Non-profits and small businesses often look to grant funding to expand services or start a new program. Grants don’t need to be re-paid, but the money is not entirely free. Addressing these five important questions before applying for grant funding will simplify the process, reduce overall costs, and relieve stress.
1. Does the grant’s purpose fit with objectives?
Understand any restrictions placed on the use of grant funds and determine if they fall within your mission or business objectives. Grants for activities that are not part of your core operations create additional costs and detract from existing programs and services.
2. Is there capacity to deliver the grant’s program or service?
Grants add to work demands and take resources from existing programs and operations. Identify the people and other resources necessary to manage the grant and deliver its objectives. Be realistic about whether existing resources will be enough to make sure that activities are not interrupted or reduced.
3. Can required reporting be produced?
Grants usually have reporting requirements. Generally, grantors require an accounting of grant receipts and disbursements, as well as a description of how the grant funds were used and what accomplishments were achieved. If those reports cannot be readily produced using your existing systems and processes, consider the time and money it would take to get there.
4. Are administrative costs in the proposal?
Grant provisions often allow for administrative costs, usually expressed as a percentage of the grant amount. Administrative cost percentages must be reasonable and customary, and cannot be exceeded even if actual administrative costs are greater than anticipated.
5. Any federal or state regulations to follow?
Federal, state, and pass-through awards come with strict requirements that may not be part of your organization’s day-to-day procedures. Being aware of and complying with applicable grant regulations are essential for deciding whether government grants are a good fit.
Non-profits and small businesses that can confidently address these five questions could find grants to be a great option. A little advance planning before taking action can really pay off.