access more resident feedback, win more grants than ever before, demonstrate the impact of the funds, and give Allen County residents the health services they need most. 

“My work is a lot easier when I have the data to back it up,” she says. 

Win More Grants With Data

Local governments of all sizes can use data to increase their likelihood of winning competitive grants. Polco’s surveys, polls, simulations, and data dashboards give governments access to resident sentiment and public information specific to each city, town, and County. Learn more about how Polco can help you strengthen your grant applications so you can get the funding you need for your community’s most important initiatives. 

Request information

Related Articles


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

featured report

Featured Report

Download your copy of "Make Informed Decisions with Confidence: Solving The Community Engagement Puzzle" today!