Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's the Value of a Mini-Grant?

Mini-grants are grants for a relatively small amount of money.  Some people call a grant a mini-grant if it is for less than $1,000.  Others think it's a mini-grant if it is for less than $10,000. There's no formal definition, but you get the point, right?  Mini-grants are small grants.

Because they are small, they don't get the respect they deserve. Large grants of $100,000 or more are sexy and get lots of attention, and people clamor to complete proposals for the big grants, but some mini-grant awards are granted with relatively little competition. 

Why?  People look for a big dollar solution to multiple problems rather than multiple smaller dollar solutions. This is a mistake. It's like jumping off a boat into the ocean before you know how to swim.

Mini-grants are the wading pools of the grant world. They provide you valuable grant writing experience.  When you do well, you are rewarded with a payoff that can help you fund something your organization needs. When you fail, you learn a lesson without having invested hundreds of hours to learn it.  And with each failure, you get a little better.  With each mini-grant success, you gain a little confidence.

Then you move from the wading pool of mini-grants to the deep end of the big pool, and you apply for some mid-size grants. Success gives you the skill and confidence you need to fish in the big ocean of large grants.

The first grant I wrote was a mini-grant. It was a five page application, and I struggled with it for a week. The 30-75 page applications I write now contain most of the same components as that first mini-grant, but they feel different. The only real difference is that now I know how to "swim."

So, what's the real value of a mini-grant? Mini-grants can give you more than a few hundred or a few thousand dollars.  They can give you the experience and confidence you need to succeed with larger grants in the future.

That makes them very valuable.

Become a member of grantgoddess.com to have access to Mini-Grant Central in the new CRR Forum!

No comments:

About Creative Resources & Research

My photo
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.