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Beware of Grant Scams

Beware of Grant Scams

The most frequent question I get from readers of Find Funding Magazine is how they can find money for themselves.  Especially now that the economy is in a recession, people are looking for ways to make ends meet. They hear the claims of late-night telemarketers and magazine advertisements that all say that there are hundreds of thousands  of dollars in grants available.  Is this to good to be true?

The short answer: yes.  The long answer: yes, but there are grants for individuals who are looking to do research, creative work, start a business and/or go to school.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency,  “money for nothing” grant offers usually are scams, whether you see them in your local paper or a national magazine, or hear about them on the phone.”

As a grant writer, this irritates me to no end because it just perpetuates the idea that grants are “free money.”  In fact, grants are hard work:  the application can be difficult, implementing a grant project takes a lot of work, and oftentimes an evaluation is required once the grant is finished.

There are grants available for individuals who are willing to do that work.   While the home page of all federal grants opportunities (grants.gov) explicitly states that they do “not provide personal financial assistance,”  they do direct readers to three websites that may be of more help: Government Benefits, Student Loans, and Small Business Start-up Loans.

For individuals who are looking for grants to support their creative, scientific, humanitarian work or research, there are several online databases that are a good place to start. Be prepared to do a lot of initial research! Start here: MSU Grants for Individuals

About Katie

the editor of Find Funding. Her writing about grants & nonprofits has been published in Charity Channel's Grants & Foundation Review and NONPROFIT WORLD.

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