Grants · Fundraising

What is the best method for researching, finding, and applying for grants?

Kevin Macconkey Founder @ContentCollective Marketing; Founder @Kickstand Coaching; Copywriting & Content Specialist

November 15th, 2016

a. What are the best grants for web-based businesses?
b.  Where can I find the best information on them? 
c. What is the best process for applying?

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

November 15th, 2016

In our area (Greater Boston) there is a great resource - The Boston Foundation has a comprehensive library of grant sources and a very knowledgeable staff. I suspect that other areas of the country have equivalent services. I am sure that there are online information sources as well, although I suspect they are not comprehensive.

Marvin Rethmel owner/operator

November 18th, 2016

I agree with Robert . I have been searching for a grant for 2 years. to help enlarge my current very small Aquaponics business. its either expand or quit.

NRCS a part of the USDA here in New York , were giving out grants to anyone who was putting up green houses. I could not apply because I grow in water and not soil. then I was told to have my wife apply, she would not do that its not her business. I even met the 10% matching part of the grants. so after 2 years I am still moving forward because the grant is not the focus .the focus is succeeding in what I started. I believe that grants can serve a purpose however they are not the solution. 

Shirley Moore Co-Founder/Owner at Be Moore Interpreting

November 16th, 2016

We are working with Renae Johnson from on our grants. She's a phenomenal resource! 

Robert Warren Founder and Managing Director, Mean Eyed Cat Venture Labs

November 15th, 2016

It depends on where you live and what you intend to do.  If your goal is to create a one person operation you probably aren't eligible as most grants either expressly or implicitly require that you add jobs.  Your best bet for locating grants in your area is to ask someone at the local incubator or check an online source as identified by Martin Omansky.  One thing to avoid is paying for a list of available grants as this information is freely available.

Before you apply, you should arrange to meet with the granting agency to learn three things:

1. Do you qualify?  
2. Are they accepting applications?  Some groups have specific intake dates that you have to work around while others may be fully expended for the current fiscal year.
3.  What do they want to see in your proposal?  Every agency is different and the level of information required is often dependent on the reviewer.  If they publish a list of grant recipients call one or two and ask what they did.  As part of this question, find out how much cash you need to put up.  Most grants use some form of matching system.  If you are seeking a grant because you have no cash, they aren't an answer.

One piece of advice, only use grants to top up funding.  The process for getting a grant is often long and may not suit the timing of your business.  You should also consider the grant provider may require you to do things that aren't in the best interest of your business.  This can often result in the business losing focus and growing based on the granting agency's requirements rather than solid business reasons.  Whatever you do, do not become addicted to grants as research and experience shows this is not a successful way to grow a business.