Does everyone qualify for a grant?
There are grants for for-profit companies, non-profit companies, individuals, and other applying entities. However, unlike infomercials, grant funding is not available to all businesses, for all purposes, all the time.
Most grants are designed to operate programs and most grants are designed for tax-exempt organizations. Nonprofit organizations with IRS exempt and charitable status may qualify for foundation, corporate, and government grants. So if you are looking for grant funding for a program for a tax-exempt organization, there are probably one or more sources available to you.
There are around 100,000 sources of funding for foundations and companies. Each has a specific purpose and a geographic area in which they will provide funding. Sometimes the geographic area is limited to a single city or the community where the corporation is headquartered. Others may fund projects at the state, national, or international level.
For-profit businesses are more likely to qualify for government grants as specified in the Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFA or Notice). Not all of these businesses or purposes are good for receiving grant funds. As a general rule of thumb, general retail and wholesale businesses are not eligible for grants. While there is always an exception to the rule, there are very few grant financing opportunities for these types of businesses. Most of the grants received by companies other than those that are tax-exempt would be for scientific research, medical research, development of alternative energy sources, or improvement of the country’s infrastructure. Businesses like trucking, yard care, and restaurants will find it very difficult to find a suitable subsidy.
Individuals such as artists, educators, researchers, and healthcare professionals may qualify for a small number of grants from the foundation as specified. Other people may qualify for government grants; many of these grants are administered by state and local governments.
The most important indicator of whether or not an applicant will receive funding is: how closely the applicant’s purpose and project meet the funding source’s mission and funding priority. The stronger your program fits the purpose for which the funder wants to award an award, the better your chances. The more you chase the money, the less likely you are to win any funding awards.
Then there could be several other features of the application process that are woven into the full instructions, such as having to include your own matching funds or submit a required Letter of Intent before you can submit the full proposal.
Working with a professional grant writing association can significantly improve your chances of finding the best matching grant funding opportunities.