Suggestions for Obtaining Grants

If you are interested in applying for, and receiving a government grant, here are some suggestions.

1. Obtain as much information as you can about the program. Many times the departments will send you a brochure or small pamphlet. Most programs have more detailed documentation. Ask for these or check with your local library.

2. If it is possible and practical, try and arrange a meeting with those responsible for administering and approving the grants. This will enable them to get to know you, and you can find out about their priorities and needs.

3. Be professional. Look as professional as possible. Send only typed letters without spelling errors, and be very professional on the telephone.

4. Be prepared. Do your homework before applying. Make a good impression by being thoroughly prepared.

5. Be patient. Government employees are not entrepreneurs. Most will not share in your enthusiasm and excitement. The systems are often complex and there are many channels and regulations. Do not try and rush them, and do not be in a hurry. Being patient is critical. This also requires advanced planning when submitting an application.

6. Deal with head offices as much as possible. Head offices are the ones who make the decisions. You will get your questions answered more quickly and accurately. If you must apply at a local office, get the main details from the head office first.

7. Deal with department heads whenever possible. Use an appropriate directory to find these people. Deal with the person in charge of the program first. They may be hard to get in touch with, but leave a message. Have them refer you to the best person in their unit.

8. Be confident. Confidence is important. Grant givers want assurance that you are confident - in yourself, your concept, your product or service and in your business. Most confidence is gained by doing your homework and being prepared.

9. Be persistent - do not take "no" for an answer. If you receive a "no", find out exactly why, then correct the situation and re-apply. On hundreds of occasions, the government says no the first time, and yes the second.

10. Hire consultants if you need help. If you feel that you do not have the time or expertise to prepare a grant application properly, then hire someone who is experienced and will do a good job. Be sure to agree on a fee and get a letter of agreement.

11. Ensure you have detailed business plan (if the application is for a business) or a proposal. This will certainly help your case by showing how the grant will help you achieve your clearly defined objectives.

12. Be sure you have qualified people in place to do the work or project after the grant is received. Funding agencies need to feel comfortable that the project they are funding will be done on time, on budget and produce the  promised results.