A grant is a gift of money, technical assistance, or equipment from one organization to another organization or individual. The organization awarding the grant is the grantor; the person or organization receiving the grant is the grantee. The purpose of giving money is to advance the initiatives or interests of the particular grantor.
- Identify the organizations or foundations that have money available for your area of interest (in this case, HIV/AIDS). A good place to begin your search is the Foundation Center (www.fdncenter.org). There are five Foundation Center libraries and more than 200 cooperating collections throughout the U.S. Access to their resources and services is free, but there is a charge to purchase copies of their publications and to attend some of their training sessions.
- Write or call for guidelines. Some want only a request letter; others may want a full proposal.
- Be sure the program you are interested in developing matches the interests of the grantor.
- Look at the range of previously funded programs. For example, if the organization gives grants from $1,500 to $5,000, be sure to stay within that range -- asking for too much or too little will disqualify your application.
- Follow grant guidelines exactly as written. Be sure to address everything they ask for and stay within the stated page limits. Some grantors will provide written examples of successful applications.
- Review the mission statement of your own organization. Be sure you have a good understanding of the goals and direction of your organization before you begin looking for funding.
- Make sure your organization is eligible for the grant for which you are applying.
- Many grantors give to their local areas. If you find grantors that have a preference for your geographical area, put them at the top of your list.
Visit the following Web sites:
- Fund-raising.com: Provides free information for non-profits. This site includes ideas on generating contributions, products for fundraising initiatives and ideas/suggestions from other visitors to this site. www.fund-raising.com
- The Grantsmanship Center: Lists publications on fundraising, grant announcements, directories and information from federal and state government agencies. It also has an on-line magazine. www.tgci.com
- The Foundation Center: This is a non-profit clearinghouse that helps individuals and organizations obtain funding by providing information on foundations, corporate giving, and other funding-related subjects. The on-line publications catalogue contains a list of all Foundation Center CD-ROMS and print publications. They also conduct instructional sessions on proposal writing. www.fdncenter.org