The U.S. federal government provides an abundance of grants for women, from educational grants for individuals to grants for established organizations working on women-related issues.
One of the fastest growing funding opportunities is for women in business. According to GrantsForWomen.org, 75 percent of women in the United States earn less than their male colleagues in the same position. Women still suffer from discrimination and underestimation, so the accessibility of grants is essential.
Research and take notes on appropriate grants. Finding the right grant(s) to apply for can be a long, tedious process, as there are many available. All three websites listed under the Resources section have extensive listings of existing funding, although GrantsForWomen.org lists endowment funding from private and nonprofit organizations, in addition to those offered by the government.
Search for available grants at the websites listed by clicking on "Find Grant Opportunities." Next choose "Advanced Search." If choosing a grant for personal use (rather than for an organization) then under the "Search by Eligibility" option, pick "individual."
Download and complete a grant application package from the agency's website. On grants.gov, successful download requires a compatible Adobe software version. Different agencies have varying requirements, so be sure to read instructions thoroughly and complete all requirements. Some grants may require detailed proposals and budgets, especially business start-up grants.
Submit the application and all supporting material. For grants applied for through grants.gov, the website offers a tracking function through which the applicant can keep track of the application status. Once the application has completely downloaded, fill in the required information. Some applications require attachments, which need to be saved as PDF files only. If unable to complete the application at once, select the "save" option at the top of the form. This will save the application on the computer and the applicant can continue at any time.
Observe deadlines closely. Missing a deadline can mean having to wait a long period of time before grant proposals are considered again.
When applying for multiple grants at the same time, it may be helpful to make an application checklist for each one. Additionally, the applicant can view any previously submitted application by visiting the grant website and logging in. Options include tracking what has already been submitted. Most sites recommend turning in a grant application at least 10 days before the deadline in case there is any need for changes. For more information on a grant's description, go to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at https://www.cfda.gov/.
- two businesswomen image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com