When it comes to launching, continuing, or finalizing a personal or professional project, finances are a critical factor. Depending on the scale and subject of the project, sources of financing could come from a variety of institutions or individuals—and also require quite a bit of work.
Many government grants in the US, for example, require recipients to carefully document where each penny goes. Non-profits, in particular, face ongoing and detailed reports about their quarterly finances. From the outside looking in, all the hustle associated with acquiring funds might seem a bit confusing—after all, we live in an era of free offers.
Whether looking to down a mobile app that provides GPS, email, or weather, there are dozens of free options available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There are even free slots listed online that let gamers shop around for the best titles, from fantasy to pop culture themes. Even skincare and beauty products today come with a free trial for consumers, from Sephora to Lumin.
In a world of free products and services, nabbing funding might seem like an impossible task. However, by following a few of the steps below, you can put yourself in a better position to bring in extra dollars for your latest project.
Project Costs Down to the Penny
They say the devil is in the details, and that’s especially true when there’s money involved. If you need to request additional funds, whether great or small, then show that you’re dedicated by breaking down where every cent will go.
After all, the individuals and organizations that can afford to fork over funds tend to keep rigorous books themselves. By using excel or a similar app, compile all of your predicted costs, then highlight the expected outcomes (and possibly ROI) for each category of funding. In addition to looking more appealing to investors, it will also simplify your appeal presentation.
Create a Tiered System
While building out a breakdown of funding needs, many project managers also create a tiered system for their funding requests. Rather than giving an investor the option to either opt-in or out of your project, a tiered system lets them get in on the ground floor however they’re most comfortable.
For example, if you’re hoping to publish a book but need funds, you might be looking for money to pay for an editor, cover designer, and marketing plan. In a tiered approach to requesting funds, you can simply ask for someone to pay for one of the above costs. While an investor might not be able to fork over $2,000 for edits, they might be more willing to cover a graphic designer who will create a book cover for $500.
Depending on what type of project you need to fund, you might be applying for public or private grants. A grant is a sum of money awarded to a person with no expectation of being paid back. Many people forget that grants can be highly specific—and highly localized.
Keep in mind that most grants are geared toward college students, which means you’ll need to do a bit of research about the funds available for the average professional. However, grants for entrepreneurs do exist—and they’ve gained traction in recent years, along with crowdsourcing channels like GoFundMe and Kickstarter.
In terms of local grants, consider looking into influential players in your local economy. Walmart, for example, has a whole chapter of local community grants that are designed to empower community-based projects to non-profits. Others, like the 500 Global Flagship Accelerator Program, target specific new entrepreneurial startups.