Government grants can be a great way to launch or expand your programs. There are so many government agencies that have grant opportunities for nonprofit organizations. It boils down to finding the grant, making sure it works for your organization and navigating the process. Here are some tips to help you find and apply for government grants.How to find funding on the state and local level
Government grants are typically issued at the federal, state, or local level. When looking for funding it is important to explore what is available in your backyard. Local governments and municipalities will have information about grant funding opportunities on their websites. In large cities, there are usually departments dedicated to making and administering grants. In smaller communities, you may have to contact your local city or county manager’s office.
At the state level, grants are typically handled by an office tied to the governor. Each state along with Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and other territories have teams responsible for managing a variety of state-funded grant programs including AmeriCorps. To learn more about opportunities for AmeriCorps funding in your state, visit the Corporation for National & Community Service website. Visit your state’s official website to find out about other grant opportunities.
Finding federal funding
In 2002 the federal government launched the website Grants.gov. Developed as part of the President’s Management Agenda and operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Grants.gov is a centralized location for grant seekers to apply for federal funding. The website features over 1,000 programs awarding over $500 billion annually. Grant seekers can search for funding opportunities by keywords or specific programs.
Finding the Right Fit
Government grants can be highly regulated with a lot of oversight. When searching for grant funding it is important to make sure that the grant is the right fit for your program. Ask yourself the following questions: Does my program fit with the initiatives of the grant? Do we need to change anything about the program?
Modifying areas of the program to fit the grant is understandable as long as you are staying true to your mission. You also will need to assess if your program has the bandwidth to meet the financial and programmatic reporting. Organizations will find a grant that is the right fit for them from a programming standpoint but realizes that the grant funding does not cover the cost to operate the grant.
Show you can follow directions
After you have found the right grant for your organization’s needs it is important to focus on the application process. Writing the grant is imperative but your organization’s ability to follow directions is key. Compliance is a critical part to maintaining funding and compliance is about following directions. Some agencies will disqualify applicants that do not follow directions before even reading the content of their application.
Attend meetings related to your application
Agencies will host technical assistance and inquiry meetings when funding is available. It is important to attend these meetings to understand the application process and grant management. This is also a great time to build rapport with the team who may be administering your grant.
To learn more about the government grant application process contact us.
Photo Credit: Louis Velazquez