Since 2020, I’ve been awarded over $65,000 in grants. Although I don’t get selected for all of the ones I apply for, I’ve learned a thing or two from applying to dozens of them. On Feb 25th, I won a $10,000 grant and compiled some tips that help me get selected out of the thousands that apply.
First, I should probably tell you what a grant is. Grants are a way of securing funding for various projects, businesses, and research. Many are funded by the government of Canada, others by private organizations. If you’re wondering where to find grants, I share them monthly in my newsletter which you can sign up for here.
The competition to get a grant can be fierce, and it takes more than just a good idea to get selected. In this blog post, I will give you five tips that can help you get selected for grants.
Develop a Clear and Concise Proposal
The first step to getting selected for a grant is to develop a clear and concise proposal. The proposal should be well-written and easy to understand. It should also clearly outline the problem you are trying to solve, how you plan to solve it, and the expected outcomes. Also, remember this problem can be solved by so many people. It’s important to share why you, specifically, are the person they should trust to solve it. Your proposal should also be specific to the grant you are applying for. Many people write generic proposals but don’t take into account what the application is asking for. Take the time to research the grant and tailor your proposal to fit the requirements. Here’s an example of what I’ve written on a grant application:
Problem: The financial education industry in Canada is white-male dominated where concepts are presented in a manner that is not relatable to the average person, and reinforces the racial and gender wage gaps that are present. There are very few people making this information available in an accessible manner, and even less who make it accessible to BIPOC Canadians.
Solution: Reni The Resource is a financial education platform that fills in these gaps. We create educational, accessible, and affordable financial literacy content to teach BIPOC Canadians ages 18 to 35 about financial literacy. Don’t Go Broke Trying is our podcast, hosted by a Black woman, that makes complex financial topics simple and allows underrepresented people to see themselves and know that conversations about money are for them, too.
Demonstrate Your Expertise and Passion
Grants are often awarded to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated expertise in their field and have a passion for their work. Make sure your proposal demonstrates your expertise and passion. Highlight your achievements, any relevant experience, and any publications or presentations you have given. You best believe that on every grant application I’m showcasing all of the relevant awards I’ve won, previous grants I’ve received, and work I’ve completed. Basically, you get to brag about yourself so make sure you do it well. Show that you are committed to your project and that you have the skills and knowledge to execute it successfully. Think of it this way. Funders just want to know that if they give you this money, you will be a success story. If you can show them a proven track record success, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their money.
Build Strong Relationships
Building relationships with potential funders can significantly increase your chances of getting selected for a grant. Attend networking events, conferences, and workshops to meet potential funders and build relationships with them. Take the time to understand their priorities and interests, and show them how your project aligns with their goals. Futurpreneur and the DMZ host some amazing webinars where you can connect with potential funders.
Provide a Realistic Budget
Grants often require a detailed budget that outlines how you plan to use the funds. Make sure your budget is realistic and feasible. Research the cost of materials, equipment, and labor and factor in any unexpected expenses. Be transparent about your budget and show that you have put in the effort to develop a realistic plan. Don’t just pull numbers out from thin air because they can see right through you.
Keep All Your Past Applications On Hand
Sometimes we don’t apply to grants because the application process seems daunting and overwhelming. We leave it open in a tab and by the time we look at it again the deadline to apply has already passed. This you? Do better lol. This used to be me and I found that the reason I missed these deadlines was because I had to use so much brain power for the applications. Now, I keep a copy of every application that I complete because I realize that every grant asks for pretty much the same thing. When you can work with a base application and then tweak it to fit your needs, it’s much easier than starting from scratch. The more grants you apply to, the more you’ll get.
Getting selected for a grant is not easy, but following these five tips can significantly increase your chances of success. Develop a clear and concise proposal, demonstrate your expertise and passion, build strong relationships, provide a realistic budget, and submit a complete application building off your previous applications. With hard work and perseverance, you can secure the funding you need to turn your idea into a reality. Good luck! Get that $hmoney!
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