Things You Need to Consider Before Applying for Grants
Before you gather your team to submit an application, you should follow a few steps if you’re interested in a grant. Your priority list should include figuring out fit and eligibility as well as any financial limitations, total effort, and deadlines. Ultimately, you want to know if the funding is feasible and worthwhile from all perspectives. This blog post is for those of you who are brand new to grant hunting. Here are 10 best practices for finding and applying for grant monies, in case you are just starting your search or are experienced with grants but unclear about how to apply:
1. Complete your homework
The next stage is to start looking for possible grant programs after you have established your agency’s needs, written your strategic plan, and chosen your AOR. What funding programs are the most pertinent will depend on the project your organization develops. Once you’ve located your ideal possibilities, make sure to sign up for email alerts, keep an eye on the websites, and get in touch with the program contacts if you have any questions. To ensure you get all the opportunities, double-verify the opening times, closing dates, eligibility standards, and deliverables. For instance, if you want to apply for georgia federal grants, then you need to know all the details about their programs, eligibility, and characteristics before applying. So, this is where homework which plays a significant role.
2. Is the grant amount constrained?
Check to see if the amount required for your project fits within the minimum and maximum amounts available from this funding source. Determine whether a match is necessary and, if so, whether in-kind contributions qualify. Check carefully to determine if the grant will cover all your costs, such as travel, conference fees, meals, administrative charges, etc.
3. Start when done with the background
Plan and get ready immediately, even if you still need to get a target grant in mind. Do your homework and decide who will be in charge of data collection, application preparation, and reporting should you be awarded the grant.
4. Identify your grant team
Identifying key stakeholders early on will help you minimize potential delays, missed deadlines, and resource misallocation. These people will be crucial in conducting grant research, gathering information, and finishing and submitting your agency’s applications:
5. Prepare a plan
Any grant application’s success depends on careful planning. Identify the need in your organization or community before developing measurable objectives, actionable steps, and the goods and services you’ll need to get there.
Your strategic planning approach can be formal or casual. A formal process entails scrutinizing data by numerous stakeholders and creating a formal plan-outlining document. You may already have a formal strategic plan in place for your city, county, or organization, which you can use as a basis for this document. Stakeholders could create a list of needs for the future year as part of an informal process.
6. Gather Data
You’ll need quantitative and qualitative data to support your strategic plan’s aims and objectives and demonstrate your organization’s need for funding. These particulars include, but are not restricted to:
You can use this information to narrow down your search for grants to those that best meet the needs of your community or organization.
6. Choose your AOR
The Authorized Official Representative of the applying agency must approve the application before it can be submitted and awarded under the majority of grant programs. The AOR is the person who has the power to sign grants, contracts, and other legal papers. This may be the county judge, the fire chief, the EMS medical director, or another official. If the grant cycle is already underway, as in the American Rescue Plan case, get the go-ahead from the top officials at your agency or organization right once. Plan to request clearance within one to two months of the application period’s start date if you’ve identified additional prospective grant programs to submit for the year.
7. Verify that your organization has all necessary registrations in place
Many administrative procedures must be met before applying for a grant, such as maintaining your agency’s System for Award Management (SAM.gov) registration or registering your organization in some other way. Any organization that receives financing from the government needs to be registered with SAM. There will be different registration requirements in many states. You will only be able to apply if these conditions are met at the time of application.
8. Check your eligibility
It’s crucial to confirm that your business qualifies to apply for grants before selecting one that matches your project’s scope, as you need to ensure the type of organization for checking the restrictions on eligibility. For instance, are those entities only permitted to apply if they are nonprofits? In that case, collaborating with a nonprofit will be advantageous. Ensure you review the reporting criteria for each grant application you make. These reports, which are required following the acceptance of the award, are made to make sure that the award will cover the project’s costs. If the grant won’t cover the entire cost of your project, you should create a plan to pay for the remaining expenses.
The eligibility of your agency and your project should be your top concern when evaluating if a grant is a good fit for your organization. After submitting your application, be sure to routinely check the application portal for additional requests for information or evidence from the grant maker. Award notices are normally sent four to six months after the application has been submitted, depending on the grantor. This article will assist you in comprehending the specific steps you must take before submitting a grant application.