According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2009) there are over 49.7 million Americans living with a disability. About two-thirds of these individuals have a severe disability. Whether, an individual or business, grants are available for persons with disabilities, if you know where to look. The Accessibility.org website reported every year over $1 trillion is granted to persons with disabilities and businesses. If you are in need of funding these tips may aid you in obtaining financial assistance to meet your individual or organizational needs.
How to Apply Online For Free Grants For Disabled People
Determine the need for funding. Despite the numerous funding opportunities, everyone who applies for funding doesn’t receive funding. Therefore it’s best to narrow down the various possibilities by determining your specific need. Individual funding can be used for housing modifications, transportation assistance i.e. a van with a wheelchair lift, assistive technology or medical interventions. For companies you can receive funding to support your current operations. However, if this is a new project, completing a needs assessment to survey the environment will be of help in decision making.
Conduct a needs assessment. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2009) a needs assessment is used whenever a business chooses to fulfill a need or want requiring organizational effort. Responding to an already identified need through a request for proposal (RFP) is sustainably easier than addressing an unmet need. A needs assessment will help with planning and decision making for the business. There are various types of assessments to choose from. For this reason, make sure you do your research and hire a professional if you don’t have the internal resources.
Request information. If you’ve never written a grant before and you don’t want to hire a grant writer, you may want to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Open Records Act. FOIA and Open Records Act were enacted to provide the public access to official documents. If you are concerned about the privacy of others, rest easy. The Privacy Act works in tandem with FOIA to protect individual privacy, however all other information may be requested.
Find funding. Grants are available for personal and business use. For domestic assistance check out the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to determine the right fit for domestic grants. If you are a business check out the Office of Disability and Employment Policy for agency grant funding. The key to finding a grant is to do your research. To make your decision, check out federal, state and county websites.
Apply for funding. Once you have determined an appropriate grant. Read the grant application or request for proposal (RFP) thoroughly and determine if you have the necessary resources to respond to each question. If not, don’t rule out hiring a grant writer. A professional grant writer can lend their expertise in writing as well as make recommendations on how to strengthen your application, thus increasing your chances for approval.
To take the stress out of writing, hire a professional grant writer to assist you. Making this tiny investment will not only limit your stress but ensure your grant application is complete and submitted in a timely manner.
There are lots of worthy causes and people in need of funding. Often times there simply isn’t enough money to go around. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t funded. Keep trying, eventually, your time will come.
Patricia A. Chatman is the director of workforce development services at Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit. She began her writing career in 1994 as a grant and proposal writer. Chatman is currently enrolled at Walden University pursing a Ph.D. in public policy and administration. She anticipates completing her Ph.D. in September of 2010.