Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grant Opportunities in Tough Economic Times - Separating Myth from Reality

It's hard to escape messages about the troubled state of the economy these days. On television, the radio, even in casual conversations on the street, it seems like everyone is talking about difficult economic conditions and the dismal prospects for the next few years. I have had several conversations about grant writing with folks in the last few days, and the theme I hear is the same - "There probably won't be any good grants out this year because of the economy." Well, that is not necessarily so.

Let's separate some myth from reality:

Myth - A downturn in the economy always means fewer grant opportunities. This is just not so. There are many factors that affect the availability of grant opportunities.

Myth - There will not be any grant applications out this year. Not so. I already have the scoop on several RFPs that are in the editing process and on their way out. Keep your eyes open.

Myth - The change in presidential administration will mean fewer grant opportunities. Again, this is not necessarily so. In fact, Democratic administrations historically have favored discretionary grant opportunities as a way of distributing funds, particularly for programs for disadvantaged youth. Republican administrations prefer direct grants to states, but they have never eliminated discretionary grant competitions completely (case in point, haven't there been a bunch of federal grants available in the last eight years?).

Reality - We are going through an economic rough patch and this will have some effect of federal and state budgets. Indeed, it has already had some effect on grant funding. It is unclear, though, exactly what the full impact will be.

Reality - With a change in presidential administration, there are many uncertainties in the grant world. So, we have to watch and wait a bit. What's new?

Reality - Most economic downturns don't last more than a year or two.

Reality - When economic times are hard, grant opportunities have historically been one way that government officials have chosen to distribute limited funds.

So, let's all stay calm. Be patient. There will be grant opportunities available this year - and next year, too. We just need to be prepared for change and ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Do your grant planning as you would in any other year, and watch for the right opportunities for your organization to become available.

Are you ready?

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About Creative Resources & Research

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.