The main difference between a grant and a loan is repayment. A loan requires you to repay the money you borrow, whereas a grant does not. Grants may be awarded by government departments, trusts, or corporations and given to individuals, businesses, educational institutions, or non-profits.
A grant may be given for any purpose, including paying for education, scientific research, launching a business or creating a non-profit organization. These organizations cannot give you money to open a restaurant, buy big screen TV, or pay your bills, for example. You can apply for a grant to assist you in accomplishing your goals and living your life.
A grant must be used the way the donor specifies, unless the money is to be used for basic operating activities and does not cover capital costs. The grant should have a sunset date and the amount of money the organization can request may not be revised. If your grant requirement changes because of the amount of money you will be getting, you may have to renegotiate. In order to avoid disagreements or misunderstandings, an organization must match every dollar of your grant with a dollar of their own money.
A loan is an agreement between a lender and a borrower in which the borrower agrees to pay the lender back with money plus a little more money known as interest. To get a loan, the borrower must have collateral or a written guarantee from someone with a lot of money. Lenders are nervous if they can’t find something to take in case they don’t get paid back. Some lenders will use your home as collateral, which means that until you pay back the loan, you can’t sell your house. The amount of interest on a loan depends on what the current interest rate is and what the lender is charging. The lender uses the interest to pay for the costs of setting up the loan.
The United States has one of the largest grants programs in the world. There are thousands of grant programs that are run by the Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Labor, as well as dozens of other agencies. Grants may be awarded directly from the U.S. government or from individual agencies or departments that have funding available. More than 80 types of grants are awarded to citizens and organizations each year. Grants awarded by the U.S. government have become very competitive in recent years.
You may view the government’s grants programs at www.grants.gov. Once you have viewed and studied the various programs, analyze which ones will be of the most help in getting you funded. You can then compose an excellent grant proposal to support your request. Make one final pass through your work, edit, and proofread it. After putting your proposal in a professional format, email it to the agencies that administer the grant program you chose. Only fully developed grant proposals will be considered.