January is one of my favorite times of year. I like to reflect back on what were the successes and challenges but most importantly on what are the upcoming goals for the the 2014 year. Often people will ask, how do you find grants? My response is often a a series of questions in return…What is your project idea? Do you have a one page abstract? I find that the more focus the response, the easier it is to search for funds. I am sure that every grant writer has a different process but here is my basic simple process in five simple steps.
1- Define clear goals for the year. For example, I need to find funding for the following projects: playground upgrades for special needs children, leadership engagement for youth, and job development for youth.
2- Define exactly what the projects entails including activities and budgets. Why is that important you may ask? Because when you are searching for grants you will see that some grants do not allow equipment or do not want to fund staff etc.
3- Begin your search on online on free websites such as the federal, state, and foundations. I would suggest not paying for an online service unless you have a specific focus. Before you pay, try accessing it for free at a public library and/or pay for a trial one day period. Don’t forget to search who else was awarded the funds that can immediately tell you if your project “fits”.
4- Set up alerts either through the funding agency and/or through Watchthatpage.com
5- Create a calendar (see calendars above) that is over your computer with all grant deadlines clearly posted. Not only does the calendar remind you and others of upcoming deadlines, it can also be reviewed each year to see when grants cycle around again. Yes, often if you miss a grant cycle you might be able to catch it the following year or maybe if you are lucky the funder is still taking applications (this is rare).
For more information, come to the Kern Grant Network Meeting on January 30th. To register, see the Facebook Page link located on the bottom right of this page.