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September 22nd, 2013

You will have many expectation from your proposal and it is easy to lose sight of your real chances and what you need to focus on the most when you are this involved and when you spent so much time trying to do everything right.

In order to get a sense of what you need to do always remember that the reviewers are people too and that they will need to review many grants in a short amount of time. They will probably not be experts in your field, may not do this with great pleasure and could easily miss a point if it is buried in the text. Make it easy for them to understand everything.

Don`t be too official. You can use some clean humor, human interest and even historical perspectives to make everything more easy to grasp. Use formatting tricks and start each section with a summary of the core message.

Don`t create the proposal at the last minute, just before the deadline. Leave yourself some time to review the work and to get feedback from other people. It is also good to take some time and do some research. You could, for example, try to know your grant administrator at the institution that is funding your grant. Talk to them on the phone, go to meetings and make sure that they understand what your project is about. They do have some discretionary power over what project their institution will fund. If you can try to get the experience of being a reviewer of grants before you apply for one, you will understand the process better and this will help you later.

Finally, understand that you might get rejected and that it happens even to the best project out there so respond to it correctly. Respond with facts to criticism and when you re-submit the work make sure that you understood what was wrong the first time. If you can show the reviewers exactly how you fixed the problems. Arguing with anybody will never do you any good so try not to do it.

You will be emotionally involved with the project, but try to keep your mind clear and take the rational decisions at all times. Good luck!

September 22nd, 2013

It`s hard to succeed and it is easy to mess up. The institutions that give out grants get thousands of applications and oftentimes they get them at the last minute. They have to go through them in record time and decide who gets a bunch of money. This is not at all easy so they developed a system that works.

The first part of that system is to check every application to see if it complies with the guidelines. If it doesn`t they just dismiss it and go on. And this is one of the fatal mistakes you can do, not follow the guidelines for submission to the letter. Getting rid of applications that are not up to par just saves the institution times and money and they want to work with people who are thorough anyhow. Get everything right, including the bibliographies and the budget justification documents. Make sure that you follow the length and format directions, especially as this is the first thing that is noticed.

What most people do wrong is that they try to write too much in their proposal and end up writing a long, incomplete and complicated proposal that nobody will enjoy to read. There will be an allotted page count, but you do not need to hit that count. You just need to say what you need to say as briefly as possible. Specify what your goal is and make sure that all the relevant information is included and that you don`t rely on supplements or send the reader to other websites for info. Don`t propose to do too much. You might be overly ambitious and want to do just a tad more than you could actually accomplish. More experience people will realize that and your proposal will be poorly rated and your chances of getting the grant will diminish severely.

When you are finished writing the proposal read it again is if you would read it from the shoes of someone who knows nothing about the project. Do you understand what the proposal is about? Does it seem realistic? Does the applicant seem to be passionate about the project? Never forget to re-read and correct your proposal.

September 22nd, 2013

Writing grant proposals is an art. When you start writing one you need all the guidance and help you can get. You need creativity, experience and a lot of hands-on knowledge. Here are some rules that have proved themselves to be useful. They are gathered from hundreds of professionals who have both failed and succeeded in getting grants. You could learn something from their experience to increase your chances.

The first rule is to stand-out, but not to shock too hard. With your grant proposal you should aim to stand-out and get the attention of those who can offer grants. Fresh and original ideas are very welcome and you need to sound passionate about what you do. But if you are too speculative or present a too radical point of view you will lower your chances of getting a grant. People are just resistive to change and that is a fact.

Include enough background data. The best way to convince them that you need to do that work and that you are the best person to do it is to appear well-prepared and to show others that you understand the situation in its full magnitude. For some programs much of the work must basically be done before the grant is awarded. You will be able to use the funds for a following part of the program. If you have some preliminary results that is even better. Explain the results so they are easily understood. Explain that you have the technical background and the experience that are necessary for the work. Focus on how good you are for the project as much as you focus on the project itself.

Remember that they actually want to give the money away. The attitude that it is very hard to get the grant is most of the time wrong. Funding organizations really want to give the money away for a cause, but they are usually making some requests. If you address those requests specifically you have a greater chance of getting the grant. A common mistake is to offer a bundle of information, but not the kind that they are looking for.

Good luck in your pursuit!

August 29th, 2013

Have you ever wondered why some institution or organization is willing to give you money to study? You might believe it or not, but most organizations do it out of the desire to help students with financial problems to get a college degree and make something of their life. For many organizations doing this is important and it also looks good in the public eye.

However many organizations offer them because they want to create a brand name and increase customer loyalty. Every company wants to be associated with social work and doing something good and useful. They advertise by doing good. Organization also give grants to some of their employees helping them grow and some give grants to insure that in the future there will be enough people specialized in a certain domain they might need. Government organizations especially want to push certain fields toward a better development. Money for grants also comes from people who are passionate about a certain field or from people who earned a lot of money and donated part of it to foundations that return it to the society in this helpful way. Many who get a grant and then become wealthy will also offer grants in their time.

There are many types of different grants. You have those for ethnic minorities, for religious minorities or those for sports players. Physically disabled students also have access to grants that are aimed at them and even working single mothers or people who work in teaching or nursing might get a grant in order to get more education if they wish so. Some grants are aimed at those who are not traditional students and don`t have college education, so you will probably stumble upon grants for people who attend evening schools or soldiers. Most grants are aimed at people who have a social, family or financial problem of some sort, something that impedes them from getting the college education that they want. If you are one of those people you will definitely find a grant, you just have to look for it.

August 29th, 2013

Whoever said that getting a grant is easy probably never applied for one. And nowadays with the Internet it became harder and easier at the same time. Easier because you can really get access to information faster and harder because you can get contradictory information about the same grant. So before you apply for any type of grant you have to check, double check and look for some of the common pitfalls and traps.

Firstly check the processing fee for any grant or scholarship you might want to get. The fee you pay for processing you will not get back, so many grants will deceive you with high fees. Ask about them before you start paying. Also watch out for money back guarantees if you don`t get the grant funding. No serious institution will offer one so beware.

Once you start applying for grants you will receive communications from different institution. Check that you get communication from the right and checked ones. Sometimes fake ones will get your contact data and pose for serious institutions in order to convince you to buy something from them or to pay an inexistent fee.

Understand that nobody else can apply for a grant instead of you, at least not completely. You need to add personalized info like essays or manuscripts so a company that promises it will do everything for you might be lying. Also do not give you bank info or credit card info unless you are sure who is going to charge it and what you will get in return.

Remember that most information about grants is usually free and available even if you need to search for it a little bit. While some companies will offer insights and news or even info in a compressed form that will help you save time, watch out for seminar or institution that promise false data. Check the source of every information you get and if possible verify the website that is offering it.

Taking care does not mean being paranoid and thinking that everyone wants to take your money. There are thousands of institutions and companies that mean well and want to offer good info to help you in this complicated world of grant funding. So be careful, but go ahead and apply for the grants that can pay for your studies.

August 29th, 2013

You probably already know that you can get funding money from angel investors, bank loans, VCs and even some of your friends. But what if all those ways are at the moment unavailable to you? Good news, there`s another one, you could get a government grant and that is if you want to start a non-profit organization. Sometimes for-profit companies get grants too, but there is a trick, you must really pick your niche to be able to get money from the government.

Anyone who got a small business grant will tell you that it is no child`s play. You got to do some research, prepare paperwork and do something that the government wants to encourage like regenerable energy. You need start something in the field of technology, medicine, scientific research, tourism, science, education and if you don`t fit the requirements you will simply not be accepted. So your niche is extremely important.

Moreover after you get a grant you will need to provide detailed reports on how you used the money. You must spend all the funds that were awarded to you otherwise they go back to the Treasury and you cannot touch them. You need to establish specific goals, present explain them and you need to carry out the plan exactly how you present it.

At this point you might even be wondering if it is worth the effort. Well, it is, getting free money should not be underestimated, but before you go ahead and apply for a grant do some research on grants.gov and other websites to see if you really are in the niche that is wanted by the government. If your business is not productive to the community or does not have the characteristic that are needed you will end up spending a lot of time without getting anything. In this case you might really want to consider the alternatives we talked about at the beginning of the article. So do your research, choose the right niche and create excellent documentation, but take into consideration getting money elsewhere also. Don`t put all your eggs in one basket.

August 29th, 2013

Is the government really giving away money to people to start and expand a business? The answer is a mixed yes and no. The grants offered by the federal government are not exactly aimed at people who want to start a business, they are for non-profits, educations institutions and non-commercial organizations.

Yes, you could get a business grant through local programs and non-profits. Most of them are for businesses that imply generating efficient technology, encourage tourism or education. What you also need to know is that most of the time you are offered a small loan. This is still a good type of help because with your startup you would probably not get any type of funding at this point and the loan is offered under better conditions than a bank would offer it. The government might even offer venture capital financing programs to help you grow your business. That means that you will get the money that you need, but they will take some equity in your business.

The number of grants offered by the government and even by other institution is limited and the conditions are strict. If you really want to learn how to get a small business grant from the government you can check the official business portal at business.gov.

Don`t fall into any trap. Even institutions or other major companies that offer small business grants will not just give away money without getting something in return. They will want some part in your business, some benefits, equity or they will hope to get a contract with you or buy your future business when you make it big. But the good news is that it is not a bad thing. Even if you don`t plan to use a grant to start your business you would still need at some point in time to find a venture capital company or an angel investor to help you grow. And getting an investment from a VC is no child`s play, you really have to be prepared and prove that your company is generating some revenue.

So what is there to do? Study the conditions of all small business grants and pay attention to how and when you will need to repay the loan. Once you know everything there is to know go ahead and apply. Every financial help is gold when you are starting a business.

August 28th, 2013

Never has college been as expensive as now. It is now a common thing not to afford it, but luckily there are all sorts of scholarships and grants that can get you out of trouble`s way. To get on the right track you must firstly go to the schools financial aid office and see what they can suggest in your particular situation. You will get an idea on what you need to do next, but meanwhile keep an eye on the following federal grants.

The Federal Pell grant can give you up to $5550 per year. It will not cover all your costs, but it is an aid that can matter a lot. You can apply for it if you are on the way of earning your bachelor`s degree and for 12 consecutive semesters. You can apply all year round for this grant.

The TEACH grant. If you want to become a teacher you have a way out of the financial trouble through the TEACH grant. You`ll get up to $4000 per year, but you`ll have to sign that you will practice teaching for four years. You will need to teach in fields that are lacking teachers at that point or in poor areas.

Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are aimed at students who lost a parent in the Iraqi and Afghanistani war. You might not be in this situation, but if you are under 24, enrolled in college and in this situation you might want to check it out.

FSEOG. This is a federal grant for which students who have not earned the bachelor`s degree can apply. You will need to demonstrate financial need and you can get small awards of a couple of hundred of bucks or up to $4000. It is good to be among the first who apply for this grant as there is a limited number of awards every year.

A short way out of financial trouble is through an application for a Federal Student Aid, in short FAFSA. Once registered you will be notified on the kind of grants you are eligible for. You can even get a loan and that is helpful too. Start applying early on to maximize your chances and don`t forget about institutional grants that can be a great source of free money.

August 28th, 2013

If you are looking to get a grant you naturally expect to find some offered by the government and they do offer some. There are two important types of educational grants offered in one way or another by the government. There are the federal grants and the state grants.

The federal grants are, as the name tells, grants offered by the federal government. One example is the Pell grant that is suitable for students that come from households with a low income per capita. Although it is quite strictly regulated it is still available to students and even post-graduate students that aim for a master`s degree. If you are a sophomore or freshman you can aim at the Academic Competitiveness Grant, but you will need to have excellent results in school so far. If you are in your fourth or third year and you find yourself out of money you can check out the SMART grant which is aimed at students who want to study mathematics, biology, liberal arts, engineering and so on.

Apart from the federal grants you have the State Grants which are offered by some of the states. They can be awarded based on performance, need and some are awarded based on the area of study of the student. One of the requirements is usually to study in that state. So if you want to study in another state than your own you might want to see what grants the Department of Education of that state is offering.

If these types of grants do not seem suitable for you or if you are in a special situation look for help at the local educational center or even in your University. You will probably find out about minorities grants or grants for women offered by the government that could be a better choice for you.

It is important to remember that when applying for a government grant you need to pay special attention to how you fill the application for it and to the accuracy of the data that you insert. Governments and state institutions are known for their bureaucratic processes so play by the rules to increase your chances.

August 27th, 2013

When you are looking for a grant you are in a race and that is because, obviously, the number of students who want and need grants is much larger than the number of grants that are available out there. So in order to get an advantage you need to develop a few skills and use some tricks.

One good trick is to go outside your University of choice. Use some research skills to dig for grants in bookstores and school counseling offices. Use smart Internet search to identify grants in your area and to get all the application data which you must study carefully in order to get all the details. Go to state and regional government educational offices and ask them if they know about any type of grants.

Consider multiple fields of study. Grants are usually offered for specific fields of study and some of them may not be your first choice, but consider getting free education as opposed to finishing college and being in great debt. Not having debt when you finish education can be a great push forward.

Make a good list of the grants you found and create a calendar of the submission dates of each and every one of them. Start collecting application data for the ones your need to apply sooner and prepare the documents. A calendar will help you not to miss the application data for the grants that you are interested in. Submitting you application early on in the process can also increase your chances of getting that grant. Foundations and universities start to process the applications early on and if yours hits the spot you might be already be marked as a good candidate. Preparation pays off in these cases.

Prepare the support documentation. You will need letters of recommendation, transcripts and financial data. Don`t underestimate the time you need to prepare these documents. Getting recommended can take weeks and getting the right legal financial documentation can be a hefty process and you might need a few weeks for that too. Ask for letter of recommendation from skilled professionals who might offer an opinion that matters and ask friends and family to review your application documents for errors.

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