Apply for Grants

How does one apply for grants? Here is another seemingly easy question that has numerous details as an answer. Yet, there are a few simple steps that enable an individual, business or organization to successfully apply for grants without getting lost in all the details!

A grant has been identified. The criteria and all requirements have been reviewed by the individual, business or organization, and the decision is made to submit a completed application to the granting agency. All agencies whether it be the federal government, state governments, counties/cities, or foundations require that grant submission be done in prescribed ways.

The federal government may require that a completed grant application be submitted electronically through These electronic submissions take time, and those submitting this way must have the completed application with all required documents and mandatory forms attached in precisely the correct order. Furthermore, and equally important, the technical narrative must adhere to the required page length, and that all other information required be correct. If not, there is a distinct possibility that the grant will not be successfully submitted electronically or if it is, it will be rejected by the Peer Review for non-compliance. Careful attention to detail means following “to the letter,” so to speak the required order for each grant section. In other words, Section I is first followed by Section II, Section III, etc. until all sections are attached. This not only applies to federal grants, but to all other grants as well.

State grants are similar to federal government although their required documents and mandated forms are often somewhat different. As with federal grants, the grant application must be submitted in its entirety with all sections completed without grammatical errors. Any section not completed or where vague information is provided can spell “rejection.” Again, careful attention to detail and providing concise yet comprehensive answers to all questions means a better chance for a favorable review.

Cities and counties, when they do offer grants, will follow a prescribed plan for grant submission. These grants, too, will have mandated forms and required documents.

Generally, foundations work with non-profits that have the appropriate IRS determination. While foundations work in similar ways as do the federal, state, and local governments in regard to grant requirements, often they will require correspondence prior to a full grant submission. Such correspondence is often referred to as a “Letter of Inquiry,” and those foundations requesting such a letter will require that certain information be contained therein. It is very important, therefore, to review the requirements for such letters including page length. Failure to follow the requirements will mean a failure to submit a full grant application. Many foundations require that a grantee utilize their grant application, specific to that foundation. Follow all requirements for grant submission including any and all grant submission deadlines that will be clearly indicated.

Overall, then, applying for the grant means understanding and adhering to all requirements contained in the grant announcement. The key: careful attention to detail.

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