Grants are funds that are awarded for a specified purpose and do not have to be repaid — they are considered to be "free money." However, while grants do not have to be repaid, recipients of grant money must use the funds for the specified purpose. Grant money is available through private organizations, corporations and governmental agencies for individuals, businesses, organizations and communities. Each grant, in addition to having a specific purpose for the funds, has requirements that must be met in order for the applicant to qualify to receive funding.
Determine the need for the grant money. This includes determining whether the grant is for an individual, business, organization or community, as well as what the grant is needed to fund. If the grant is to fund a small business, for example, the applicant needs to determine if the grant needs to fund a start-up, an expansion, equipment or a new program. Determining the specific needs for funding is important in order to find an appropriate grant opportunity.
Research grant opportunities. Grant opportunities can be found through Internet searches or through a visit to a library where grant opportunity listings are available and assistance from a librarian can be utilized if required. General online searches for grant opportunities will turn up more than enough leads; however, it is important to specify the type of loan (business, individual, community), as well as the purpose of the grant and what the grant will be funding.
Read the grant eligibility requirements thoroughly as well as the purposes for the funding available to ensure that the grant fits the needs of the applicant and that the applicant qualifies for the grant.
Write a detailed grant proposal that demonstrates the applicant's eligibility for the grant and outlines how the funding will be allocated to fulfill the purposes of the grant. A detailed and thorough proposal will demonstrate how the applicant qualifies for the funding.