Grants are financial assistance to various nonprofit organizations from federal and state agencies, as well as private philanthropic organizations. Unlike loans, credit or other forms of debt financing, grants require no repayment. Federal agencies do not issue grants for businesses or individuals, although small business grants do exist through private organizations. You can apply for federal, state and private grants in a few steps.

Search for federal, state and private grants online. Use, a government-run grant search engine, to find federal grants. Foundation Center is a noncommercial, nonprofit private grant search engine. Many state websites list grant opportunities from state agencies.

Click on a grant that suits your organization's needs. Download the grant's application packet (usually in PDF form), which will include submission instructions, application form(s) and grant information.

Complete the grant's application form(s). After filling in the information, double-check it for accuracy.

Write a proposal outlining your organization's history, purpose, target demographic, need for funding and a description of your project requiring funding, including details and timeline. Also, include a descriptive project budget accounting for every dollar of the grant money.

Review your grant proposal for accuracy and completeness, as well as grammar and spelling.

Submit your application forms and proposal to the granting agency. Some organizations allow you to apply online, while others require you to fax or mail.


If you do not have much writing experience, you can hire a professional grant writer.

Research the granting agencies or private organizations at their websites, calling or emailing organizational contacts and reading news stories about the organizations. Researching helps you understand more about the foundation issuing the grant and will help you write a better proposal.