Yes! There really are grants out there for businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and individuals for specific endeavors, programs, or other needs. There is not a uniformed method used by all granting agencies for grant seekers to follow when trying to identify funding and submit an application for a grant. In order to simplify the procedure, the grant process can be broken down into three basic steps – determining eligibility, registering with the granting agency, and filling out the grant application.
When researching grant opportunities it is important that the project for which you are seeking assistance be clearly defined. You will need this information in order to determine whether you qualify for a grant. Millions in grants are awarded every year to successful applicants, but if you are to be one of those receiving funds, you must first determine which agency funds your type of request.
The next step after determining eligibility is registering with the granting agency often referred to as the grantor. It is imperative that you allow at least 3-4 weeks for registration with any governmental agency before starting on the government grant application! If you are applying for an agency that is not government based such as a foundation, then you are usually required to submit a letter of inquiry or a proposal before they will give you a grant application packet. A foundation will usually take 30-90 days to review your initial request before responding back to you. You cannot apply for funding until after you receive their answer as to whether you may proceed with filling out their grant application.
Completing the Grant Application
You are now ready to begin filling out the application for the grant. If using an electronic system, it is time to download the grant application packet to your computer and begin inputting the necessary data. If applying for a non-government grant, usually you will need to print off the grant application and instructions, fill it out, and mail it back to the grantor. It can be a discouraging experience the first time you realize there are over 100 pages of instructions and requirements! Remember most of the instruction packet contains standard information that is common to all government grant applications. It is mainly informative and does not necessarily mean that you will need to fill out additional information. Just be prepared to adhere to the restrictions and requirements, if the grant application is awarded.
All grant applications are going to require basic information about the company, not-for-profit, or individual applying for the grant. Be prepared to fill out two-three pages of general information, financial information (plus several attached pages on budgets, IRS documentation, etc.), and legal information. Depending upon what grant application you are applying for, your narrative sections will take the most time to research and complete. It is important to follow these three c’s when completing grant application narratives – clear, concise, and creative. Not only do you want to be creative when writing your narrative, but make sure you can document all data used in the grant application. Your grant can be revoked if false information is discovered during the oversight of the project. If you follow the above steps when filling out your grant application and submit all required documentation, you are well on your way to receiving funding for your endeavor. Good luck on your grant application!