Finding grants can feel like a daunting process. Grants can be difficult to find, hard to qualify for, and highly competitive. Your application and proposal must rise to the top of thousands of applicants.
We’re here to help with 11 tips from team Yukonstruct +I&E who work with local entrepreneurs everyday to find funding and other business support.
1. Understand what grants might be available to you. Yukonstruct’s pathfinding program is a free resource to help you navigate the local grant opportunities
2. Connect with the grant funder BEFORE the deadline. Most grant funders want to see your application succeed! By calling the number and/or contact email you can ask for someone to review your application before submitting it officially. Most grantors recommend doing this to start building a relationship with and to minimize your risk of putting the wrong information in your application.
3. Ask for the amount you need, not the amount you want. Unless you need the maximum funding for a project, funders can deny a good application if they think it is asking for more money than the project needs. Apply for what you need to accomplish your project, or revisit the scope of your project
4. Including quotes will help you create a more accurate budget and show to funders that you are serious about the project. Ask for professional quotes well in advance. Most professionals will need time to understand the amount of work required to complete your proposal. Give them plenty of time to give you full quotes.
5. Collect reference letters. Funders are generally more favorable to projects that have strong partners, and clear support from business or organizations with positive reputations. They also want to confirm that you have written commitments from any partners listed in your proposal.
6. Write your grant in Google docs or Word. There is nothing more heartbreaking than working on a grant for weeks …only to watch it vanish! Most grants provide a portal or document you can fill out, but they are notorious for crashing without notice or getting lost on your computer. Plus, by creating a grant folder you can access anytime, you will be ready for future grant applications when they often ask similar questions!
7. Reapply if you are denied and ask for feedback if you are denied. Always take the opportunity to build that relationship with funders.
8. Grants take time. They are not free money! They will often take days/weeks of research to carry out properly. Even successful grants can take months/years to receive money in the bank, so don’t count on receiving grants.
9. Seek other types of funding such as microloans, and financing, etc.
10. Different grants are awarded differently – some grants match dollars (they will give you one dollar for every dollar you invest), some grants will only reimburse (pay you money after you have spent money and shown receipts), while others will only pay for work done after they have approved it. Should your application be successful, be sure to ask the funder to clarify what is eligible and the conditions of the grant.
11. There are more ways to finance your business than just grants.
Ready to move beyond grants? Find opportunities beyond grants like the Yukon Investment Challenge. This challenge is perfect for those looking to raise funds and grow their impact company to the next level.
But how do you know if you’re ready? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!
To get your ready to raise capital for your growing business, we’re running an incredible program this fall, in partnership with YukonU I&E and Spring Activator called the Investment Readiness Training Program. This 8 session fall program will cover the ins and outs of raising capital, from the legal implications, to how to pitch, to having your finances ready for investors to review. Deadline to apply is September 1st, so consider applying today! We hope to see you there