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If you’re in a student-led organization, you know how hectic it can be to organize events and fundraisers. You also might know how challenging it is to make a difference when none of your club members have adequate funds for something. Grants for college student organizations are essential because they allow your organization to accomplish all its dreams while making a difference on your campus.
Some might consider grants “free money,” but they typically require a rigorous application process that involves a lot of time and effort. If you’re applying for a grant, your organization should do it together — if the foundation allows it — so that you can shoulder the responsibilities between officers. Think about what kind of foundation your organization would appeal to, and go from there.
Essential Skills You Need for the Grant Process
These skills are helpful in all aspects of life, not just when writing grant proposals and filling out applications, but they’re crucial to have when you’re asking foundations and companies to invest in your club. Grants for college student organizations might be hard to attain if you don’t have the right skills.
Often, you’ll find that you need to prepare a grant proposal to be considered for a grant, even if it’s for your organization. You can think of these proposals as similar to your college entrance essay but more intensive. Your grant proposal is your opportunity to show off expertise in your field and the level of planning you’ve put into your organization.
Your words need to be honest and upfront while still giving off a persuasive and aspirational air. You must show the companies and foundations you’re writing to why your organization would benefit so much from the extra funding.
Your research skills should be impeccable after spending time in university classes. You should use these skills to narrow down your list of foundations to reach out to. You don’t want to submit applications to every foundation or company that offers grants — else, you’ll see quite a few rejections. You want to identify a foundation that aligns with your values or what you think your organization would be an excellent match for. Scanning foundations for quality and similarity can help you stand out and craft a better proposal or impress the foundation on your application.
3. Asking for Help
Searching and applying for grants can be a grueling process. You’ll need a support system to back you up and help you find grants or fill out applications. Your organization should work on this task together, not devote it all to one person.
If you work together, you’ll likely accomplish more than you could alone. Talking to faculty members, especially your organization’s advisor, or your student government association can also help you understand which direction you should take your organization’s applications for grants and other forms of funding.
5 Ways to Find Grants for College Student Organizations
Finding grants for organizations isn’t always easy. Many college-level grats are geared toward individual students, such as those who receive monetary support based on needs or status. Many foundations offer grants to organizations, but ones at the college level can be harder to come by.
1. Study Your School’s Website
First, you should look for any information on your college’s website about clubs and organizations. Some of the information listed on relevant web pages could direct you to grants that could fit your specific needs, and it could also outline rules and restrictions for applying for grants.
Your school may offer you funding for certain on-campus events that your organization hosts. Some campuses may have a cap on how much funding a single organization can acquire through the school itself during a single semester, so if possible, you may need to turn to other forms of financing to accomplish all of your monetary needs.
2. Search for Your Unique Factor
If you seek to establish an organization at your school that isn’t already represented in some way, especially if it’s a form of art, you may find that certain companies or foundations will want to sponsor your club to ensure that it keeps going.
Some foundations may choose to monetarily support organizations that include art and have the chance to reach people that otherwise couldn’t be touched by art. Similarly, other supporters might opt for granting funding to organizations that support math, science, and other technical subjects, particularly if they include women.
Finding out what makes your organization unique and pursuing foundations committed to helping that niche is one way to ensure that you’ll be applying for the proper grants. Narrowing down your search means that you’ll find grants more relevant to your club.
3. Ask Someone Directly
When in doubt, reach out. Asking an authority figure, such as a staff member that works with your school’s student-led organizations, is the right direction to go when it comes to looking for grants that fit your organization. They may be able to help you with filling out applications and directing you through each step. You may also find the process less stressful if you have someone to guide you through your first application.
4. Consider Sponsorships
Sponsorships are different from grants, but you receive funding from both. Sponsorships are usually from smaller businesses and are built into a company’s marketing budget. They might require some involvement on your part for you to receive the money, but you won’t necessarily have to put in an application for a sponsorship in the same way you would a grant.
Instead of a lump sum from a grant, sponsorships may be recurring without your organization having to reapply for them. Just make sure that you’re following the rules your school has laid out for sponsorships regarding student-led organizations. As long as you read everything thoroughly, you should feel prepared to take on sponsorships.
5. Look for Federal Grants
If private grants don’t seem to apply to your organization, you should determine your eligibility for receiving federal grants. You can check your organization’s eligibility on the Grants.gov website and see if the requirements line up with your club. The website also has a helpful guide that can teach you what you don’t know about grants. It’s a worthwhile resource even if you don’t plan to apply for federal funding.
3 Interesting Grants to Consider
Grants for college student organizations are typically specific. You may find that the more niche grants are the more desirable ones, so your organization should search for unique grants that meet your needs and serve organizations like yours.
Whenever you find a grant you want to apply to, be sure to read its information and requirements thoroughly so that you don’t accidentally miss the deadline or apply for something your organization doesn’t qualify for. Once you pinpoint the niche that your organization fits, find the foundation that’s right for you.
1. Sony Grants
The company Sony gives a grant to organizations that specialize in all fields. Everything from art to technology has a chance at earning this grant, which could be excellent for your college club to look into. If your organization falls under a specific discipline that seeks to educate others about that field, you may be an excellent candidate for one of Sony’s grants.
All you must do is submit a written request for the grant rather than an application. The request should detail exactly what you would do with the money you would receive from Sony. Flex your writing muscles, display honesty, and promote motivation.
2. Tensor Women & Mathematics Grants
If your organization centers around supporting women in math fields, this grant would be excellent for your club to apply for. The Tensor Women & Mathematics grant has an application process that goes through a panel for approval.
Your organization may not be able to apply for this grant alone, like many others. Consider having your mathematics department faculty representative step in and fill out the application on your behalf. You can also apply for renewals, which will make it easy for you to secure funding as years go by.
3. ecoTech Grants
Perfect for college students, this grant by the Captain Planet Foundation allots funding for good causes that aim to incorporate the environment and technology in a symbiotic relationship seamlessly. This exciting grant could be an excellent option for ecological organizations and technological organizations alike.
If this foundation piques your organization’s interest, your club might fit the second requirement for the application — wanting to use technology to improve your local community ecologically. If you plan to tackle a community service project and want to add tech to the mix, consider applying for this grant from the Captain Planet Foundation.
Finding the Best Grant for Your Organization
Even if the process of searching for grants for college student organizations is challenging, you shouldn’t give up. When all feels lost, rely on the other members of your organization to keep you afloat and help you search for other foundations. You can always ask a school official to help you with your search. Before long, you’ll be writing proposals and filling out applications, awaiting the next step of your journey.