Many “invention-minded” individuals and organizations are embarking on a challenge of initiating the development of new technologies that will benefit society and the greater good. New technology projects may sound and look great, but the question is, how are they going to pay for the expenses?
To get these ideas started and transformed into a concrete reality, funding programs and resources are made available to help projects with funding needs even during tough economic times.
Building a relationship
Writing technology grants to get funded is like building a relationship. As a grant seeker, you need to initiate and establish rapport with philanthropic foundations and organizations. You need to communicate with people who can sympathize to your mission and purpose and understand your current need. Ultimately, you need to articulate well your case in a written proposal.
This relationship does not end right after you successfully obtained a funding assistance. As a recipient, you need to maintain open communication, make a follow-up report throughout the funding period, and carry out an evaluation strategy to show how your project has succeeded as planned. Aside from a strong background history, having a long-term communication will definitely earn the trust of funding sources.
Let them realize how your discovery and/or invention helped and will help people become smarter, work better, and more efficient. Let them realize how the financial assistance played and will play a significant contribution.
Developing a plan
As part of your strategic planning, you, as a fund seeker, need to develop a technology project plan that will clarify how you plan to use the grant funding. Writing technology grants involve articulating concrete needs and identifying specific costs.
Along the way, you need to remain accurate, consistent, and diligent in your application. Budget amounts should first of all focus on organizational mission and programs, rather than pursuing innovations.
How to apply
Looking for and applying for technology grants should target technology funders. One way to do this is to expand your search in libraries and online search engines to include the key word “capacity building.”
Another way is to look for the programs termed as “technical assistance grants.” Most of the time, some funding sources provide money to pay for external consultants who can provide expertise on a specific field of science.
Compared to national foundations, community foundations are better sources of technology grants. Many small and medium non-profit organizations get more chances with community foundations rather than national foundations that prefer investing in regional or national level projects.
Explore and maximize your current existing resources. If your organization already has equipment for less important aspects, perhaps you can skip making new purchases but rather focus on more important aspects of your project.
When writing technology grants, one may check out the Foundation Center at http://www.foundationcenter.org and The GrantStation at http://www.granstation.com for up-to-date information about award opportunities that may fit to your project. Aside from research, these web sites can also give you a chance to interact directly with funders.