It is a wonderful feeling to identify a grant opportunity that you believe is a perfect fit for your project! You think, “Wow, someone might just hand me a check!”. The excitement is palpable!
I really don’t want to burst your bubble, but, instead of envisioning what you will do with ALL THAT MONEY, I implore you to take a few more steps to make sure your project is actually a perfect fit.
- Check the eligibility requirements – The website containing information on the opportunity will likely have the eligibility criteria on the home page. Or, this information may be contained in the Request for Proposal (RFP) document. When you find it, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. Maybe the opportunity is only open to non profits, and you are a for profit company. There is a possibility that the grants are only awarded to rural communities or to companies in certain counties. If you don’t meet all required eligibility criteria, don’t apply. You will face rejection for sure!
- Check the funded activities (and those that will not be funded) – Again, this information can be located on the opportunity website or in the RFP document. It is important that the activities you plan to do precisely match the funded activities. The ineligible activities list should also inform your determination.
- Check the deadline – There may or may not be a deadline for proposals, but it is good to double check that you haven’t missed the deadline, if there is one.
- Read through the RFP (twice) – If you are “passed” the previous “tests”, the last step is to read through the RFP. This can be a rather daunting task, as the request may be lengthy, but it important you thoroughly understand what you will be required to include in your proposal and the reporting that the funder will require after you receive the grant. I recommend reading it through twice with highlighters in hand. The first time, skim through and note the required information with one color of highlighter. These can include such items as organizational charts, financial documents, and resumes. The second time read it more carefully, using a different color highlighter to note any other items of importance (reporting frequency, references, etc).
Once you have done all this and have determined to move forward, you have more work to do, but take a few minutes to celebrate. You now have a much better chance of getting ALL THAT MONEY!