Grants are most often awarded to support special programs or activities of an organization for a specific amount of money and for an exact time. It’s defined simply as an exchange of services for money. A grant is the award of money for a program or service and this is not considered a loan that has to be paid back to the lender. If you are fortunate enough to receive a grant award, you do not have to pay it back unless you do not complete the project or fail to meet the grant requirements. Grants are primarily awarded to nonprofits by government agencies, foundations and/or corporations.
After you have identified your own or another organization that has a need for outside grant funding then your tasks commence. The rationale for a proposal is:
(1) For your own organization to address specific needs for funding or,
(2) For an organization that you contacted or has contacted you to write their proposal for a fee. The techniques for writing a proposal for all of these organizations are similar.
(1) THE GRANT FOR YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION:
The organization that I founded two decades ago operates 100% of the time under competitive grant funding and I write all of my own proposals with my team.
(2) THE GRANT FOR AN OUTSIDE ORGANIZATION:
As a successful grant writer, numerous organizations contact me or I contact them regarding how to secure outside funding to launch or refinance one of their projects. My first reaction is to research and analyze the history and credibility of the outside organization. If they pass the “test” then I agree to produce their proposal.
The first question I ask is whether or not this organization is eligible to submit a proposal. It’s very simply to determine this by reviewing the “Eligibility Applicants” section found in all grant applications. There is no reason to submit a proposal if the organization has to be a not-for-profit and it does not qualify.
Once I’m satisfied that this is a worthy organization and there is a definite need for outside funding, we discuss a formal contract agreement for me to write this proposal. Only after the contract is signed, do I begin the search for matching the needs of this organization to appropriate funds. If you are hired as a consultant to write a grant, you should charge a flat fee and not a percentage of the funds allocated. You may have to register as an independent consultant with the State Attorney General’s Office.