AED Grant Writing Guidance

It’s not easy writing an effective grant. A number of factors come into play, but few are as important as crafting a strong narrative that includes proper details and story-telling elements while staying focused.

Our AED grant support content has been designed to:

  1. Help AED grant writers grasp the key elements of writing a general grant narrative
  2. Provide resources to help with research, data integration, and general writing support
  3. Support and encourage less experienced writers through the items above and our quick list of specific writing tips.

The following outline will help you easily navigate to important sections of the content:

Grant Sections, Samples, and Outline

As a group, public and private sector funders accept numerous grant application narrative formats. But as individual grant makers, they each accept a preferred format. Rather than outline a specific format that might not be the one required by the grant maker you are approaching for funds, this toolkit will go over the main components of a well-written proposal narrative:

  1. A detailed description of the proposed project, including the project’s budget detail.
  2. A description of the cost-benefit for the proposed grant award.

We’ll dive deeper by starting with the detailed project description.

Detailed Description of Your Proposed Project and Budget

There are a few major questions that must be answered/thought about when crafting your detailed description. Those include:

  • What are the service issues?
  • What are the funding problems?
  • What numbers and statistics illustrate the problem to be addressed?

We walk through each of these below. Important points are highlighted and examples provided.

Note: The problem description sets the stage for the solution description. These should be based on a risk assessment. Do not start writing about the solution until you have fully presented the problem by answering all of the questions in the three bullets above!

How to discuss AED Service Issues

Let’s get started with tackling the three important parts of a detailed project description by covering questions the narrative must answer relating to service issues:

  1. Who is your target population (fragile, elderly, community-at-large, etc.) that you cannot serve efficiently and effectively now because of the shortage or absence of AEDs?
  2. What are the demographics of your target population (age ranges, total population for each age range, gender, ethnicity, limited English-speaking, hearing impaired, visually impaired, and homebound, etc.)?
  3. What barriers (service issues) have you encountered in trying to serve your target population?
  4. How many times in the past year—and for the three previous years—have there been cardiac arrests in public access domains where a bystander had to administer CPR manually while waiting for your local EMS unit to arrive? What were the risks to the persons administering and receiving CPR?

Example “Service Issue” Section:

The target population for this grant proposal is the 22,563 public school children in 47 schools, 1,458 teachers, and 497 support staff of the Moore County, Georgia (Moore County Intermediate School District (2009) Moore County Educational Directory 2009-10). Middle school children comprise 19.6 % (4,469) of enrollment; 35.5% (8,087) of students are in high school. Approximately, 7.8% (1775) of students require special education services. The nine middle schools and the nine high schools each have an average of 4 sports teams with cheerleader squads. There are an average of four school-sponsored or school-approved events (including athletics) per school on site each week. There are also school-sponsored athletic events on sites other than a school facility.

A recent Harvard study (March, 2010) showed that about 2% of students have heart problems, usually undetected. Extrapolated, that means as many as 452 of the students could have a potentially life-threatening heart conditions. In addition, it has been shown that athletics increase the likelihood of cardiac events. It is imperative to have AED equipment available and trained personal to operate it.

Three years ago, there were 3 life-threatening incidents at athletic events. In the last year, there were two cardiac events at games. Fortunately, each time, the Sheriff’s department arrived before the EMS personnel with the basic tools to sustain the life of the victims. However, this year, because of the extreme County budget cuts, officers are much less likely to be available. It is imperative that each school have at least one AED and at least one staff member who is trained to use it.

How to discuss AED Funding Problems

Next, look at important questions the narrative must answer related to funding problems:

  1. Why can’t you use internal funds to purchase AEDs?
  2. What is happening with your budget (cuts, layoffs, etc.) because of the local, regional, state, and national economies?
  3. If you now have AEDs, how old are they and are they in need of replacement? What is the total cost to replace the equipment and how is this cost a barrier to purchasing new equipment?
  4. If you are purchasing critically needed equipment for the first time, why don’t you already have it? What type of equipment is needed (detailed listing) and what is the cost per unit? Also include the total cost for all needed equipment.

Example “Funding Problems” Section

For the past five years, the County experienced one budget cut after another. As a result, the City Parks and Recreation Department offices are now only open four days per week instead of five days. Three park maintenance staff positions were eliminated and overtime for all park employees has been eliminated.

Most recently, the County started requiring all of its employees to contribute to the cost of their health care coverage. Vehicles for the City Parks and Recreation Department are over 7 years old and their heavy use means that several are constantly in maintenance. Budget line items for equipment have long been eliminated from the Department’s budget. This means there are no internal funds to
purchase any of the critically needed equipment, including AEDs.

To cover 3 county parks, 5 picnic grounds, and the county fairgrounds (which contain several buildings for community use) there is only one ten-year-old AED that is outdated and often malfunctions (sparking or failing to turn on). Cuts in the Sheriff’s department mean that officers can no longer be relied on to appear as first responders. It is essential that the Department equip its own 6 vehicles with one AED each. The cost for each one is $1,600. We need 6 at a total cost of $9,600. Sadly, the County Commissioners won’t even allow the Parks and Recreation Manager to plead her case before the Finance Committee because of all of the lingering and crippling budget deficit issues.

How to find and incorporate statistics into your AED Grant Narrative

Finally, in this section we look at how to find and incorporate important statistics for your narrative. Most target population demographics can be found on the Internet. You may also need to contact local agencies for some statistics.

Note: Since Web site addresses change frequently, it’s best to Google these sites for the most current Web link.

  • National and Regional Demographics
  • American Fact Finder: Social, economic, and housing characteristics for states, cities, counties, congressional districts, and more compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. A Social Characteristic Profile includes estimated populations of various ethnic groups.
  • State and Local Demographics
  • County and City Data Books: Demographic, social, and economic data for states, counties, and cities in the United States.
  • Census of Agriculture: Race, ethnicity, and gender profiles for states and counties.
  • County Health Department: Vital statistics for causes of death, incidences of heart disease, and general population demographics related to health statuses.

Example: Integrating statistics

Here’s a sample paragraph of how to incorporate convincing statistics into gloom, doom, drama, and trauma-oriented narrative language:

Chadwick Township is located in Monroe County, Michigan. The Monroe County Hospital is under the jurisdiction of the Township. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2007), there are 4,567 residents. Some 12% of residents are between the ages of birth and 5 years old; 6% are ages 6 to 18 years old; 24% are ages 19 to 44 years old; 40% are ages 45 to 64 years old; and 18% are over the age of 65 years old.

According to the American Heart Association (study released in 2009), about 34% of people who experience a coronary attack in a given year die from it. While the average age for a first attack is 66 for men and 70 for women, people in their 20s and 30s suffer attacks too. The risk of a heart attack climbs for men after age 45 and for women after age 55. The risk is even higher for Hispanics and Blacks.

Heart attacks occur roughly every 35 seconds in the United States, and most occur in the morning, a time when the platelets in the blood are especially “sticky” and prone to form clots. Survival odds for people who have had a heart attack keep getting better thanks to advances in diagnosis, medication, and lifesaving technology. Last year there were over 125 incidences of cardiac arrests in county residents. Regretfully, only 84 of the victims survived. This survival rate is in itself a miracle since the hospital has only a single 10-year-old AED in the emergency room.

Note: Remember, you must tie the solution to the problem!

Wrapping up the first section of your AED grant narrative

It’s important to answer the following three questions while wrapping up the first section of your AED grant proposal:

  • What will you purchase with the grant?
  • How will the purchase be used?
  • How does the purchase address the problem you described?

What will you purchase with the grant?


Grant funds will enable the Buena Vista Community Hospital to purchase 18 HeartStart FRx Defibrillators manufactured by Philips Healthcare and install them in 18 hospital departments. The HeartStart FRx offers on-demand CPR Coaching to help the stressed user recall their training. Calm, clear voice instructions are precisely timed to the responder’s actions, guiding the responder every step of the way. At just 3.5 pounds, it is among the smallest and lightest defibrillators.

Capabilities and Features:

  • Simplifies the rescue of a child with the Infant/Child key. Unique in the industry, the Infant/child key turns the HeartStart FRx into a pediatric defibrillator, tailoring the voice instructions and therapy to the needs of a child. That means just one pad set works for adults, children, and infants, simplifying a stressful rescue.
  • Rugged. Designed for real-world use, the HeartStart FRx was built to surpass rigorous testing requirements: jetting water, crushing loads up to 500 pounds and a one-meter drop onto concrete.
  • Ready when needed. Every HeartStart FRx goes through a 120-point test before it leaves the factory. On the job, the HeartStart FRx automatically conducts self-tests every single day, not just weekly. It performs over 85 different tests in all. Even the pads are tested for readiness.
  • Effective. The electric medicine delivered by the HeartStart FRx is the world leader in automated external defibrillators (AEDs), with more than 40 studies on its effectiveness. Philips’ high-current/low energy therapy ensures a potent defibrillation dose, while at the same time, minimizing side effects that are harmful to a fragile heart. So the HeartStart FRx can deliver its most powerful therapy from the very first shock. There’s no need to hold back.
  • Makes the most of CPR. Recent studies have shown that CPR is even more vital to survival than previously realized.1,2,3,4 Yet its benefits dissipate in seconds. Delivering a shock quickly after chest compressions is critical. The HeartStart FRx’s Quick Shock feature delivers therapy in just 8 seconds (typical) after chest compressions. Other devices can take 2 or 3 times that, reducing the likelihood of shock success, and potentially, survival.
  • Gives your early defibrillation program the best chance for success. With HeartStart Essentials AED Services, Philips experts can draw on a wealth of experience to help you get your program started on the right foot, with pre-implementation consulting and site assessments. We can help manage your everyday needs, including medical direction from a licensed physician, AED/CPR training, Web-based program management, and case management software.


  1. Cobb LA, et al. JAMA. 1999; 281(13):1182-1188
  2. Wik L, et al. JAMA. 2003 Mar 19; 289(11):1389-1395
  3. Yu T, et al. Circulation. 2002; 106:368-372
  4. Eftestol T, et al. Circulation. 2002; 105:2270-2273

The purchase will be used to fully equip 18 hospital departments to have access to AEDs in high-risk areas where patients are treated or tested. The grant funding will alleviate the problem of outdated AEDs and a limited supply of life-saving equipment throughout the hospital.

Explain how the new equipment will be used

The narrative must answer the following questions about how the new equipment will be used:

  1. How will you use the AEDs to increase your responding staff members’ CPR capability prior to the EMS unit’s arrival?
  2. How will you use the equipment to decrease the chance of a public health incident when manual CPR must be performed?

Example: How will the equipment be used?

It’s critical that our staff begins life-saving efforts first and then notifies EMS once the patient is stabilized. The two trained staff members typically work in different areas of the college campus and can be quickly summoned to be first responders. This is a priority as cardiac patients have a four-minute window from the time of cardiac arrest until brain cells begin to die. Defibrillators in every building will allow staff to get to the scene and start using life-saving treatment without having to lose time by bringing equipment with them. In addition, AEDs will reduce the risk of transmission of communicable diseases, which is a public health risk when manual CPR is administered.

Description of the Cost-Benefit for the Possible Grant Award

When providing a description of the cost-benefit for the possible grant award, it’s important to answer the following questions:

  • What partnerships and collaborative efforts will this project initiate or support?
  • How will awarding this grant benefit the members of your organization, region, or community?
  • What steps have you taken to keep the cost down while adequately addressing the problem or risk?

How to Discuss Partnerships and collaborative efforts within your AED Grant proposal

The narrative must answer the following questions about your organization’s partnerships and collaborative efforts:

  1. Who are your community, regional, and state-level public access entities?
    • hospitals
    • airports
    • ports
    • parks
    • schools
    • universities and colleges
    • public government buildings, etc.)

    and other partners

    • units of government
    • fundraising auxiliary arms of your police department
    • social and human services organizations
    • community colleges and universities
    • foundations
    • corporations and mom and pop businesses
    • membership organizations, including chambers of commerce
    • and volunteers, etc.
  2. What types of collaborative efforts has your organization been involved in?
  3. What activities has each partner been involved in (projects, special events, fundraising, contributions, etc.)?

Example: Discussing Partnerships and Collaborative efforts

The Department has multiple levels of community and regional agency involvement. We partner closely with law enforcement to police the recreation areas. We train jointly with local administrative departments and law enforcement as first responders. We are the lead agency in the 10-day-long County Fair, which requires coordination of law enforcement, community organizations, vendors, and state fair representatives. . Two years ago we developed a volunteer program that collects trash and removes graffiti once a month in all the parks and recreation areas administered by the Department. That same volunteer program has helped to alleviate the extreme staff shortage. A by-product of the volunteer program is that there has been a decrease in the amount of vandalism.

How to discuss benefits of the grant award for your stakeholders

The narrative must answer the following questions about the benefits of the pending grant award to your stakeholders:

  1. What are the benefits to the residents that you serve?
  2. What are the benefits to the communities that you serve?
  3. What are the benefits to your community partners?

Example: Discussing benefits of your grant for stakeholders

Heart attack (acute myocardial infarction or AMI) outcome is often chosen as one of the first indicators to be reported when evaluating a hospital because heart attacks are important, common, and deadly. Hospitals use the outcome statistic to evaluate and improve care. Insurance companies and other providers use outcome as a gauge of what hospitals are best to contract with. Patients also use reports of outcome to make their decisions. Every year approximately 40,000 heart attack patients are admitted to 400 state hospitals. More than 5,000 of these persons die.

In 2000, introducing AEDs to hospitals was a novel idea (Critical Care Nurse. 2005; 25: 25-33). Since then, hospitals have continued to acquire AEDs as an aid to timely and efficient treatment. There is a 6% to 9% early mortality from heart attack for those who survive long enough to reach the hospital. Careful monitoring and efficient cardiac care are still necessary once the patient reaches the hospital. Our community and regional residents benefit from our hospital’s ability to meet and exceed its ability to serve its residents. The goodwill generated by having functional and reliable life-saving equipment in every patient unit will result in an improved community-wide image for the Hospital and its providers.

How to discuss the steps taken to reduce costs and address the problem

The narrative must answer the following question about the measures your organization will take to reduce costs and address the problem:

  1. What steps are your administrators or governing body taking to cut operational costs and allocate more funding in the future for critically needed equipment?

Example: Discussing steps taken to reduce costs and address the problems

The County’s Board of Commissioners has been working aggressively to reduce operational costs for non-essential services. The Finance Committee has recommended cutting non-essential services from five days per week to three (Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday). In addition, rather than being laid off, County workers have agreed to forego a cost of living salary increase for the next three years. These two moves will eventually save the County $2.4 million next year; however, this cost savings will be used to reduce the deficit. In future years, with prudent spending and careful financial monitoring, the County expects to be operating without a deficit. After a public hearing on Departmental expenditures and equipment purchasing needs, the County Board of Commissioners have agreed that equipping the City Parks and Recreation Department with life-saving equipment, like AEDs, is essential for public safety. This show of support for the Department was further strengthened when one of our park staff responded to a complaint of chest pain while one of our longest serving County Commissioners was fishing at the county reservoir. Actually, the Commissioner’s 80-year old father-in-law was in full cardiac arrest. While the Commissioner and his wife stood by, the Park Ranger started manual CPR. After witnessing this fateful event (resulting in death), the need for AEDs suddenly become more important for incorporating into future budget line items.

Note: This may be your last chance to convince potential funders of the worthiness of your grant request! Don’t be afraid to add an actual event where your staff had no AEDS and the outcome resulted in the loss of a life.

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AED Grant Writing Tips

The following section outlines a number of helpful tips for working on your AED grant.

  • The Narrative Statement is where you must convince the grant readers (aka peer reviewers) by defining your risk, describing your need, and identifying your viable solution.
  • Ask several members of your organization to help develop an outline of the requested grant’s most significant benefits.
  • Take several days to draft the outline and write and edit the narrative.
  • Once the outline is developed, have one person write the narrative.
  • Include key words that help build a convincing snapshot of your community, need, and the solution.
  • Ask several people to review the narrative to make sure that the project is clearly defined, financial need and cost-benefit is demonstrated, and how the new equipment will improve your organization’s ability to better protect life is shown.
  • Write your narrative in a word processing program; do not use spreadsheet software! If you are completing an online application, copy and paste the final version into the application after it has been written and edited.
  • There may be a narrative page-length limit; plan to devote one page or about 300 words to each of the four topic areas.
  • Be more concerned about thoroughly and persuasively answering the questions in the topic areas than filling a page with words.
  • Do not type in all capital letters.
  • Spell-checking is strongly recommended. Also have someone proof/edit your narrative for clarity and grammatical errors. Give the proofer/editor a copy of the grant application formatting and content guidelines so they will know if you answered every section/question.

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AED Grant Writing Resources

In this section, you can explore a number of resources designed to help you create your grant content.

Note: Since Web site addresses change frequently, it’s best to Google these sites for the most current Web link. Only selected Web site addresses for the U.S. Government have actually been included in these resources.

  1. Assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice – Bureau of Justice

  2. Finding Freelance Grant Writers

    • American Association of Grant Professionals: The American Association of Grant Professionals is a nonprofit membership association that builds and supports an international community of grant professionals committed to serving the greater public good by practicing the highest ethical and professional standards. On their home page is a Grant Consultants link that allows you to find a freelance grant writer in your state or nationally that specializes in writing grant proposals for law enforcement equipment needs. Each individual or company is listed in alphabetical order and can also be found by typing the name in the search box.
    • Association of Fundraising Professionals: The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents more than 30,000 members in 206 chapters throughout the world working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. On their home page is a Resource Center link that allows you to search their Consultant’s Directory. Some freelance grant writers are members of AFP.
  3. Using Grant Writing Software

    • Capterra Grant Writing Software Reviews. Capterra has a list of the most popular grant writing software as well as reviews and other detailed information on many popular programs. To see the list, visit
  4. Viewing a Grant Proposal for Public Access AEDs

    • Wisconsin State University: Wisconsin State University has provided an excellent example of a grant proposal written by their Public Safety Department requesting funds for AEDs. While the products requested were not Philips Healthcare brand, the proposal language and format is a starting point for those who are new to grant writing. The Web site for the sample proposal is
  5. Getting a Copy of a Funded Federal Grant Application for AEDs

    • Finding Internet links for federal grant applications requesting AEDs that have been funded is like looking for needles in a haystack—little, if any, return for your time. However, you can write a letter to any federal agency (like the agencies listed in the Funding Resources section of this Toolkit) and request copies of funded grant applications. The key to being successful in this endeavor and expecting a timely response from the federal agencies is that you must cite the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in your letter. This link will give you more information about how to make a request using the FOIA: you make a FOIA request, you must describe the records that you seek as clearly and specifically as possible and comply with the agency’s regulations for making requests. If the agency cannot identify and locate records that you have requested with a reasonable amount of effort, it will not be able to assist you. All federal agencies strive to handle all FOIA requests in a customer-friendly fashion, in accordance with the FOIA.Here is an example:To: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Health Resources and Services AdministrationFrom: Harry Smith, Director, Boscobel Area Hospital – Boscobel, Wisconsin (our mailing address is at the top of this letter)Regarding: Freedom of Information Act Request
      Request: Under the Freedom of Information Act and on behalf of Boscobel Area Hospital, I am requesting one copy each of at least three recent federal grants funded under the Public Access Defibrillation Demonstration Project Grant Program. The CFDA for this Grant Program is 93.259. If there is a charge for print copies, please contact me as soon as possible to arrange for payment of any fee. Please mail the grant application examples to:Harry Smith, Director
      Boscobel Area Hospital
      1290 N. Calumet Street
      Boscobel, Wisconsin 99999I can be reached at 555-555-1212 or by email at [email protected] you, in advance, for expediting this Freedom of Information Act request.Note: Under the FOIA, federal agencies are generally required to respond to your request within 20 working days of receipt (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays). If you have not received a response by the end of that time (allowing for mailing time), you may contact the agency to ask about the status of your request. Agencies often need more time to find the records, examine them, possibly consult with other agencies or components within the same agency, decide whether to disclose all of the information requested, and prepare the records for release to you. Agencies may extend this 20-day period for up to 10 more working days, with written notice to you.
  6. Using Other Subscription-based Funding Sources

    Here are some other funding databases you may want to explore in addition to those detailed earlier in this booklet:

    • eCivis: The eCivis Grants Network system enables users to find and research federal, foundation, and state grant funding opportunities, as well as manage the grant process. Subscriptions to eCivis (based on your organization’s usage plan) include a daily grants alert listing all available grant monies in any of the categories you chose when you set up your eCivis preferences. eCivis also has an online searchable library of funded grant applications in all possible areas of funding, including law enforcement.
    • GrantStation: GrantStation provides access to a searchable database of private grant makers that accept inquiries and proposals from a variety of organizations; federal deadlines, which are updated twice a week; and links to state funding agencies. A growing database of international grant makers also is accessible. In addition, GrantStation publishes two e-newsletters highlighting upcoming funding opportunities: the weekly GrantStation Insider, which focuses on opportunities for U.S. nonprofit organizations; and the monthly GrantStation International Insider, which focuses on international funding opportunities.

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