Grants 101: Searching for Grant Opportunities

August 3, 2017- AWE Learning Staff

In the Spring, AWE Learning hired a full-time Grant Writer to help organizations bring digital learning tools to the young learners in their community. We had the opportunity to ask our Grant Writer some questions to provide suggestions in guiding your organization’s grant search process. Read below for our first blog post with tips… more to come!

Where should I start when searching for grants for my organization?

It is important to remember that grants exist for any type of non-profit. Start by carefully researching primary sources of funding: the public sector (federal, state, and local government) and the private sector (foundations and corporations).

On the federal end, examining the Department of Education is a good starting point as they occasionally have grants catered to libraries. Within your own backyard, review your state’s library website for suggested funding resources from state organizations, as well as money available through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding. Every year, the LSTA allocates funding to every state library, providing them with the ability to spread the money among the state’s numerous libraries. Most state libraries have a five year plan available on their website explaining their intentions with the funding they are provided. If you see that your state library is reaching the end of their five year plan, this is an ideal time to contact them and inquire when the next grant cycle will be, if it is not stated otherwise on their website.

The Foundation Center is another great resource for seeking out grant opportunities. As the world’s leading source of information on philanthropy, fundraising, and grant programs, their website provides lists, by state, of organizations that offer funding opportunities. It is also helpful to look for funding opportunities by simply searching on websites such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. When typing in keywords, remember to be as specific as possible (i.e. including your state, programming focus, etc.).

How do I know if my organization is eligible for a specific grant from a foundation?

Every foundation/organization that offers grant opportunities has a webpage dedicated to the necessary requirements to be eligible for funding. (If you are unable to locate this information, contact the organization to request this data.) Look over these requirements carefully and make sure that your organization meets their funding parameters (geographic area, program focus, etc.) prior to completing the application. Most organizations require that your organization is a 501(c)3, non-profit as determined by the Internal Revenue Service; many applications require you to include your EIN number.

If your organization does not identify as a 501(c)3, check with your Friends Group. If they are a 501(c)3, apply on their behalf. It if often difficult to find grants that are geared towards organizations that are not classified as non-profits.

Have specific questions you want to hear our Grant Writer discuss? Share your questions on Facebook and we’ll address them in future Grant Q&A posts!

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