Part 2 of 2 – Application & Writing
The internet is bursting with questionable looking websites promising grants for everything from Alzheimer’s to zoology. You will read conflicting information. For example, while one site touts that awards for minority-owned businesses are widely available, another source will deny the possibility that any individual could receive a grant for a profit-based business. Be vigilant in your research.
Be leery of any site that charges a fee to process your application. Grants themselves do not have fees.
Match the Program and Criteria
Consider your need and determine what kind of grant is most appropriate. Clearly outline your vision and purpose, and then pursue it with vigor. Is your need for housing aid? Financial aid for education? Do you want to benefit your community?
Once you have a clear idea of your initiative, begin looking for potential opportunities. You want to avoid looking for programs and then trying to make your life match a particular grant. Your program or need should already meet the criteria or interest of the granter. Honestly evaluate the extent to which your program or need addresses the funder’s concerns and vision. Note deadlines and exclusions. Make sure you are eligible before you start applying.
Some researchers suggest that it is easier to get local awards than federal, so remember to look close to home. There is no limit to the number of grants you can apply for. Make your list of desired programs and start applying.
Write the Grant
Determine if you will be the grant writer or if you will use an outside source. Some grants require just an application with supporting documentation such as a social security number or transcript of grades. Grant writing for a specific project such as research often requires a detailed proposal that explains your program, your program’s impact on the community, and a convincing argument on why your program is the right one to receive the funds. The process is highly competitive and requires many hours of dedication. Resources such as Owl Purdue Online Writing Lab are available on the internet to guide you through the process, but the complete process is a daunting undertaking which demands a high level of expertise.
Securing grants can be a grueling process. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries to refine your vision and skills and to be able to communicate your program to granters. As you work through the application process, continue fund raising and generating revenue in other ways. Minority grants can be the boost you’ve been looking for to give you that chance at better housing, higher education, or improving the lives of people in your community.