Grant Writing
Entrepreneurs Inc

One of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs and non-profit business is locating grant money to operate. Funding is barely available to pay salaries and buy basic supplies. Therefore, they who truly wish to try new ideas that require additional funds have to personally find sources for this money. Grants can be a godsend to solve financial shortcomings. However, two major stumbling blocks are associated with attaining grants: locating them and writing them.

Assessing Needs

Before your search even begins, you must have a project that you wish to fund. What is it that you want to accomplish? Any project you support must align with the needs of your school or community. Grant providers want to clearly see the necessity of your program.

To make sure that your project fulfills a need, compare what your school or community has now to what you feel it should have. Use this information to create possible solutions. The upfront time spent investigating this chasm between your school's reality and your vision for it will pay off when it comes time to write your grant proposal. Do some preliminary research to find a solid educational basis for your idea. Map out the steps necessary to complete your project including necessary funding at each step. Remember throughout your design phase to keep in mind how you will evaluate your project using measurable outcomes. Make a Project Worksheet. Make a preliminary worksheet concerning what you believe you will need for your project. By doing this, you can get a clear picture of what the grant you are searching for must look like. Some items your chart could include are:

The most important piece of advice you can get when beginning your grant search is to carefully match your project with the grantor's award requirements. For example, if the desired grant is only given to schools in inner cities, only apply if you meet that criterion. Otherwise, you'll be wasting your time. With that in mind, three major sources for grant money exist: Federal and State Governments, Private Foundations, and Corporations. Each has its own agenda and differing levels of requirements concerning who can apply, the application process itself, how the money must be spent, and the methods of evaluation. So where can you search for each type?

Grant Money
Grant Match Rubric

Name of Proposal:________________________________________________     Date: _________

Prospective Grant Provider:________________________________________________________

Criteria  Points Earned (Possible:1-5)

Matches Goals of Grant Provider:                                      _______ Points

Here you are looking at the goals of your project and comparing them to the criteria given by the grant providers. Look at the grant   descriptions in order to find out what is required.

Matches Required Demographics:                                    _______ Points

This part of the rubric is checking whether the grant provider has focused in on a specific area  demographically.

Able to be Completed in Timeframe:                                        _______ Points

Every grant runs only for a specified time. While your project might be ongoing and not necessarily completed within this timeframe, the goals you set must be attainable within the time allotted by the grant provider.

Sustainable after Allowable Grant Period:                                                      _______ Points

This criterion is not necessarily related to any particular grant. Most grant providers are concerned with what will happen to your   program after the grant's time period runs out. Will your project fall apart with no additional funding or is it self-sufficient? You have to make sure that any project you begin can either be fully completed within the timeframe allowed or is sustainable after the allotted time without additional grants.

Necessary Funds are Available                                                                         _______ Points

After determining your monetary needs, you will know how much grant money you have to find. Make sure, however, to read through the funding criteria for grants you are seeking. Some of them require matching funds from school districts or other sources. If you cannot find these other sources of money, you will probably have to look elsewhere for grants. One positive, however, is that many organizations allow 'in-kind' matching funds. For example, if you have a professional volunteer their time to help you with your project, you can receive a 'credit' for how much their services would actually cost in the real world.

Evaluation Methods are Compatible                                                               ________ Points

From the beginning of project design, the grant writer must think of possible evaluation methods. All results must be measurable. Some grants allow you to provide your own methods for evaluation. If your project does not fit with the criteria required for evaluation, this would not be a good option for you.

The best grant matches will score 4 or 5 in every category. If a score of 3 or higher is not given for each, it is doubtful that this is a good match.

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Use this Grant Rubric to determine if your chances of being a match to the desired grant is good.

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