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The current economic crisis has meant cuts in services everywhere, especially in the social services sector in all countries. As dismal as this sounds, there are still many philanthropic foundations giving money away to worthy causes. In the 1990s, orphanages -- more popularly termed "group homes"-- began to reemerge as a more viable option than foster care for parent-less children. The more funding that dwindles from government coffers the more important private funding becomes. Grant writing isn't difficult but it does require good writing skills and a good amount of tenacity.
Decide what kind of orphanage or group home facility you want to build. Will it serve children with specific circumstances (such as terminally ill children or international children)? Where do you want to build it? There may be more money available to build orphanages in foreign countries than in the U.S. Granting agencies are usually very specific about their activities, so have a well-defined vision of your project.
Research foundations that fund the kind of project you want to create, and research the kinds of projects that receive funding. Familiarize yourself with the the largest charitable foundations and review their giving history. Include smaller foundations. A well thought out project is advantageous to grant making institutions because they want to be associated with successful projects, not ill-conceived ones they think are doomed to fail.
Take a grant writing course. There are many online grant writing courses -- some free. Some colleges offer certificate programs in grant writing. You will be able to get personal attention to your project and greater assurance of success for funding your project. Grant writing can be a daunting task and it serves you well to have as much support as you can.
Create a written plan, similar to a business plan. The more money you are requesting the more complex the grant writing process will be. This written plan will be the blueprint for your project. Funding agencies like to fund projects that can be successfully replicated. You will need a detailed narrative, budget, time line and other items depending on the agency.
Download grant applications from the internet or call to request them. In some cases, you may have to send a letter of inquiry. Some agencies accept applications only by invitation. Your project should be well developed conceptually before you begin the actual grant writing process.
Write the grant proposals once you are clear about the foundations that fund the type of project you have in mind. Always write proposals to more than one agency in case you are turned down. This is where your tenacity pays off.
Dina Gilio-Whitaker began writing professionally as a freelance journalist in 2001 when she focused on community activism. She has a bachelor's degree in Native American studies with a political science minor and is currently a graduate student in American studies at the University of New Mexico. Gilio-Whitaker has won numerous awards for her academic writing and is an accomplished Native American artist, crafter and dancer.