Government grants are an incredible resource for both profit and nonprofit organizations. They help you maintain your momentum and avoid failing because of lack of funds.
However, before applying, make sure you’re ready for it. After you receive the money, you’ll have to do the project, and if you’re not at a place in your business when you can accomplish that, you might consider a different approach.
“Evaluate whether this is worth your effort. Do not ask if you need the funding,” recommends the US Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). “Ask if you are ready and able to commit to the potential grant project.”
If you have discussed the project with your colleagues and you’re ready to move forward, there are a few things that any organization should consider before applying.
Have a professional write it
Hundreds of organizations may apply for a single government grant, but they’re only able to give out so much money. If you want to stand out above the crowd, put the application writing into the hands of a professional.
You could hire a freelancer to do the job if you don’t have a qualified writer on your staff. Their rates are more affordable than hiring someone in-house, and it can be nice to work directly with an individual. However, you can’t be sure you’re hiring a quality worker, and it’s always a risk to have someone you don’t know write your grant.
You might instead consider a company that specializes in providing this kind of content. You can buy essay services to have your grant written with a company guarantee that you’ll be satisfied with your product. Many businesses prefer this guarantee over an unknown freelancer.
Watch out for scams
Unfortunately, scammers try to take advantage of the government grant system. They’ll pretend to offer a grant, and accept an application or processing fee when you submit it. You’ll never hear from them again, and that’s money you can’t afford to send down the drain.
“Grant applications are usually free as they are sourced at the federal or state/county level with public funds,” warns Hal Shelton of Score. “If you are asked to submit a fee to apply for the grant or learn more about it, there’s a good chance it is scam. Asking for an application fee is the number-one way scammers make their money.”
He also recommends looking for other warning signs, like poor communication, bad grammar, the description of the grant, and if it asks for personal information. When in doubt, always call the organization that the grant is supposed to be from to ensure it’s legitimate.
Be patient, but persistent
The application process will take time, but even after it’s finalized, there will be a waiting period. You’ll have to wait for the application deadline to pass and for the right entities to review each submission. This can, unfortunately, take months, so you’ll want to exercise patience.
That being said, Derek Walter of Business.com encourages organization heads not to wait passively just because a lot of time has passed without a response.
“Don’t let patience turn into complacence,” he says. “You’ll need to be diligent about following up and asking questions regarding your organization’s application. With critical funding on the line, it doesn’t hurt to keep calling and asking questions about where things stand.”
The legwork you put into your grant afterwards can be just as important as what you do beforehand. With a little patience and perseverance, you could very well have your grant money in hand by the end of the year.