If you’re a woman in America who is in business (or plans to be), then you should know about the Office of Women’s Business Ownership that is operated by the Small Business Administration. Their mission, in their own words, is “to establish and oversee a network of Women’s Business Centers throughout the United States and its territories.”
Each of us is just one person, and sometimes we can feel powerless against giant institutions, especially bodies of government. After all, they’re notorious for being bureaucratic and staffed by uncaring workers who take pleasure in thwarting citizens, right? The politicians are no better, promising everything to get elected, then forgetting about us little people once they’re in.
Everyone wants to get the really big grants. However, if you focus exclusively on these, you may miss out on funding your project. A different approach is to seek several smaller grants, which are more commonly found and may have less competition. An effective way to do this is to divide your project into parts that function independently.
One of the key parts of a grant proposal is its budget. Some of my students have a little trouble knowing where to begin with it and knowing whether they have done it correctly. I have some ideas for you to make the process a little less intimidating.
First, here are some general rules. Be sure that your budget is:
I sometimes have students who are gung-ho to get a grant, any grant. They will inquire where to go to get the most money, the most quickly. I ask them what it is they are seeking to fund exactly, and they have no idea. This approach is not likely to succeed, for several reasons. First, grants exist for a purpose. The idea behind them is that the government wants to encourage positive social changes, such as job creation or home ownership,
How do you think a grant reviewer will see your proposal? Try putting yourself mentally in the place of the reviewer, keeping in mind that he or she has no emotional attachment to your idea, nor any prior background knowledge of why your project would be a good one.Here, we get some hints and insights from professional grant reviewers about what their preferences and pet peeves are (adapted from research by Purdue University).
It’s unquestionably a huge disappointment to work hard on your grant proposal, only to have it not be chosen. At this point you can either become discouraged and give up, or you can use the rejection as a learning experience. Most proposals are rejected. Given the large numbers of proposals that are submitted, that is a reality of the process. However, you can try to pinpoint the reason in several ways:
If you are having difficulty deciding whether or not to hire a grant writer, below are some pros and cons that can help you decide what is right for you. One advantage of hiring a writer to assist you with putting together your proposal is that it can mean faster results. The basic job of a grant writer is to complete your work based on your financial strategy in a timely manner.
Did you know that many local governments have grants that are not publicized? Some communities have funding set aside, but they don’t publicize it. Often, the only way to find out about available funding is to call or visit your government offices, find the resident grant expert, and inquire about available programs. The best example of this is someone from my own office who wanted a grant to help her with a down payment on a new house.
One thing that many entrepreneurs have in common is a dread and distaste for the thought of writing a business plan. I want to change your mind about that and tell you why a good business plan can be one of the best friends your current or future business could possibly have. One of the most important things that you can know about a business plan is that you most likely will not get any funding for your business without one,