I am surprised and appalled at the number of false and misleading websites that offer information and imply guaranteed grant funding. Hopefully, the information contained below will help you sort through the maze of online information pertaining to grant funding.
Grant Funding Myths and Scams
Go back to school for free
Individuals cannot apply for grants to go back to school. This type of funding is provided by government (FAFSA Free Application for Federal Student Assistance), fafsa.ed.gov and each respective schools.
Start your own business
Grants are not provided to start your own business. SBA.gov - “The SBA doesn't give grants to start or expand a business.” That said, the SBA does provide loans to help with this type of venture. Contact your local SBA (Small Business Administration) for details.
Provide you a house
Grants are provided to 501 (c) 3 organizations to help with low income housing. Some financial institutions will also help with low interest loans for qualified buyers and so-on. Individual grants are not provided for this purpose.
Guaranteed Grant Funding
One of the biggest scams is sending money to get money. Sadly, there are even books that tell you that this money is just sitting around waiting for you to take it...WRONG! There are websites floating around that promise that they can get you a “guaranteed” grant. RUN as far away as you can from ANY group promising or guaranteeing a grant. Grants are awarded by the grantor and thus cannot be guaranteed.
What is Grant Funding?
Grant funding is simply an award (usually monetary, but not always) provided by the government, corporations or a private foundations, to help support, improve upon, develop or sustain a project or program.
Government grants can be sought by a number of entities, both for profit and non-profit, depending on the project/program and specific grant guidelines. Grant funding guidelines identify organization eligibility, application requirements and area's of interest. The official website for government grant funding is grants.gov.
Corporate and Foundation Grant Funding is primarily awarded to help support projects and programs that benefit local communities. This type of grant funding is usually awarded to 501(c)3 designated non-profit organizations,
Side Note: A 501 (c) 3 Designation Letter serves as documentation of non-profit status. Churches are tax exempt and are not required to obtain 501 (c) 3 Designation for IRS tax exempt status; however, a grantor may still require the documentation. Again, read guidelines and contact the grantor with specific questions before proceeding with the application.
Grant amounts from corporate and foundation grantors typically range from $500 to $10,000; government grant funding can be substantial.
Limitations and Restrictions
Grant guidelines outline the limitation and restriction details; also, most grantors are willing to set up a meeting to discuss your concerns.
Fear of the Unknown
Sometimes lack of understanding fosters inaction. Grant funding is a legitimate funding resource designed to help organizations fulfill their mission to meet a variety of needs. Applying for grant funding does not guarantee an award, but failing to apply can mean a missed opportunity.
Lack of Time
Grant writing can be VERY time consuming, but it well worth the effort.
It's all about priorities and an understanding of the value of grant funding.
Typical Grant Funding Exclusions
· Religious organizations for specific religious purposes unless otherwise noted
· Political parties or campaigns
· Endowment creation or debt reduction
· Annual appeals/membership contributions
· Travel requests for groups/individuals (i.e. bands and sports teams)
Grant funding is a great way to help support your organization projects and programs; however, caution and knowledge must be exercised during the process.