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Tips for Writing Successful RTP Applications

  1. Read the application carefully. Provide answers to everything. Include letters of recommendation for your organization and letters of support for the project from government and elected officials. Consider a cover letter. Include anything that lends credibility to you or the project.
  2. Talk directly with the RTP administrator. They can help you discover solutions you had not considered. For example, RTP funding does not typically cover design work. However, trail design is unique and not equal to architectural designs or road designs. Therefore, it is possible it could be funded.
  3. Besides directly applying for funds for trail projects you initiate, consider partnering with other non-profit organizations or land managers associated with your trail project. Assisting land managers in developing RTP applications can double the funding a project receives.
  4. Become or partner with a 501(c)3. Non-profit organizations get preferential status during the awards selection process. This is an advantage for bike club or a "Friends of..." a particular park type organizations.
  5. Choose your words wisely. Carefully word your applications to try to maximize what you intend to do.
  6. Take a grant writing workshop. You don't need to be a professional grant writer to apply for RTP funding. You just need to submit a clear, concise, and sound proposal by your state's application deadline. If you would like to learn more about applying for grants, many communities host grant workshops through local colleges and universities, chambers of commerce and small business administrations. IMBA clubs that have received the most RTP funding dedicate one member as the club grant writer. There are lots of helpful hints online.
  7. Track your volunteer hours. If your group does volunteer hours in several parks, make sure you keep good records of the who, what, where and how many hours logged. This becomes evidence of the matching hours you will need for reimbursement.
  8. Apply for more than one project. If you have several different pending trail projects, consider wording applications in a way that allows you to apply funds to more than one project. Projects can be delayed for any number of reasons. It helps to have a back-up plan. For example, your project title could be something like: "Trail Construction or Maintenance in (pick a state, or park)."
  9. Be prepared for your project going to bid. Many activities require a three-bid process. However, there are exceptions when no other sources are available which meet your needs. With respect to professional trail building crews, there are relatively few with the knowledge and expertise that specifically ensures that bike issues are addressed. If you want your project to be bike friendly, find the appropriate language to say so in your application.
  10. Read the fine print. Once you receive an award notification, and before you sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the RTP administrator, take a closer look at the MOU wording. Get an electronic copy that you can edit. Where appropriate, suggest changes that fit your particular circumstances. For instance, maybe your group simply does not have the cash on hand to start a project. Develop wording that allows you to submit either estimates or vendor invoices to meet reimbursement requirements.
  11. Make Sure You Comply with NEPA. Do not be intimidated by some of the land review requirements as these responsibilities rest with landowners. However, make sure land managers are aware of the required NEPA reviews and talk about them. In some instances, land managers may have their own review processes that satisfy NEPA requirements
  12. Continue to Database of RTP Funded Projects by State (Outside Link)

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