Submitting a Grant Application

Do you need start-up money for a new project? Perhaps you want to start a home-based business, build a room onto your house, start a community volunteer drive, or write the history of a local landmark. There may be municipal, state, or federal grants available to fund your dream.

If you are not sure how to apply for a grant, the following tips may help.


1. Research grant opportunities in your area of interest. The public library is a good place to start. Ask for assistance in the Reference department. You can also search the Internet for grant opportunities. Just do a keyword search using your topic choice and "grants" to see what comes up, for example, "home renovation grants," "community service grants," etc. In addition, many universities and social service organizations maintain files of potential grant and foundation sources, and if your idea will apply to one of these areas, you can probably get access to their grant lists and look for those that pertain to your proposed project.

2. After receiving a grant application, read it carefully to be sure you understand eligibility requirements, timelines, and any limits or exclusions. If you are not sure you fully understand the terms, ask for help from an organization familiar with the type of grant you are seeking, or contact the grant office directly. Most are willing to help applicants complete their application forms. There may be samples of successful grants to review, as well.

3. Before filling out the application, make sure you have all requested information from related source materials, such as tax forms, small business filings, and financial data. With that information at hand, you can complete the application without interruption in a timely manner. Keep a copy for your records.

4. Develop a clear idea of how the grant money will be used. Create a project timeline, write a concise description of activities and equipment to be funded, and list anticipated outcomes or goals to be met. Structure a simple budget and set up a separate grant bank account that helps you track grant funds, including any money from additional sources for the project.

5. Review the entire application when completed, comparing it to the instructions and guidelines to be sure you have done everything correctly. If you find any errors, correct them neatly, and if that is not possible, consider downloading a fresh form to ensure the application looks neat and professional.

After submitting the grant application, don't contact the funding organization to keep asking about a decision. Wait for the deadline, and check guidelines for when to expect an answer. If that date passes, then you can call or email to inquire about the status of your grant application. If you do receive funding,use it only for project needs according to your grant specifications, and submit a final project report and budget in the manner stipulated by the grant guidelines.

Government money is available for many kinds of projects, so start looking for funding now.

Download the complete Guide to Government Grants to learn exactly how to find and obtain free government grant money.