Best PracticesGrants

Think outside the box

Don’t be afraid to apply for funds outside of your primary field. That is, if you’re a housing agency, it’s okay to apply for Department of Justice funds or Education funds (or whatever) so long as the funding’s purpose is a match with your mission.

As we get deeper into our professional life, we get stuck in a zone and think we can only apply for grants in our field. And, let’s be honest, this is a winning strategy. If you stick to what you know, and what’s comfortable, your organization can do very well with grants. On the other hand, every federal department has grants. Why limit yourself? Example: police departments tend to focus on Department of Justice and Homeland Security grants, but there are grants at Education, Agriculture and Health and Human Services that might be a good fit as well. Even utilities departments–which IMO have the fewest options–could benefit from looking beyond their traditional grant sources.

It takes a little extra effort, but you might be pleasantly surprised when you search for grants from federal departments you haven’t considered in the past.