Many governments around the world are increasingly focusing grant and contract investment dollars on funding sustainable and renewable energy projects.
Around the globe, strong emphasis is being placed on developing renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind power, wave power, geothermal power and power generation systems that turn biomass into fuel or energy. To support development of the renewable energy industry, the U.S. government is offering hundreds of millions of dollars in grants. And unlike most U.S. and international grant programs, a great number of these renewable energy grant opportunities are open to small businesses.
As most grant programs result in only a limited number of awards, the competition for renewable energy grants is fierce, to say the least. For each grant competition, the government receives hundreds—sometimes thousands—of grant proposals, all of which are competing for the same pool of dollars.
In order for your renewable energy grant proposal to get funded instead of the other guy’s, here are five essential tips to help you to develop a successfully-funded renewable energy grant proposal.
1. Get prepared well ahead of the deadline: This is the single most common mistake people make when applying for grants. They wait until a week—or sometimes just several days—before the deadline and then get started. Once the project is underway they realize that they need letters of support, budgets, memorandums of understanding and other required attachments, most of which take time to finalize. Start working on your project the moment the funding opportunity announcement is released and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
2. Follow the directions: The majority of grant proposals don’t get funded because the applicant didn’t follow the directions. Either they didn’t include a required attachment, skipped questions entirely or supplied the wrong information. Don’t let this happen to you—read the directions, read them again and most importantly, follow them exactly.
3. Be succinct: Grant reviewers are not impressed by long, flowing sentences packed with buzzwords. Look at the question, answer it, make certain you’ve answered it entirely and then stop.
4. Use white space: Make your narrative easy to read by breaking it up into short paragraphs with white space between them as much as possible (refer back to ‘Be Succinct’ for help on this one). Sometimes this just isn’t possible due to space limitations but wherever you can, look for opportunities to add white space. An endless sea of text is hard on the eyes and frustrating to read.
5. Cite references: When writing your proposal—especially one that deals with technical subjects such as renewable and sustainable energy—you need to cite your sources for research or statistics. Not doing so makes your proposal you look ill-prepared and your proposal unprofessional.
These five tips may not seem like much but assuming that your project has all of the other required elements in place (e.g., the technology is feasible, you’ve developed a realistic work plan and the project is aligned to the program requirements, etc.), using them will go a long way towards ensuring that your grant proposal is one of the projects that lands at the top of the ‘funded proposals’ pile.
Contact me today if you want to know more about how I can help you develop a renewable energy grant proposal that gets funded.