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Extramural Funding for Extension

screen shot of the grant funding video

This is funding brought in by Extension professionals from within or outside of the institution. Extramural funding may come from a variety of sources including industry, private & public donors, commodity groups, federal, state, and non- governmental agencies and others.

What are extramural funding Opportunities?

This is funding brought in by Extension professionals from within or outside of the institution. Extramural funding may come from a variety of sources including industry, private & public donors, commodity groups, federal, state, and non- governmental agencies and others.

Why is funding so important in Extension?

The outreach, education and research activities expected of Extension professionals requires funds to accommodate research and many educational expenses which can range from renting meeting venues, printing material, producing videos, buying research supplies, paying for research assistance or attending conferences. These expenses are usually beyond and above local allocations from the university or local governments that support Extension work.

How do you develop funding sources?

There are many ways to think about developing and obtaining funds to support your Extension work, however, all of them rely on developing and building relationships and this takes time. Here are things to consider:

  • Start with Clientele Needs. The number of funding opportunities can seem overwhelming. Be efficient with your time and energy by narrowing your focus based on your stakeholder needs assessment. Think of the big picture of your whole program, and how individual projects and grants promote your program.
  • Talk to Peers and Mentors. Ask others in and beyond your state who work with similar clientele and how they fund their research and Extension activities. Learn the advantages and drawbacks of different sources of funding, in terms of timeframes of funding, allowed expenses, chances for success and requirements for
  • Build Rapport. Get to know the key stakeholders in your field before you go looking for money. Figure out common problems that you and these agency or granting entity are trying to solve. These stakeholders may be direct sources of funding, may partner on projects, or may know other sources of funding. Learn the limitations of different funding sources and understand how this fits into your whole program. For example, will a funder support travel (National or international if needed) to share research results? What equipment purchases are allowed? etc.
  • Start Small. Early in your career, while you are still establishing your credibility and competency, you’ll likely need to partner with more senior faculty and develop smaller projects with narrower, short-term goals. Collaboration with an established Extension professional can allow the development of a relationship with a granting agency, therefore, consider beginning small and build your competence and reputation in your field.
  • Writing Proposals. Governmental agencies and NGOs often call for a pre-proposal and invite back a smaller group of applicants to accept a full proposal. Commodity groups often skip the pre-proposal step and ask for full proposals. Find out timelines before proposals are announced. Ask colleagues to share copies of successful grants they have written to the same funder in the
  • Write with Precision. Proposals need to go beyond a generic approach. Look into the grant review process. Will your grant be reviewed by administrators, academics or practitioners in the field? Adjust your language accordingly, but always offer very specific language demonstrating detailed background knowledge of what you are proposing to do, and how the anticipated project outcomes will further the goals and objectives of the granting
  • Establish Credibility and Competency. Do good work producing high-quality results. Keep funders involved throughout the course of the grant by inviting them to meetings or field days, sharing educational materials created and acknowledging their contribution whenever possible. Take pictures and collect testimonials to be sure you are documenting your impact correctly, in addition to using hard numbers. Show how you have attained, or better exceeded, the goals and objectives of the project e.g. through scholarship and impacts.
  • Granting Resources:
    • Grants.gov has a searchable database (http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html) but also note, at the bottom of the screen, that you can set up a “Subscription” tailored to your interest.
    • GrantForward.com is an excellent resource for finding funding opportunities and includes federal, state, foundation, and “other.” Find if your institution subscribes to the site and then you can use your “.edu” email to subscribe for free.
    • Foundations have countless options available but contact them directly to discuss your ideas.
    • An up-and-coming newer option is Crowdfunding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdfunding). Read more about crowdfunding for academic institutions here

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