7 Tips on How to Apply For Free Grants

by Nancy

A grant is a type of funding usually by a government department, corporation, foundation or a non-governmental organization to an individual, business institution, school or a non-profit making organization.

A grant is usually non-repayable, and it is therefore considered as free. Grants in most cases are used for developments and improvement of conditions or projects. For you to be eligible for a particular grant, you are required to fulfill specific requirements that are set by the granting institution. Therefore, an individual or organization seeking a free grant is required to write an application to the grant-giving institution. The grantor then gauges the validity of the application. If the application fulfills the requirements of the granting institution, the grant is offered. An individual or organization seeking a grant should therefore clearly outline why they require the funding.

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Most free grants are given to fund particular projects. For example, an education grant can be given to a school to fund the building of new classroom. The recipient of the grant is required to comply with the agreed use of the granted funds. Also, the grants’ recipient is required by the grantor to report the progress of the project constantly. Positive progress is likely to improve the recipient’s standing, and they are likely to be successful in other subsequent grant applications. Some institutions also give grants to persons who have been affected by a natural disaster such as an earthquake. These kinds of grants are given to empower the affected individuals. They are required to open businesses or fund activities that will generate income to improve their livelihoods.

1. Decide What Grant You Need

There are many types of grants. An individual or institution seeking a free grant should first have a clear outline of the project that requires being funded. A grantor gauges the applicant’s plan before giving the grant. Therefore having a clearly defined project increases the likelihood of succeeding in the application. Grantors are likely to avoid funding projects that are not defined or seem unviable to them. Without a well-set project, there is a high probability of funds misuse. It is, therefore, necessary for the applicant to be specific on the kind of project that they want to undertake.

Knowing the project that applicant wants to start, it is easier to decide what grant you need. There are many types of grantors. With a clear project, the applicant saves time by engaging the right grantor. Choosing the right grantor guarantees higher chances of being successful in the application.
Another aspect that the applicant should be specific about is the need of the free grant. The grantor needs to be convinced that the grant is of high impact to the project. Without a defined essence of the grant, the grantor is likely to decline. This is because the grantor requires assurance that the granted funds will be appropriately used.

2. Identify Sources of Funding

There exist many institutions that give grants. These include the government, community organizations, and sponsorships mainly by private companies. In most cases, a grantor is likely to fund a project that is in line with what they engage in. For example, a private company such a bank will be more comfortable in funding a self-help group or a Sacco than a construction project. It is therefore advisable to identify sources of funding that are associated with the project. Identifying a non-viable grantor is likely to cause time wastage while trying to convince them. It is also advisable to have several probable sources. This increases the chances of getting the grant.

3. Address the Guidelines

Most grantors have guidelines that they require you as the applicant to follow when applying for the grant. You should always adhere to these guidelines when drafting your application. A grantor is likely to consider an application that is well aligned to the guidelines. Before applying, the applicant should have a copy of the guideline as a reference. From the guideline, the applicant can confirm whether the project is among those that the grantor funds. The applicant will also be able to know whether he/she possess the supporting materials that the grantor requires to give the grant. When you address the guidelines, you are also able to complete the application within the time required for submission.

4. Research

It is also necessary to have all the information about the grantor. To get the information, the applicant should do a thorough research before applying for the grant. Adequate research enables the applicant to present a strong application as he/she is aware of what the grantor requires. The applicant can call the grantor to inquire about the requirements. The applicant can also seek advice from individuals who have been given a grant by the institution in the past. These are the most credible sources of information as they have a firsthand experience with the grantor. It is also necessary if possible to seek advice from failed in their applications. This helps to identify the probable pitfalls that may hinder your success in the grant application.

5. Presentable Submission

This is essential for a successful grant application. You should carefully write a presentable submission that is easy to understand. The applicant should use simple language that directly conveys the message to the grantor. In the presentation, the applicant should define the use of the grant. The applicant can attach the necessary support materials such as graphs and tables. Attaching a lot of irrelevant documents is discouraged. The application should also be structured with a flow of ideas. A disorganized submission can make an otherwise good project unconvincing. It is also vital to crosscheck the application for errors and grammatical mistakes.

6. Follow Up

After submitting it is important to follow up. When you make a follow-up, you can know the progress of the application. This helps in planning. For example, you may find that the funding is likely to be disapproved or the funds may be delayed in disbursement. This will allow you to plan for the next course of step to take. You can make an application to another grantor to ensure that the project still proceeds. Follow up also enables the project planners to make preparations for the start of the project. If the progress is positive, the planners will be able to scheme on the execution of the project.

7. Update Resume

It is essential to update the resume after completion of the application. A resume keeps changing depending on the tasks that the applicants get involved in. Therefore, it is crucial to update resume regularly to include the experiences and undertakings that one accrues. This will be crucial in subsequent free grant applications. To grantors, the personal information about the applicant matters a lot. It is from this information that the grantor can judge whether you will use the funds as required. Therefore, an updated resume will be an added advantage as it shows your progress on the particular projects. It will also indicate your progress in other past projects that you undertook.