It is no great revelation that money is harder to come by than ever; and those who depend on grant funds know that many of the programs they have relied on have disappeared, have had funding reduced, or had funding eliminated altogether. As a result, projects have been postponed, programs scaled back, and in many cases, services have been suspended. As I have said in previous articles, while cutbacks are necessary in lean times, efforts should also be made to increase revenues where possible. One source that should be considered is the pool of smaller grants, which are often overlooked by organizations that feel they are not worth the trouble. If you have shrugged off this source in the past, let me suggest that you take another look to see if one or more smaller grants could help you meet some of your goals.

Some of the programs that I have applied to on behalf of clients, or made my clients aware of, include Bank of America’s Local Heroes program, which makes grants of $5,000 available to the favorite charities of individuals nominated and selected as Local Heroes in their communities. Another source I have made clients aware of is the American Academy of Dermatology, which makes grants of $8,000 available for constructing shade structures over playgrounds. And Home Depot has a program that awards $5,000 in the form of Home Depot gift cards to successful applicants. None of these awards would be considered windfalls by most, but each could make a real difference to an organization in need of funding for a specific smaller project.

Why are small grant programs worth a second look? To start with, in many cases there are more of them available because the funders, usually corporations or corporations’ charitable foundations, can spread more money around by making smaller grants. If yours is a smaller organization, with little or no grant experience, small programs can be a great way to get exposure to the grant process, from application to administration; and the successful completion of a small grant project can help you establish a track record that may be useful at some future time to show a large funder that you can accomplish a grantor’s goals if awarded funds. Another benefit is that the application process for smaller grant programs is often not as complex as most of the larger programs (this is an opportune juncture to point out that, for this reason, Public Management & Funding Services charges very little to apply for small grants!); and the reporting and administration of the smaller grants is not terribly difficult. And, as noted before, small grants can be valuable in the accomplishment of many of the goals of smaller organizations, or even some of the smaller goals of large organizations.

In the quest for funds, I believe that some money is always better than no money. If you have a project that you believe might be helped along with a small grant, I hope you’ll give me a call. I would be happy to see if there is a program that we could match to your goal.