Pros and Cons: Grants

You can pursue grants from foundations, corporations, or government agencies. You will need to write a grant proposal, following the guidelines of the potential funder.


  • You can receive generous amounts of money.
  • Once you have obtained one grant, you are more likely to receive others.
  • Receiving grants is a good way to build your organization's visibility and credibility. 


  • You need to do time-consuming research on the granting agency before writing the grant.
  • You need a person talented and experienced in writing grants who is also very familiar with your organization.
  • Competition is fierce, and the success rate is low. On the average day, roughly 2,700 grant proposals are submitted; fewer than 200 will receive funding.
  • There are strings attached to the money you receive. You can't do whatever you want with the funds.
  • Most grants are short term. When they run out, you have to start over. 


  • When writing your proposal, focus not on your needs but those of the potential funder.
  • It's crucial for you to have a well-defined mission statement and to find a funder whose mission statement dovetails with yours.
  • Pay special attention to the exercises you completed in step 3, in which you determined how your constituents defined your organization's strengths and market niche.
  • Assessing the funding environment through the eyes of a targeted donor is critical to proposal success. The Checklist For Grants will help you perform such an assessment.
  • If the funder turns down your grant proposal, don't be discouraged. Politely ask why you were turned down -- and what you can do to improve your chances next time.

For monthly updates on current grant opportunities, subscribe to the Society's e-newsletter - Funding Alert.



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