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Finding Grants
By Linda Campbell
Nov 6, 2002, 4:36pm

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Linda S. Campbell

2974 Stonyman Road

Luray VA  22835  USA


 Northeast Dairy Goat Herd Improvement Association - NY November 2, 2002






A grant is simply a contribution of money.  Some grants provide a hundred dollars, other provide hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The common thread in all grant allocation is very specific rules! Grant categories can include awards, general support, endowments, fellowships, matching funds, or continuing support.  Some have specific time frames, while others are ongoing. Some have geographic restrictions, while others are global.




This can take time and research efforts!  The first place to look is your local library, which can provide a wealth of information.   Some searching on the internet might provide it more quickly.  Several books that might be of interest:

The Art of Winning Corporate Grants by Howard Hillman

The Basic Handbook of Grants Management by Robert Lefferts


Seek out successful grant writers.  Grant writing is very competitive. There are professional grant writers who earn their income with hard work and long hours of research.  If you are considering the hiring of a grant writer, ask to review some copies of successful grants they have written.


Think creatively about the types of grants that might be workable for you.  Identify potential sources of funding - local, state, regional, national.  Think of proposals that might address marketing, small business, women owned, sustainable agriculture, ag tourism or other focuses that might have application to your goat operation.


Do your homework!  Research – research – research!




The Request For Proposal is the application itself.  These come in all sizes!  Some are single pages, while others can be a ‘book’!  Don’t be daunted by an in-depth application, just take your time and approach each question with due diligence and patience.  Follow the rules!  Ask if you can review previous successful applications.

Read and reread the directions carefully!  Oftentimes, good projects don’t make it past the first stage of review – which verifies if instructions are followed.  If it says 12pt Courier type – then do it!




When you find what looks like a promising grant source, make contact with the proper person. Find out what types of programs and projects being supported.  Ask about the evaluation process and criteria.  Developing a communication link with that person will not only be very useful in the process, it could perhaps even be critical to selection and success. A successful grant relationship involves trust.  Trust is earned and involves both the grant maker and the recipient.  Approach every grant application and project/organization decision with this in mind.




Here are the common requirements (but follow the specifics of the information provided by the granting organization/agency):


Cover Letter -  Your first chance to make a good impression! Most funders prefer professional over cute.  Make your introduction strong and concise.  Have NO typographical or grammatical errors!


Title Page – Complete the basic information such as name, address, phone number; the total cost of the program, and a brief and concise summary. Choose your Title carefully – make it short, direct and catchy.


Statement of Problem – Documenting the “need” will help you describe your ‘problem’ and how you are going to solve it.  Having this ‘moving and motivating’ will be helpful, but don’t overdo. Focus on the end need and your objectives.  Describe who and how many will benefit.   Create some compelling interest in your proposal.  Document your proposal with valid statistics, case studies, testimony or other measurable data. Be credible with the information you are including.

Establish your Objectives/Goals—Reveal your vision. Create enthusiasm and excitement for how your program goals will improve and enrich a poor situation. Showing a clear vision of measurable, tangible objectives is essential.  Show how the proposed project relates to your organization’s future.  Winning a grant takes more than an idea and a funding source.  It takes an organization or business that is well managed; understands its purpose; and one that utilizes its staff and board efficiently.

            PRE-PLANNNING NOTE: A successful grant program will have a good background of developing Long Term Goals that are realistic and relate to the governing document of the organization/business.  Short-term objectives should be a way of implementing the long-term goals.  What procedures, programs, staff and funds are needed to implement the long-term goals?  List the three most important things you would like to accomplish within 3 months, six months and one year. Define the direction of your organization:  who are you, where do you want to go, and how do you get there? Who do you serve?  How do you provide service?  What are the other organizations/businesses that you interact with, and how do they impact you?

Plan of Action—Provide details for how you will meet your goals and objectives. Explain what materials and services you will need, and exactly how they will be used. Document a clear plan of action, and explain how you will carry it out. If this is a time-related program, show a detailed timeline. Include a glossary if necessary (but keep it brief).  Discuss how you will fund the project after the grant money is used.  You will have a much better chance at most grant funds if you can show you have a long-term strategy for the project that phases out the grant’s support.

Staff and Facilities—“Introduce”  everyone involved in your project. Identify how you or your staff will implement the plan. Describe the facilities and any equipment necessary for the success of your program. If appropriate, mention if you or others have had special training that relates to your program.  Describe the roles of volunteers, employees or Board members if applicable.  Show a depth of experience with your project and business in general. Tell the reader how your organization/business was founded and give mission statement.  Mention any in-kind services you might be able to use.  

Evaluation—Document how you will determine the success of the program throughout its duration. Detail how you will determine if your goals and objectives have been met.

Budget—The budget should substantiate and complement the grant narrative. Define program costs and expenses. Be sure to include everything from equipment to shipping. Be realistic and accurate with budget information. Identify who will manage the money and how they will account for all financial dealings.  Use tables to convey the information concisely.  Make sure the budget is accurate and complete.  Identify any matching funds that might be available if your grant is successful.


The key element lies in matching your program and its needs to the grantor's desires and requirements. You will find that each grant provider has very specific interests and goals, which are usually identified in a mission statement. They want certain particulars, and if your program does not address those particulars, no matter how unique, wonderful, and worthy your program is, you will not get funded.  Submitting an irrelevant application is a waste of time for both you and the grantor.

What do grantors want? Know the grantor. Your program must be driven by a need to help people and solve a problem. Grantors want your mission to match their mission. They want to feel that they are fulfilling a need; they also want to contribute to their community and to society-at-large.

Grantors are frequently looking for programs that help someone/something "at risk." They want you to identify a problem and tell them how your program can solve that problem. Grantors are looking for very creative solutions to problems that you cannot solve without their funding. A grantor may want to replicate your program in other needy areas throughout the city/county/state. The grantor may also want your program to make use of community volunteers. Your job in writing a good grant is to also make sure the sponsor feels that you will use the funds wisely, and get the maximum use out of their money.

Focus on anything and everything that will insure the success of your program. Don't leave out any detail. And then, when you feel certain that you have left no thought unspoken, edit... edit... and edit again! Good editing is the heart of a good grant.

A good grant is:

§         Clear and concise

§         Grammatically correct

§         Has no mistakes

§         Easy to read

§         Memorable.


§         Project does not address current needs in the area of interest – stay informed, involve leaders in your field.

§         Not eligible or not appropriate – Read carefully before starting the process.  Make sure your proposal is eligible. Become familiar with the program goals, priorities and evaluation criteria.

§         Application is difficult to read/understand – Proofread carefully.  Avoid the use of jargon/acronyms that might not be understandable.  Have someone outside your group review it.

§          Supporting materials not adequate – Submit high quality and accurate materials, within the guidelines of the RFP.  Consider making a list of other resources that you can provide.

§         Application incomplete – Reread the directions, and make sure everything has been answered and provided.  Make sure everything is there!

§         Late application – The killer!  It’s typical to be at the deadline for finishing up grant applications, but if you miss the deadline, all of your efforts are down the drain! Start early, and then be patient!

§         Application not signed – Another avoidable problem!

Critical Advice:  never deviate from the Grant Guidelines!  Ask questions if you are unclear on any of the areas of the form or format


If your proposal doesn’t make it the first time around, stay calm.  Don’t berate funding officials or grant reviewers.  Politely attempt to get more information and ask if there are specific areas of deficiencies with your proposal.  Critique your proposal. Look elsewhere.

Because of the innate nature of need and worthiness in all grants, they are generally written with a lot of heart and soul. Before your begin writing your grant, take the time to dream a little, and think a lot. In the words of Walt Disney, "Dream, diversify, and never miss an angle."

I guarantee that you will be elated if you win a grant, and devastated if you don't. Once you have written your first grant, you are well on your way to writing and winning other grants.


Internet Sources for Grant writing information and grants:  Search on your specific interest for specific available grants.

Grant writing



Grant writing software



INTERNET RESOURCES FOR NONPROFITS (Best comprehensive resource)

Some grants awarded/in progress for goat-related projects:

Some funded grants for goats:

National Sheep Industry Improvement Center – Sheep and Goat Industry project

Kelley Ranch located in Northeast Oklahoma integrating goats with an existing cow/calf, stocker operation. 


Northeast Sheep and Goat Marketing

Capricorn Hill Small Ruminant Meat Processing Project Chemung County, NY 
Title of Proposed Project: A Study to Determine the Feasibility of Creating a Multi-Product Processing Plant for Goat and Sheep Milk (good example of information included).


Technical Assistance The SRDP facilitates goat discussion groups for producers and
hobbyists ... cooperative called "Pride of Vermont Farms." 

Kansas/Nebraska Meat Goat, Orleans, Neb.
Purpose: To complete a feasibility study and business development plan to determine opportunities for producers in the adjoining states to enter and compete in the meat goat market.

April Seifert (youth) awarded grant to provide goat milk to area dairy and sell goat kids for meat - WI


Sara Bredesen has received an Agricultural Development and Diversification (ADD) grant from the state ag department to the tune of $21,082. She's smack in the middle of the project - trying to identify supply and demand potentials for the dairy goat industry, particularly in portions of the state not yet serviced by a trio of existing plants. 


Goat diversification project 


Alternative Parasite Control Methods for Goat Producers: A Comparative Analysis, FL 


National Center for Appropriate Technology,


Other Potential Funding Sources


Sustainable Agriculture SARE Farmer/Grower Grant Program

The Northeast Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program (SARE) encourages farmers in the northeast who want to explore innovative sustainable practices on their farms to apply for this grant. The Farmer/Grower Grant program allows farmers and growers to conduct experiments, try new approaches, and test emerging ideas about agricultural sustainability. The emphasis is on new ideas that advance good stewardship, improve farm profitability, and strengthen rural communities. The average grant last year was $4,150, and the cap on 2002 grants will be $10,000. Grant applications must be postmarked on or before December 3, 2001. For more information and an application, go to www.uvm.edu/~nesare/FGinfo.html



2002 Food and Agriculture Industry Development (FAID) Projects RFP 

Minority or Women owned Business Enterprises (MWBE)

These are grants for international students – with an ag focus




The New York Farm Bureau Foundation for Agricultural Education, Inc.

Information on Grants Available in New York State



·  Agribusiness Association, New York State
The NYSABA web site offers useful information and resources for members and others wishing to learn about the organization. It includes information on conferences and other upcoming events, links to other resources, and links to members' pages. The association's newsletter and annual meeting summaries are also available on the site in HTML format.

·  Agricultural Education, New York State
New York State Agricultural Education serves to recruit and prepare individuals for agricultural careers. It works as an information center for agricultural education statewide and through national organizations.  The web site offers information on agricultural education programs in colleges and universities, agricultural programs in secondary schools, the Future Farmers of America program, and general news on agriculture in New York. The site offers numerous links to schools, agriculture- and education-related sites, and other organizations.

·  Community and Rural Development Institute
The Community and Rural Development Institute at Cornell University coordinates research, extension, and teaching in five broad areas: community development, economic development, environmental management, human services, and local governance and leadership. The web site includes additional information on each of the five areas, including reports, case studies, resources and links, affiliates, and other on-campus or government programs.  The site additionally includes information from the CaRDI research center, including grant information; information on conferences and workshops; degree programs; and affiliates. Institute publications, including reports and a resource directory, are available online in PDF format. The site also contains an annotated list of links to other sites.

·  Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York State http://www.agmkt.state.ny.us/
The Department of Agriculture and Markets' web site includes information on New York's agriculture for both producers and consumers. The site offers current news updates and press releases, messages from the governor, information on fairs and farmers' markets in New York, and general information on New York agricultural commodities.  The site also list extensive agriculture statistics, including online publications and census data; a searchable database of farms; and department programs and agency information.


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