Looking for Grants During This Tough Economic Time? Here is Where to Start
Deciding that you want to apply for a grant is the first step in securing funding for your organization or needs. While it may seem overwhelming when you first start the process of finding the right grants to apply for, the procedure will become more familiar to you once you get a few applications and approvals under your belt.
Here are a few things to keep in mind so that you are better equipped with the knowledge and tools to locate and win a grant.
Nothing is Ever Free
Although it is true that grants do not have to be paid back, you cannot expect to win a grant without putting in any work. You have to be willing to put in the legwork to find and apply for the funding. Once awarded the money, it is also up to you to carry out the requirements of the grant to the best of your ability. This means that you need to carefully track the finances involved, deliver all of the required reports, and meet all of the deadlines that are part of the agreement. Failure to follow through with your end of the bargain could jeopardize your funding and make it difficult to secure additional money in the future.
Know Your Qualifications
While there is no shortage of grant opportunities, it is important to understand that you will only qualify for a small percentage of this funding. Do not waste valuable time spinning your wheels trying to secure funding from grant programs that do not fit your organization's qualifications. Before you jump into the search process, it is vital that you ensure that your goals and those of the grants that you are applying for are in sync. Those who award grants often cite a lack of qualifications for why they turn down applicants for funding.
Be Wary of Fee-Based Services
The COVID-19 pandemic has made grant funding more important than ever. With so many organizations desperate for additional money to help to get them through this unprecedented economic climate, there has been an increase in predatory practices. It is crucial that you are wary of any organization that requires you to pay an application fee for grant funding. Be careful to not give away private or secure personal information when applying for grants. You should never have to pay a deposit in order to receive a grant.
Brush Up on Your Grant Writing Skills
You do not have to be a professional grant writer in order to draft a winning proposal. Knowing a few basics will help you to craft your application so that it stands out from the crowded field of applicants. Be sure that your proposal accurately reflects the requirements set forth by the grant package. If your budget allows and if the grant money on the line is substantial, it may be worth your investment to hire a professional to help to draft the proposal. Remember that not all grants require lengthy proposals. Sometimes, short and sweet might be what wins you the money.
Start at the Top
Although there is no central US government grant clearinghouse, you may find it helpful to start your search at the comprehensive Grants.gov website. Managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this site is used by government agencies to offer financial assistance to a myriad of organizations and for a multitude of purposes. Within the site, you will find thousands of listing for grant options. This site should always be your first stop when looking for funding. A complementing mobile app makes it easy to use this site to see if you can find packages that meet your eligibility requirements.
The bottom line is that there is plenty of grant money out there. The key is finding the best fits for your needs and then crafting a proposal that will accurately and effectively sell your organization. Knowing how to best harness these opportunities and use it to your advantage will deliver significant benefits for your organization both now and down the road.
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