With over $600 billion dollars in grant funds already awarded in 2017, it is certainly a valuable investment to explore available government grants for your organization. Your best option is to search online to see if there is a government agency that offers the kind of grant your organization will qualify for. Most government grants go toward public safety, health and science research, or technology advancement, but there are many others available.
State grant information is harder to locate, but the most efficient way to find state grants is by contacting local government officials. It is often fruitful to build relationships with local government agencies, provided it is applicable to your organization’s mission. Sometimes you will be referred to a grant application through these constructive relationships.
To view available funding programs for nonprofit organizations, conduct a search through the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Register on grants.gov to apply for grants through the general portal. Keep in mind that there may be a specific portal for the grant you are applying for, in which case you should follow the registration steps provided. Once you have established your eligibility for a particular grant, begin preparing the application materials following these 4 tips:
1. Make the Case
Why is your organization in need of these funds? Tie your answers to the purpose of the grant. Utilize the grant description’s terminology and illustrate exactly why your organization is qualified. Make sure to read through the eligibility and legal requirements before applying to ensure your organization can legally receive the grant so you do not waste time applying for an inapplicable grant.
2. Elaborate, Elaborate, Elaborate
Avoid answering the questions with one sentence answers. Make use of the entire character or word allowance to make sure you are providing a detailed response. Your application will be reviewed by an evaluator, and in most cases, you will receive a report detailing where points were missed. If you have applied for the same grant in the past, use this review to target areas in need of improvement on your next application.
3. Cross your T’s and Dot your I’s
For most government grant applications, you will submit a narrative portion, answering various specific questions about your program, and a budget estimate, which needs to be carefully estimated and as conservative as possible. Make certain that you only budget allowable costs. Be cautious not to miss submission deadlines, updates to the application requirements, and post-award steps. If you have questions on any part of the application, reach out to the grant coordinator.
4. Save often, submit early
These large government database portals can be overrun with multiple applicants, so submit your application a few days early in order to avoid technical issues. Stay in contact with the program coordinator and contact them periodically to make sure you are completing the application correctly. Complete your application in a separate Word or Excel document, then enter the final information once you have the content completed to avoid losing pertinent information. It’s always a good idea to have someone else review the application before you submit.
You can visit this site for a quick rundown regarding which federal agencies administer grants, how to apply to specific grants you qualify for, and different policies and reports you will have to complete if you receive a grant of any kind.