Whether you are actively looking into getting a grant for your project or you have plans to apply to one in the future, there are certain myths about grants you must know and dispel.
We have identified and explained nine of such myths below:
1.Grants are free money; there are no strings attached
By definition, grants come with restrictions. After landing a grant, your organization is charged to promise to use the money in a certain way. Furthermore, following reporting procedures and demonstrating programmatic progress is part of the promise. You can use the money and future funding opportunities from the grantor if you break the promise. Also, not following guidelines and regulations guiding federal grants can result in penalties, including hefty fines or jail time.
2.The essential goal of a successful grant is meeting the deadline
There are two fundamental goals regarding grants, including producing top-quality proposal and targeting it to the right grant agency. Many professors succumb to the urge to put deadlines ahead of other things when answering an EU proposal call. It is advisable to resist putting out eleventh-hour proposals to meet last-minute deadlines. The best process includes slowing down, producing a quality proposal, and submitting it to the agency now or next year to a similar agency.
3.Pulling together an application in no time is easy for my organization
All applications and the agencies that offer them have different criteria. Usually, the work preceding proposal writing is more time-consuming than the actual writing. Grant work varies for programs and projects, taking weeks or months for completion. Furthermore, grant work requires that you complete a go/no go assessment, ensuring you’re in the best position to move forward. Other parts of grant work require you to plan meetings, identify partners, assign roles, set applications, and gather and review documentation. You also need to ensure that everyone involved is onboarded for evening and weekend work. Writing, editing, proofreading, and submission are also part of the grant work.
4.Clicking the submit button by the deadline indicates application submission
Transmitting an error-free submission by the deadline indicates that your application submission is successful. Clicking the submit button and receiving an error message after the deadline does not give you time to correct deficiencies. The deficiency could be a simple administrative matter or your application missing a critical section. Nevertheless, you can go to the Grants Administration Office on campus as they are the only authorized entity for submitting grants.
5.Anyone can win a grant. Filling an application is all I need for the government/foundation to give me the money
It is important to note that there is high competition with most grant funding opportunities when applying for a federal grant. Always consider that your organization has competition in 50 states and five major territories. You also have competition in 11 smaller Pacific islands and 565 federally recognized tribes. Sometimes, fewer than 25 are awarded in federal-level grant competitions even after receiving thousands of grant applications.
6.Only those who have the greatest needs are awarded grants.
Usually, grants are awarded to applicants whose proposals meet the agency’s goals of seeming like they will deliver services better than other applicants. Only applicants that can deliver the agency’s interest get the grant. Often, grantors look out for credibility, ability, strength, and commitment in proposals.
7.Spending part of the grant on something other than what it is intended for is okay.
When completing your grant awarded project, the most important factors are your integrity, honesty, ability to run a solid non-profit agency, and raising funds. Usually, there are strict guidelines on what you can and cannot send the grant money on—choosing to spend the money on something not allowed means you may have to return the grant. Worse, you could lose future funding, face hefty fines or jail time.
8.A standard proposal is all I need
Building one grant template and sending it over and over to several funders is unwise. Grant makers are different. Therefore, tweaking your arguments to suit each grantors worldview is essential. Although some items in your grant, like your mission statement and organization history, are reusable pieces, you still need to refresh and retool most of your grant for each application.
9.Even if I send the same proposal to several grantors, one of them will definitely choose me for their grant.
It is important to note that federal agencies and foundations talk to each other. Finding out that your submission to more than one federal agency or foundation is the same project proposal means that they will most likely decide against funding you. They can even prevent you from obtaining future funding – meaning you are on a funding blacklist. Also, accepting grants from several grantors that are all Funding your one project with the same budget is illegal and unethical. Nevertheless, you can still send out the same proposal, but you should ask for funding for different parts of the budget for each submission. Also, tweaking each proposal, such that each project is slightly different, is acceptable.