Four (4) Things You Should Know About Grants Before Applying for Them
1. What is a grant?
The government provides assistance to its citizens in many ways. Among the citizenry, the most popular form of assistance is the grant. That is because grants are totally free. Many times grants award financial assistance, but not always. Grants may also provide non-financial government resources. Access to government land, equipment or services are common alternatives.
Loans are frequently issued by the government to assist in paying for schooling, homes and other expenses. The obvious difference between loans and grants is that loans eventually need to be repaid. This is not so with grants. Another benefit is that no tax obligations are associated with the receipt of a government grant.
Although most grants are issued by the government, there are other issuers as well. Businesses, trusts, education facilities and other organizations also provide grants from time to time. It’s even possible for them to be issued by individuals. As much as $40 billion in grant money is said to be issued annually by non-government bodies, according to the Foundation Center.
With greater benefits comes stricter eligibility requirements. Nobody – governments included – want to give away resources without cause. Because many people seek grants, they can be hard to obtain.
When compared to loans, grants are both more difficult to acquire and less generous.
2. Who can receive a grant?
Because there are so many types of grants, almost anybody can benefit. Students, however, receive grants most frequently.
All kinds of grants are available to students, whether they’re taking undergraduate or graduate classes. Some students receive private grants, but those are usually reserved for those with excellent grades. Students without perfect records may still receive government grants.
Aside from students, non-profit organizations and similar programs are probably the biggest grant recipients. Often times they get large portions of their funding through grants and, therefore, spend much of their time applying for grant assistance. Private grants from corporations and wealthy individuals are usually offered to such organizations as a method of community involvement. That can make the grant application process very competitive as many groups often contend for assistance in a small pool of funding. The process is so competitive that many organizations do not even write their own applications. Professional grant writers offer their services in this area, for a fee, of course.
The biggest grants attract organizations who can pay for the assistance of grant writers. Non-profits and public schools generally try and focus their energies on such large grants.
The “grant game” can quickly become intense for those parties that count on their benefits. Yearly application budgets and committees dedicated to navigating the process are common. Applying frequently can be a year-round endeavor.
Part of this game involves interpreting grant guidelines to ensure that you or your organization are truly eligible for the award. It can be a huge waste of resources to apply for assistance you don’t actually qualify for. It’s important also to prove your merit. Among a pool of contenders, what makes you special? If those in charge of awarding the grant can’t figure that out, you’ll never win.
3. Are there many types of grants?
Plenty of grants exist for many different purposes. In fact, grant funding exists for just about every worthwhile endeavor.
As previously mentioned, education grants for students are the most popular.
Grants for non-profit organizations (providing community support, assistance for the disabled, after-school programs, etc.) are many in number and vary widely. Grant conditions may require that the organization work with children, minorities or other groups.
Scientific projects often qualify for grants as well. The government and other grant-issuing bodies usually want their money to be used for something beneficial. Grants exist to fund social studies, medical research and other projects of that nature.
Not all grants are designed for such broad purposes, however. Some are designed simply to help individuals develop career skills.
While it’s true that there are a wide variety of grants, they are not all created equal. Some are small (hundreds of dollars) while others are large (millions of dollars). Their scope usually depends on what it is they hope to sponsor and what the typical costs for such a project may be.
4. Learn, Learn, Learn
The internet can be incredibly useful for learning more about grants. Search engines are a great start if you know specifically what type of grant you need. If not, there are websites designed to sort out what grants are available.
Certain websites are even available to help you with the application process. Using your favorite search engine, find a website with a grant database. They may have tips, tools and other resources for completing your application.
Make sure to use these resources wisely. The best application in the world won’t help you if you’re applying for a grant for which you simply are not qualified! Be smart about it. The application process can take a lot of time and effort, with or without extra help. The last thing you want to do is waste all your time and brainpower on a pointless application.
If you want to learn more specifically about government grants, try clicking here