Here at Coastal Business Strategies we do a significant amount of grant research and writing for our clients. When new potential clients initially contact us there are typically many misconceptions about grants and the process of obtaining them. Hopefully this blog will clear up some of those misconceptions.
Requirements – In order to obtain grants for your small business you must have your 501 (C) (3) designation from the IRS.
Grant amount – Most people believe that they can apply for any grant amount, while this is true that you can always ask for as much as you want, it will almost always get your application tossed before it ever reaches the decision makers hands. Typically a grant will decide its funding amounts in one of two ways: first is usually a percentage of your annual operating budget, Second is usually 50% or less of a specific project. Most grants also require matching funds, which means you will also have to secure the same amount of funding from another source as well.
Timing – The majority of grants only award once a year, some have quarterly awards and very few have ongoing awards, or where they review and decide on applications as they come in. Typically your more prominent grants are awarded on an annual basis and this is important to consider when looking and researching grants. You will need to plan your grant writing budget around waiting for the higher quality grants and also applying for grants that have a close decision date in order to keep funds coming in.
Decision date – Along the same lines as the timing of the grants you must also be aware that many grants have actual fund disbursement dates that could be up to 6-8 months after the application period. This needs to be considered when deciding what grants to apply for and where to expend your time and energy, compared to the needs of your organization.
In conclusion there are several factors that you need to consider when researching grants and beginning the application process. When hiring a professional grant writer to handle this it will also require constant communication between your writer and the organization to ensure that the best long-term decisions are made. Grant writing and research is not just a one time service for most organizations, the learning curve is so great for a new grant writer to come up to speed with an organization that long-term relationships are often cultivated and maintained.
If you have any questions about grant writing feel free to contact us for your free consultation and talk with our grant writers about how we can help and our experience with other organizations in your industry.