Are you thinking about opening up a business? Considering going back to school to secure your degree? Need assistance with housing? No matter what your plans may be, if you’re thinking about doing anything that involves financial assistance, trying to come up with the funds may be preventing you from achieving your goals. Fortunately, there may be a way that you can secure the money you need. How? – By applying for a grant.

A grant refers to funds that are provided by an honoring institution, such as a department of the government, a foundation, or a corporation. The money is set aside by this institutions for specific purposes; for example, housing grants are money that is set aside to help pay for the cost of housing, and education grants are money that is intended to be used to cover the expense of higher education. Unlike a loan, a grant does not have to be repaid, which is the primary benefit of this type of funding.

What you should know before applying

There are grants available for various purposes. In order to qualify for grant funding, an application or a proposal must be submitted; however, only those who meet the qualifications for grant funding will be considered. Upon submitting an application or proposal, the issuing agency will review the information to determine whether or not an individual is, in fact, eligible.

If you’ve thought about applying for a grant, you might be a little overwhelmed by the process. If you’ve never applied for one before, it can, indeed, be a tedious task. It doesn’t have to be though. Below, we share some simple tips that you can use to apply for – and hopefully secure – grant funding.

1. Determine if You Actually Need Grant Funding

Grants can make it possible to do so many things; things that you would not be able to do without the proper funding. However, it’s important to note that not everyone who applies or submits a proposal for a grant will actually receive one. First and foremost, you have to be eligible for funding; if you aren’t, then your request will be denied. Additionally, applying for grant funding is a lengthy and complex process. Therefore, it’s important to determine whether or not there are other sources of funding that you may be eligible for, and if so, whether those options or a grant would be a better option for your needs.

2. Locate Grant Sources

As mentioned, grants are backed by a variety of sources, including different departments of the government (federal, state, local, etc), academic institutions, business, non-profit organizations, etc.

Pinpoint a source that is affiliated with or supports the purpose of funding that you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are interested in securing a grant to assist with your college education, the federal government does offer funding options, as do many institutions of higher learning and non-profit organizations.

Where to find

There are multiple resources online that you can utilize to locate sources of grant funding. If you are having a difficult time finding the information yourself, consider speaking with someone who is associated with your mission and who would be knowledgeable in grants.

For example, academic advisors would be able to assist you with locating grant sources that fund higher education, while the Small Business Association (SBA) in your local area may be able to assist you with finding sources that issue grants for small business owners. You can also find a wealth of information related to grant sources at your local library.

3. Understand Eligibility Requirements

In order to secure grant funding, applicants must meet stringent qualifications. Every grant clearly highlights what those qualifications are; if applicants do not meet them, they will not be considered. Since applying for a grant can be such a rigorous process, it’s important to fully ensure your eligibility otherwise your efforts will be for naught.

Eligibility requirements could pertain to the applicant, the purpose of the funding, or both. For instance, if you are applying for a grant that will help to cover part of the cost of your college education, you may need to meet minimum requirements regarding your status as a student (fully matriculated, for example), age, income, housing, and other demographic requirements. You may only be permitted to use the grant for specific purposes; on-campus housing, school-related materials, or class credits, for instance.

What happens if I fail the requirements?

If you fail to meet the requirements, you will not be eligible for the funding through the grant you are applying for. Furthermore, if you do meet the eligibility requirements, if you fail to fully demonstrate that you do meet the requirements and that you are entitled to funding, your application or proposal will be dismissed by the agency that issues the grant moneys for which you are applying.

4. Submit Grant Applications

Once you identified a grant or grants that pertain to your needs and you have determined that you do, in fact, meet the eligibility requirements, begin the application process. To begin doing so, you need to secure an application. The process of obtaining an application may vary from issuer to issuer; however, most grant applications can be found online. If the grant you are applying for is online, download the application and print it out. If the application is not available online, find out how to go about obtaining one.

What then?

Once you have obtained your grant application, take the time to review it. Do not skim through the application; make sure that you read through and fully understand the fine print. If you fail to include any required information, if you miss the deadline, or even if you do not submit your application appropriately, more than likely, it will be rejected. Take the time needed to properly fill out your application and to develop any necessary information that may be required; a proposal or background information, for example.

Once you have completed your application, thoroughly review it before submitting. Additionally, make sure that you submit your application well in advance of the due date. Should an error arise that could result in a delay of the issuing agency from receiving your application and it is received past the due date, your application will not be considered.

In Conclusion

Securing grant funding is possible. By researching and with patience and diligence (and if you qualify), you may very well be able to receive grant funding to meet your needs.