Government grants for women are a thing often talked about but rarely pursued. Each year, the government offers millions of dollars to women with no required repayment or interest attached. Generally, being awarded federal grants is difficult task at best, but by using certain tactics you can increase your chances of being a recipient of the prized funds.
Government Grants Explained
A federal government grant is an award of financial assistant from the government to a recipient to carry out a specific purpose. In many ways, it is similar to a gift of money. There is no interest or need to repay the funds, no required credit checks, collateral or co-signers and anyone or any group can apply regardless of bad credit or bankruptcy. Each year, the U.S. Government makes available to citizens and organizations the opportunity for millions of dollars in funds. Federal grants, however, may not be used to acquire services or property for the federal government's benefit.
Each grant has its own application requirements and procedures. The government runs a website that assists potential recipients in discovering available grants and detailing how to apply. There is no limit to the number of grants an organization or individual can apply for in each application cycle. Typically, recipients are required to provide periodic progress reports.
Government Grants and Women
The federal government sets aside a specific amount of funds to be awarded to women. Some of the grants available for women can be used for college or other higher education, healthcare or to support low income households. Additionally, specific government business grants will support existing or establish new women owned businesses. Because these grants are for women only, the main applicant or intended beneficiary must be female.
The first step to getting a head start on receiving a government grant is to make a concrete, researched plan. The government will not simply award funds based on an application. The grant directors must be provided with legitimate reasons why you should receive the funds and about your specific plans for the money.
While you have a specific advantage in some circumstances as a woman, you will also have specific challenges. Competition, application requirements and instructions as well as other factors will affect your chances for the award.
Prior to applying for a grant, have a concrete and realistic budget. Research prices, costs and any anticipated returns on the money that this information can be detailed in the application. It may be helpful to develop a budget timeline so that your intended use of the money can be thoroughly explained.
Pick the Right Grant
Investigate each offered federal grant thoroughly to see which ones best fit your business or other intentions. Do not make the mistake of applying for the biggest or most widely publicized grants; as often there are smaller grants that are less sought after and that when combined will equate the total amount needed. Simply put: the smaller the pool of competition the better chance you have.
As a woman, there are definite grants which the chances of receiving are better than others. A good starting point is to narrow your search to only those grants available to women. After this primary elimination, narrow your search further using race and occupation. Women owned business receive special preference.
Follow the Application Instructions
After researching and planning, the next step is to apply for grants. Not following the application instructions or skimping on the information you provide are the biggest problems that will prevent you from receiving the award. Reading the entire application before beginning its completion will reduce the number of mistakes and problems.
Get Some Help
If you haven't ever before applied for a grant, you are not alone. Prior to completing your application, investigate whether there are non-profit groups, classes or tutorials able to help you with your application. Additionally, check online for grant-specific advice. Seek out the best help available, but never pay for help, an application, or other grant advice.
The government makes special provision for women, particularly women owned business, in their grant awards. For these grants, use gender to your advantage. Planning, researching and following the application instructions will also increase your chance of receiving government funding. Most importantly, do not be intimidated. Grant money money is available to anyone and everyone, but you cannot receive it if you do not apply.