When looking for technology grants, one should consider the pros and cons of targeting the federal government for technology grant funding for nonprofits. When looking for program funding, I think there are three advantages to targeting the federal government: 1. Money is safe, 2. There is easy access to information, and 3. Larger orders, therefore more profit. Whereas, three disadvantages would be: a lengthy tender proposal, a considerable amount of paperwork during contract maintenance, and the competition is excellent.
The first advantage I listed is that money is safe. If my company obtained a commercial contract from the government, they would surely be paid. It would eliminate the late payment or collection process that we currently have when dealing with smaller entities or individuals. The second advantage of targeting the federal government is that the government can provide easier access to information for its contractors through up-to-date Internet sites, which you don’t always have access to with smaller providers. Finally, the third advantage I see is that larger orders equate to higher profit. Securing a government contract would likely be a substantial order and profit for our company that would be worth whatever hurdles we have to overcome in the long run.
The first downside I see in targeting the federal government is that there will most likely be an extensive bidding proposal process. We have submitted offers for local providers that don’t even compare to the possible hundreds of pages a government proposal could contain. This would mean spending many physical hours preparing the offer for the proposal. Second, I think a big disadvantage for my company if we were to get a government offer is that there would be a considerable amount of paperwork involved to keep the contract. The government is under the public eye and therefore sets strict regulations that providers must follow, which includes a lot of paperwork! Again, this would take many hours to fulfill this obligation. The third disadvantage I think is that the competition would be tremendous. Although governments are being asked to favor smaller companies, I think that competition between those smaller companies would be very great. I feel that my company would be at a disadvantage compared to other competitors simply because of the fact that, firstly, we are not a depressed company, and secondly, we are not a minority-owned company.
Having said all this, I would advise my company leaders to “go for it!” I think they should get a government contract and I justify this by saying that I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in our situation. I think the potential benefit alone would justify my recommendation. However, before making the final decision to follow, I would also recommend that my company review our current budget and make sure that the cost of the additional hours involved in preparing the tender proposal is affordable even if the contract is not adjudicates. So of course, if the contract is awarded, the cost of maintaining the paperwork must also be considered.