I hope that all of you have fared well through the hurricane. I know that many of you have no electricity, phone service or internet at home, and may have difficulty getting around in a state with limited gasoline and public transit, and closed roads. This is not an ideal situation for writing and submitting fellowship and grant applications ! Below are some ideas for communicating your situation with your funder to minimize the impact of this disaster on your funding applications.
Many east-coast funders have also been effected by the storm, and some online application portals (like the SSRC’s) may slow or entirely unavailable. You may have missed a deadline because you didn’t have access to a computer with power and an internet connection in order to submit the application. Maybe you couldn’t mail in your application because the post office is closed. You’re not alone, and some funders may put procedures in place to help those who couldn’t submit their applications because of the storm.
Some funders have already announced deadline extensions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, for instance, has pushed their deadline back from 2 November 2012 to 7 November 2012. Don’t count on an extension, however. Some funders may decide not to extend their deadlines.
If you have questions or concerns about your ability to meet your deadlines due to the storm, contact your funder. Program officers may be under a lot of strain due to the aftereffects of the storm, so be patient and polite. You may be more successful in asking for special consideration if you can demonstrate to your funder that you have made every possible effort to apply on time.
If your funder’s online application portal is unavailable, slow, or not functioning correctly, monitor their websites for changes in status or for announcements about deadline extensions or alternative methods for application. These funders may be slow to respond to emails or phone calls, as they may be receiving a higher than usual volume of communications while coping with the aftermath of the storm. Be patient, and monitor the situation as best you can.
If your funder requires you to mail them a paper copy of the application, do your best to comply. Even if you cannot reach an open post office, you may be able to arrange pickup of your documents by FedEx or UPS. If you have to deliver the application by the deadline (as opposed to having it postmarked by the deadline), you may not be able to find a carrier who can guarantee delivery under current conditions. In that case, document the measures that you have taken to apply on time, and contact your funder. Let them know that you have mailed the documents, and that you have done all that is possible to have them arrive on time, but that the storm has disrupted your well-laid plans.
Best of luck with your applications! We hope that the storm has been easy on you, and that recovery will be fast. If you have any questions, get in touch with us at email@example.com, and we will do our best to get you back on track.