There is a whole world out there where only the few jump in, that is grants. Like jumping in the pool on a summer day, once you are in it is great. So too is becoming part of the grant world. It is such a huge undertaking that many are too overwhelmed to even try. But trust me, it is worth the challenge.
There are many types of grants; federal, state, local, regional, private foundations, corporations, police, fire, EMS, and the list continues. Get started by brainstorming with your colleagues. What do you need? What community foundations in your area have funding? What businesses or large corporations have foundations? Like the Gates Family Foundation for example. Reach out to your local nonprofits, they are a tight-knit community and if you tell them your needs, they may know of money in the pipeline that could come your way.
Once you have a list, use the library at your fingertips to research, Google it! Search for company name + grants + foundation + public safety + 9-1-1 or any combination of these terms and start reading. Once you find a successful grant award, read the application and award documents. You will learn a lot from reading success stories.
I have experienced the apprehension of starting the process. In 2019 I was able to obtain a federal grant, administered by the state for 9-1-1. It was a reimbursable grant, meaning we had to pay for the project upfront and then get reimbursed. Making sure the administration was fully on board with this project was essential to the process. We were able to replace six phone positions with new, next-generation 9-1-1 capabilities in 2020. There was quarterly reporting and details of how the project was progressing that had to be submitted. Not a big deal as long as you devote the time and a few other resources to help stay on track.
There is money to help your communication center in a variety of ways. You just need to take the plunge and find it. The rest of your team will jump in with you to enjoy the rewards.