A “grant” is money given by the government, a corporation, foundation, or trust to a person or organization.
Grant money is different than a loan because it is not intended to be paid back. However, grants do come with other obligations.
Generally, a grant requires some form of grant writing before it is awarded; either a detailed proposal of how the money will be spent or an application.
Most grants are awarded to fund a specific project, and grant money is most frequently given to fund a purpose that will benefit the public.
Government Grant Scams
Recently, with the discussion of “stimulus money” and “recovery jobs,” there has been a huge growth of websites which claim to help the average American qualify for and receive government grant money.
Sadly, these websites are almost all scams.
They use the search term of “Government Grant” to get people to their website, with promises of either giving them the tools they need to find and qualify for grants, or by saying they will find grants their users qualify for.
When people arrive at the website, they are asked to answer a series of questions, normally dealing with whether or not they would like to further their education, lower their bills, declare bankruptcy, etc.
After you have answered their questions, you will likely be given very basic information on how to obtain grants, or you will be sent information and links regarding grants and where to find them.
The real purpose of the website, however, is not to inform you about grants, but to collect your contact information.
Once your information has been collected, it will be sold to third party sources in order for them to contact you with offers and information.
Often times, this even includes your waiver of the Do Not Call Registry, which will open your phone line up to telemarketers once again.
Or there are websites that will offer to send you packets of information regarding government grants if you will just pay a small Shipping and Handling fee.
However, if you read the Terms & Conditions, these companies often have significantly large hidden fees, which you will quickly be charged after you supply your Credit Card number.
What is Being Done About It
In late 2010, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on websites that advertised their ability to get government grants for unemployed people trying to reduce their debt.
These websites charged a small service fee for information, but then would charge multiple larger sums to their customers after the fact.
The FTC has also recently announced that people have been contacted with email and telephone messages claiming that they qualify for a government grant based on their most recent income tax return.
If you've received such a message or have been scammed by a company claiming to provide government grant information, you should contact the FTC.
Interested in Government Grant Information?
Government grants are a great way for individuals, businesses, and organizations to access funding for a variety of projects and initiatives.
These grants are awarded by federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as private foundations and corporations.
The process of applying for a government grant can seem overwhelming, but by following a few key steps and guidelines, you can increase your chances of success.
Step 1: Identify the Right Grant
The first step in applying for a government grant is to identify the right grant for your project or initiative. There are thousands of grants available from various government agencies, foundations, and corporations.
Some grants are specifically targeted towards certain industries, such as agriculture or energy, while others are open to a wide range of applicants.
To find the right grant for your project, start by researching different government agencies and foundations that may offer grants related to your area of interest.
You can also use online databases, such as Grants.gov, to search for grants by keyword or category.
When identifying a grant, it is important to consider the following:
Eligibility requirements - Make sure you meet the basic eligibility requirements for the grant, such as being a specific type of organization or operating in a specific geographic area.
Purpose and funding priorities - Make sure your project or initiative aligns with the purpose and funding priorities of the grant.
Deadline - Make sure you are aware of the deadline for the grant application, and that you have enough time to prepare a strong application.
Step 2: Prepare a Strong Application
Once you have identified a grant that is a good fit for your project or initiative, the next step is to prepare a strong application. A well-written and well-organized application is essential for increasing your chances of success.
When preparing your application, it is important to consider the following:
Read and follow the application instructions carefully - Make sure you understand the application requirements, format, and submission process.
Include all required information - Make sure you include all the information requested in the application, such as budget, project plan, and letters of support.
Use clear and concise language - Make sure your application is easy to read and understand. Avoid using jargon or technical language that may be difficult for reviewers to understand.
Tailor your application to the grant - Make sure your application is tailored to the specific grant you are applying for. Emphasize how your project or initiative aligns with the purpose and funding priorities of the grant.
Proofread and edit your application - Make sure your application is free of errors and typos. Have someone else review your application for clarity and accuracy.
Step 3: Submit Your Application
Once your application is complete, the final step is to submit it. Make sure you submit your application on or before the deadline, and that you have followed all the instructions for submitting the application.
It is also important to keep a copy of your application for your records, and to follow up with the grant administrator to ensure that your application has been received and is being reviewed.
Tips for Success
In addition to following the steps outlined above, there are a few additional tips that can help increase your chances of success when applying for a government grant:
Be Realistic - Make sure your project or initiative is realistic and achievable within the timeframe and budget of the grant.
Be Specific - Make sure your project or initiative is well-defined and specific, and that you have a clear plan for how the grant money will be used.
Build Relationships - Build relationships with the grant administrator and other stakeholders in your area of interest. This can help increase your chances of success by providing you with valuable information and support.
Get Letters of Support - Include letters of support from organizations, businesses, and individuals that are familiar with your project or initiative. These letters can help demonstrate the need for and impact of your project.
Show Results - Show evidence of your previous success, this could be in form of any previous grant you have received or any project you have executed in the past.
Be Prepared to Follow Up - Follow up with the grant administrator after submitting your application. This can help ensure that your application has been received and is being reviewed, and can also provide you with an opportunity to answer any questions or provide additional information.
Get Feedback - If your application is not successful, ask for feedback on what you can do to improve your application for next time.
Be Persistent - Remember that applying for a government grant is a competitive process, and that not all applications will be successful. Keep trying and don't get discouraged.
Be Mindful of the Budget - Make sure your budget is realistic and detailed. It should include all the costs associated with your project, including staff salaries, materials, and overhead.
Use the Right Format - Make sure you submit your application in the format required by the grant administrator. This may be a paper application, an online application, or a combination of both.
Be Timely - Make sure to submit your application on time. Late applications will not be considered.
By following these steps and guidelines, you can increase your chances of success when applying for a government grant.
Remember to take the time to research and identify the right grant, prepare a strong application, and submit your application on time. With persistence and hard work, you can access the funding you need to make your project or initiative a success.
The Bottom Line
Applying for a government grant can be a challenging and time-consuming process, but it can also be a great way to access funding for your project or initiative.
By following the steps and guidelines outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success and secure the funding you need to make your project a reality.
Remember to be persistent, realistic and be mindful of the budget. Keep in mind that it's a competitive process, but with the right approach and hard work, you can be successful.
The Federal Government provides free information regarding government grants at Grants.gov and it’s 100% free.
While the Federal Government is the largest provider of grant money in the United States, many companies and trusts provide grants as well. Information about those can be found – for free – at the FoundationCenter.org.