Grant Proposal Writing, Planning, and Research for Outreach Missions

Grant Proposal Writing Introduction

Grant Proposal Writing


Special Proclamation Prayer for Today

Father, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

Your Word declares that if we, Your people, who are called by Your name, will humble ourselves and pray and seek Your face and turn from our wicked ways, then will You hear from heaven and You will forgive our sin and will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We bow before Your sacred throne and humbly ask Your forgiveness for the sin of idolatry! Your word demands; “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”, yet we have, under the banner of pluralism and hedonism, embraced and worshipped the gods of this world. Take us back to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! (Exodus 20:3)

Through moral and spiritual compromise and complacency, we have allowed our nation to conform to the ways of the world by turning away from our spiritual roots found in Your Word. (Romans 12:2)

Our silence has produced a secular nation and all nations that forget You, shall be forsaken. We ask that You hear our cry, for we need You, in these desperate times, to lead us out of our politically correct fog of constant confusion and take us back to Your moral clarity. (Psalm 9:17)

O Lord our God, King of the Universe, we confess that America cannot survive without Your presence. Your statutes founded this blessed land and we look to You, Father God, to preserve it, for “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12)

As commanded in scripture, we pray for all who are in authority who govern our nation; may their decisions be led by the perfect compass of your Holy Word which clearly discerns right from wrong. (I Timothy 2:1-3)

O Lord our God, You have promised to raise up righteous leaders into high places and to remove those who have displayed unrighteous authority. We earnestly pray that You will once again exalt the righteous and expose the deeds of the ungodly. (Proverbs 14:33-35)

America must have spiritual renewal for moral survival! In this season of prayer, we unite in humble heartfelt hope and ask that You forgive us and deliver us from the folly of our transgressions. Guide and sustain our nation as we turn from our sin and return to You, the God of our fathers. (Psalm 51:1-17)

The time has come to declare our trust in You to heal our land. (2 Samuel 22:2-4; Psalm 5:11-12; Psalm 57:1-3)

We pledge to exercise our God given rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in voting for future leaders from the county courthouse to the White House who obey and honor Your Word. (Deuteronomy 28:1-14; Psalm 119:44-48; Psalm5:11)

We pledge to vote the Bible in selecting those that will govern our country. (Deuteronomy 16:18-20)

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, for You are good and Your mercy endures forever. We petition heaven with our united prayers as we seek Your blessing, Your peace and Your protection for America. (I Chronicles 16:34; Numbers 6:22-26; Romans 15:13; Psalm 5:11)

May the Lord our God, be with us, as He was with our forefathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways... that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. (1 Kings 8:57-60)



Grant Proposal Writing – A Short Course


The subject of this short course is grant proposal writing. But the proposal does not stand alone.

It must be part of a process of planning and of research on, outreach to,

and cultivation of potential foundation and corporate donors. This process is grounded in the conviction that

a partnership should develop between the nonprofit and the donor. When you spend a great deal of your time

seeking money, it is hard to remember that it can also be difficult to give money away. In fact, the dollars

contributed by a foundation or corporation have no value until they are attached to solid programs in the

nonprofit sector. This truly is an ideal partnership. The nonprofits have the ideas and the capacity to

solve problems, but no dollars with which to implement them. The foundations and corporations have the financial

resources but not the other resources needed to create grant programs. Bring the two together effectively, and

the result is a dynamic collaboration. You need to follow a step-by-step process in the search for private dollars.

It takes time and persistence to succeed. After you have written a grant proposal, it could take as long as a year

to obtain the funds needed to carry it out. And even a perfectly written grant proposal submitted to the right

prospect might be rejected for any number of reasons. Raising funds is an investment in the future Your aim should

be to build a network of foundation and corporate funders, many of which give small gifts on a fairly steady basis

and a few of which give large, periodic grants. By doggedly pursuing the various steps of the process, each year

you can retain most of your regular supporters and strike a balance with the comings and goings of larger grant donors.

The recommended process is not a formula to be rigidly adhered to. It is a suggested approach that can be adapted

to fit the needs of any nonprofit and the peculiarities of each situation.

Fundraising is an art as well as a science. You must bring your own creativity to it and remain flexible.

Gathering Background Information

The first thing you will need to do in writing the master grant proposal is to gather the documentation for it.

You will require background documentation in three areas: concept, program, and expenses. If all of this

information is not readily available to you, determine who will help you gather each type of information. If you are

part of a small nonprofit with no staff, a knowledgeable board member will be the logical choice. If you are in a

larger agency, there should be program and financial support staff who can help you.

Once you know with whom to talk, identify the questions to ask. This data-gathering process makes the actual grant writing much

easier. And by involving other stakeholders in the process, it also helps key people within your agency seriously

consider the project's value to the organization.


It is important that you have a good sense of how the project fits into the philosophy and mission of your agency.

The need that the grant proposal is addressing must also be documented. These concepts must be well-articulated

in the proposal. Funders want to know that a project reinforces the overall direction of an organization, and they may

need to be convinced that the case for the project is compelling. You should collect background data on your

organization and on the need to be addressed so that your arguments are well-documented.

Grant Program

Here is a check list of the program information you require:

· the nature of the project and how it will be conducted;

· the timetable for the project;

· the anticipated outcomes and how best to evaluate the results;


· staffing and volunteer needs, including deployment of existing staff and new hires.


You will not be able to pin down all the expenses associated with the grant project until the program details and timing

have been worked out. Thus, the main financial data gathering takes place after the narrative part of the master grant

proposal has been written. However, at this stage you do need to sketch out the broad outlines of the budget to be

sure that the costs are in reasonable proportion to the outcomes you anticipate. If it appears that the costs

will be prohibitive, even with a foundation grant, you should then scale back your plans or adjust them to remove the

least cost-effective expenditures.

Components of a Grant Proposal

Executive Summary: umbrella statement of your case and summary of the entire proposal-1 page

Statement of Need: why this project is necessary-2 pages

Project Description: nuts and bolts of how the project will be implemented and evaluated-3 pages

Budget: Financial description of the grant project plus explanatory notes-1 page

Organization Information: History and governing structure of the nonprofit; its primary activities,

audiences, and services-1 page

Conclusion: Summary of the grant proposal's main points-2 paragraphs

The Executive Summary

This first page of the grant proposal is the most important section of the entire document. Here you will provide the reader

with a snapshot of what is to follow. Specifically, it summarizes all of the key information and is a sales

document designed to convince the reader that this project should be considered for support.

Be certain to include:

Problem — a brief statement of the problem or need your agency has recognized and is prepared to address

(one or two paragraphs);

Solution — a short description of the grant project, including what will take place and how many people will benefit

from the program, how and where it will operate, for how long, and who will staff it (one or two paragraphs);

Funding requirements— an explanation of the amount of grant money required for the project and what your plans

are for funding it in the future (one paragraph); and

Organization and its expertise— a brief statement of the name, history, purpose, and activities of your agency,

emphasizing its capacity to carry out this proposal (one paragraph).

The Statement of Need If the funder reads beyond the executive summary, you have successfully piqued his or

her interest. Your next task is to build on this initial interest in our project by enabling the funder to understand

the problem that the project will remedy. The statement of need will enable the reader to learn more about the

issues. It presents the facts and evidence that support the need for the grant project and establishes that your nonprofit

understands the problems and therefore can reasonably address them. The information used to support the case can come

from authorities in the field, as well as from your agency's own experience. You want the need section to be succinct,

yet persuasive. Like a good debater, you must assemble all the arguments. Then present them in a logical sequence that

will readily convince the reader of their importance. As you marshall your arguments, consider the following six points.

First, decide which facts or statistics best support the grant project. Be sure the data you present are accurate.

There are few things more embarrassing than to have the funder tell you that your information is out of date or incorrect.

Information that is too generic or broad will not help you develop a winning argument for your project. Information

that does not relate to your organization or the project you are presenting will cause the funder to question the

entire grant proposal. There also should be a balance between the information presented and the scale of the program.

Second, give the reader hope. The picture you paint should not be so grim that the solution appears

hopeless. The funder will wonder whether an investment in a solution will be worthwhile. Here's an example of a

solid statement of need: "Breast cancer kills. But statistics prove that regular check-ups catch most breast cancer

in the early stages, reducing the likelihood of death. Hence, a program to encourage preventive check-ups will reduce

the risk of death due to breast cancer. "Avoid overstatement and overly emotional appeals.

Third, decide if you want to put your grant project forward as a model. This could expand the base of potential funders,

but serving as a model works only for certain types of projects. Don't try to make this argument if it doesn't

really fit. Funders may well expect your agency to follow through with a replication plan if you present your

project as a model. If the decision about a model is affirmative, you should document how the problem you

are addressing occurs in other communities. Be sure to explain how your solution could be a solution for others as well.

Fourth, determine whether it is reasonable to portray the need as acute. You are asking the funder to pay more

attention to your grant proposal because either the problem you address is worse than others or the solution you propose

makes more sense than others. Here is an example of a balanced but weighty statement: "Drug abuse is a national

problem. Each day, children all over the country die from drug overdose. In the South Bronx the problem is worse. More

children die here than any place else. It is an epidemic. Hence, our drug prevention program is needed more in

the South Bronx than in any other part of the city."

Fifth, decide whether you can demonstrate that your program addresses the need differently or better

than other projects that preceded it. It is often difficult to describe the need for your project without being critical

of the competition. But you must be careful not to do so. Being critical of other nonprofits will not be well received

by the funder. It may cause the funder to look more carefully at your own project to see why you felt you had to build

your case by demeaning others. The funder may have invested in these other projects or may begin to consider them, now

that you have brought them to their attention. If possible, you should make it clear that you are cognizant of,

and on good terms with, others doing work in your field. Keep in mind that today's funders are very interested in

collaboration. They may even ask why you are not collaborating with those you view as key competitors. So at the least you

need to describe how your work complements, but does not duplicate, the work of others.

Sixth, avoid circular reasoning. In circular reasoning, you present the absence of your solution as the

actual problem. Then your solution is offered as the way to solve the problem. For example, the circular reasoning

for building a community swimming pool might go like this: "The problem is that we have no pool in our community.

Building a pool will solve the problem." A more persuasive case would cite what a pool has meant to a neighboring

community, permitting it to offer recreation, exercise, and physical therapy programs. The statement might refer to

a survey that underscores the target audience's planned usage of the facility and conclud with the connection between

the proposed usage and potential benefits to enhance life in the community. The statement of need does not have to

be long and involved. Short, concise information captures the reader's attention.

The Grant Project Description

This section of your proposal should have five subsections:




evaluation, and


Together, objectives and methods dictate staffing and administrative requirements. They then become the

focus of the evaluation to assess the results of the project. The grant project's sustainability flows directly from its

success, hence its ability to attract other support. Taken together, the five subsections present an interlocking

picture of the total project.


Objectives are the measurable outcomes of the program. They define your methods. Your objectives must be tangible,

specific, concrete, measurable, and achievable in a specified time period. Grantseekers often confuse objectives with goals,

which are conceptual and more abstract. For the purpose of illustration, here is the goal of a project with a subsidiary objective:

Goal: Our after-school program will help children read better.

Objective: Our after-school remedial education program will assist 50 children in improving their reading scores

by on grade level as demonstrated on standardized reading tests administered after participating in the program for

six months. The goal in this case is abstract: improving reading, while the objective is much more specific.

It is achievable in the short term (six months) and measurable (improving 50 children's reading scores by one grade

level). With competiton for dollars so great, well-articulated objectives are increasingly critical to a proposal's


Using a different example, there are at least four types of objectives:

1. Behavioral — A human action is anticipated.

Example: Fifty of the 70 children participating will learn to swim.

2. Performance — A specific time frame within which a behavior will occur, at an expected proficiency level, is expected.

Example: Fifty of the 70 children will learn to swim within six months and will pass a basic swimming proficiency test

administered by a Red Cross-certified lifeguard.

3. Process — The manner in which something occurs is an end in itself.

Example: We will document the teaching methods utilized, identifying those with the greatest success.

4. Product — A tangible item results.

Example: A manual will be created to be used in teaching swimming to this age and proficiency group in the future.

In any given proposal, you will find yourself setting forth one or more of these types of objectives, depending on the

nature of your project. Be certain to present the objectives very clearly. Make sure that they do not become lost in

verbiage and that they stand out on the page. You might, for example, use numbers,

bullets, or indentations to denote the objectives in the text. Above all, be realistic in setting objectives. Don't

promise what you can't deliver. Remember, the funder will want to be told in the final report that the project actually

accomplished these objectives.


By means of the objectives, you have explained to the funder what will be achieved by the project. The methods section

describes the specific activities that will take place to achieve the objectives. It might be helpful to divide

our discussion of methods into the following:


when, and


How: This is the detailed description of what will occur from the time the project begins until it is completed.

Your methods should match the previously stated objectives.

When: The methods section should present the order and timing for the tasks. It might make sense to provide a

timetable so that the reader does not have to map out the sequencing on his or her own....

The timetable tells the reader "when" and provides another summary of the project that supports the rest of the

methods section.

Why: You may need to defend your chosen methods, especially if they are new or unorthodox. Why will the

planned work lead to the outcomes you anticipate? You can answer this question in a number of ways, including

using expert testimony and examples of other projects that work. The methods section enables the reader to

visualize the implementation of the project. It should convince the reader that your agency knows what it is doing,

thereby establishing its credibility.


In describing the methods, you will have mentioned staffing for the project. You now need to devote a few sentences to

discussing the number of staff, their qualifications, and specific assignments. Details about individual staff

members involved in the project can be included either as part of this section or in the appendix, depending on the

length and importance of this information.

"Staffing" may refer to volunteers or to consultants, as well as to paid staff. Most proposal writers do not develop

staffing sections for projects that are primarily volunteer run. Describing tasks that volunteers will undertake,

however, can be most helpful to the proposal reader. Such information underscores the value added by the

volunteers as well as the cost-effectiveness of the project. For a project with paid staff, be certain to describe

which staff will work full time and which will work part time on the project. Identify staff already employed by your

nonprofit and those to be recruited specifically for the project. How will you free up the time of an already

fully deployed individual?

Salary and project costs are affected by the qualifications of the staff. Delineate the practical

experience you require for key staff, as well as level of expertise and educational background. If an individual

has already been selected to direct the program, summarize his or her credentials and include a brief biographical

sketch in the appendix. A strong project director can help influence a grant decision. Describe for the reader

your plans for administering the project. This is especially important in a large operation,if more than one agency

is collaborating on the project, or if you are using a fiscal agent. It needs to be crystal clear who is responsible

for financial management, project outcomes, and reporting.


An evaluation plan should not be considered only after the project is over; it should be built into the project.

Including an evaluation plan in your proposal indicates that you take your objectives seriously and want to know how

well you have achieved them. Evaluation is also a sound management tool. Like strategic planning, it helps a

nonprofit refine and improve its program. An evaluation can often be the best means for others to learn from your

experience in conducting the project. There are two types of formal evaluation. One measures the product; the other

analyzes the process. Either or both might be appropriate to your project. The approach you choose wil depend on

the nature of the project and its objectives. For either type, you will need to describe the manner in which evaluation

information will be collected and how the data will be analyzed. You should present your plan for how the

evaluation and its results will be reported and the audience to which it will be directed. For example,

it might be used internally or be shared withthe funder, or it might deserve a wider audience. A funder might even

have an opinion about the scope of this dissemination.


A clear message from grantmakers today is that grantseekers will be expected to demonstrate in very concrete ways

the long-term financial viability of the project to be funded and of the nonprofit organization itself. It stands

to reason that most grantmakers will not want to take on a permanent funding commitment to a particular agency.

Rather, funders will want you to prove either that your project is finite (with start-up and ending dates); or that

it is capacity-building (that it will contribute to the future self-sufficiency of your agency and/or enable it to

expand services that might be revenue generating); or that it will make your organization attractive to other funders

in the future. With the new trend toward adopting some of the investment principles of venture capital groups to the

practice of philanthropy, evidence of fiscal sustainability becomes a highly sought-after characteristic of the

successful grant proposal.

It behooves you to be very specific about current and projected funding streams, both earned income and fundraised,

and about the base of financial support for your nonprofit. Here is an area where it is important to have backup

figures and prognostications at the ready, in case a prospective funder asks for these, even though you are

unlikely to include this information in the actual grant proposal. Some grantmakers, of course, will want to

know who else will be receiving a copy of this same proposal. You should not be shy about sharing this information

with the funder.

The Budget

The budget for your proposal may be as simple as a one-page statement of projected expenses. Or your proposal may

require a more complex presentation, perhaps including a page on projected support and revenue and notes explaining

various items of expense or of revenue.

Expense Budget

As you prepare to assemble the budget, go back through the proposal narrative and make a list of all personnel

and nonpersonnel items related to the operation of the project. Be sure that you list not only new costs that will be

incurred if the project is funded but also any ongoing expenses for items that will be allocated to the project. Then

get the relevant costs from the person in your agency who is responsible for keeping the books. You may need to

estimate the proportions of your agency's ongoing expenses that should be charged to the project and any new costs, such

as salaries for project personnel not yet hired. Put the costs you have identified next to each item on your list.

PutYour list of budget items and the calculations you have done to arrive at a dollar figure for each item

should be summarized on worksheets. You should keep these to remind yourself how the numbers were developed. These

worksheets can be useful as you continue to develop the proposal and discuss it with funders; they are also a

valuable tool for monitoring the project once it is under way and for reporting after completion of the grant. A

portion of a worksheet for a year-long project might look like this:

Item Description Cost

Executive director Supervision 10% of salary = $10,000 25% benefits = $ 2,500

Project director Hired in month one 11 months at $35,000 = $32,083, 25% benefits = $ 8,025


12 working 10 hours per week for three months 12 x 10 x 13 x $ 4.50 = $ 7,020

Office Requires 25% of 25% x $20,000 = $ 5,000

Overhead 20% of project cost 20% x $64,628 = $12,926

With your worksheets in hand, you are ready to prepare the expense budget. For most projects, costs should be grouped

into subcategories, selected to reflect the critical areas of expense. All significant costs should be broken out

within the subcategories, but small ones can be combined on one line. You might divide your expense budget into

personnel and nonpersonnel costs; your personnel subcategories might include salaries, benefits, and consultants.

Subcategories under nonpersonnel costs might include travel, equipment, and printing, for example, with a dollar

figure attached to each line.

Support and Revenue and Statement

For the typical project, no support and revenue statement is necessary. The expense budget represents the amount

of grant support required. But if grant support has already been awarded to the project, or if you expect project

activities to generate income, a support and revenue statement is the place to provide this information. In itemizing

grant support, make note of any earmarked grants; this will suggest how new grants may be allocated.

The total grant support already committed should then be deducted from the “Total Expenses” line on the expense

budget to give you the “Amount to Be Raised” or the “Balance Requested.”Any earned income anticipated should be

estimated on the support and revenue statement. For instance, if you expect 50 people to attend your performance on each of

the four nights, it is given at $10 a ticket, and if you hope that 20 of them will buy the $5 souvenir book each

night, you would show two lines of income, “Ticket Sales” at $2,000 and “Souvenir Book Sales” at $400. As with the

expense budget, you should keep backup worksheets for the support anddsrevenue statement to remind yourself of

the assumptions you have made.

Budget Narrative

A narrative portion of the budget is used to explain any unusual line items in the budget and i not always

needed. If costs are straightforward and the numbers tell the story clearly,explanations are redundant.

If you decide a budget narrative is needed, you can structure it in one of two ways. You can create "Notes to the

Budget," with footnote-style numbers on the line items in the budget keyed to numbered explanations. If an extensive

or more general explanation is required, you can structure the budget narrative as straight text. Remember though, the

basic narrative about the project and your organization belong elsewhere in the proposal, not in the budget narrative.

Organizational Information and Conclusion

Organizational Information

Normally a resume of your nonprofit organization should come at the end of your proposal. Your natural inclination

may be to put this information up front in the document. But it is usually better to sell the need for your project

and then your agency's ability to carry it out. It is not necessary to overwhelm the reader with facts about

your organization. This information can be conveyed easily by attaching a brochure or other prepared statement. In

two pages or less, tell the reader when your nonprofit came into existence; state its mission, being certain

to demonstrate how the subject of the proposal fits within or extends that mission; and describe the organization's

structure, programs, and special expertise. Discuss the size of the board, how board members are recruited, and their

level of participation. Give the reader a feel for the makeup of the board. (You should include the full board list

in an appendix.) If your agency is composed of volunteers or has an active volunteer group, describe the function

that the volunteers fill. Provide details on the staff, including the numbers of full and part-time staff, and their

levels of expertise. Describe the kinds of activities in which your staff engage. Explain briefly the assistance you

provide. Describe the audience you serve, any special or unusual needs they face, and why they rely on your

agency. Cite the number of people who are reached through your programs. Tying all of the information about your

nonprofit together, cite your agency's expertise, especially as it relates to the subject of your proposal.

Letter Proposal

Sometimes the scale of the project might suggest a small-scale letter format proposal, or the type of request might not

require all of the proposal components or the components in the sequence recommended here. The guidelines and policies

of individual funders will be your ultimate guide. Many funders today state that they prefer a brief letter proposal;

others require that you complete an application form. In any case, you will want to refer to the basic proposal

components as provided here to be sure that you have not omitted an element that will suppor your case.

As noted, the scale of the project will often determine whether it requires a letter or the longer proposal

format. For example, a request to purchase a $1,000 fax machine for your agency simply does not lend itself to a lengthy

narrative. A small contribution to your agency’s annual operating budget, particularly if it is a renewal of

past support, might also warrant a letter rather than a full-scale proposal.

What are the elements of a letter request?

For the most part, they should follow the format of a full proposal, except with regard to length. The letter should

be no more than three pages. You will need to call upon your writing skills because it can be very hard to get all

of the necessary details into a concise, well-articulated letter. As to the flow of information, follow these

steps while keeping in mind that you are writing a letter to someone. It should not be as formal in style as a

longer proposal would be. It may be necessary to change the sequence of the text to achieve the correct tone and

the right flow of information.

Here are the components of a good letter proposal:

· Ask for the gift: The letter should begin with a reference to your prior contact with the funder, if any. State

why you are writing and how much funding is required from the particular foundation.

· Describe the need: In a very abbreviated manner, tell the funder why there is a need for this grant project, piece of

equipment, etc.

· Explain what you will do: Just as you would in a fuller proposal, provide enough detail to pique the funder’s

interest. Describe precisely what will take place as a result of the grant.

· Provide agency data:

Help the funder know a bit more about your organization by including your mission statement, brief description of

programs offered, number of people served, and staff,volunteer, and board data, if appropriate.

· Include appropriate budget data:

Even a letter request may have a budget that is a half page long. Decide if this information should be incorporated

into the letter or in a separate attachment. Whichever course you choose, be sure to indicate the total cost of the

grant project. Discuss future funding only if the absence of this information will raise questions.

· Close:

As with the longer proposal, a letter proposal needs a strong concluding statement.

· Attach any additional information required:

The funder may need much of the same information to back up a small request as a large one: a board list, a copy of

your IRS determination letter, financial documentation, and brief resumes of key staff. It may take as much

thought and data gathering to write a good letter request as it does to prepare a full proposal (and sometimes even

more). Don’t assume that because it is only a letter, it isn’t a time-consuming and challenging task.

Every document you put in front of a funder says something about your agency. Each step you take with a funder

should build a relationship for the future.


Every grant proposal should have a concluding paragraph or two. This is a good place to call attentio to the future,

after the grant is completed. If appropriate, you should outline ome of the follow-up activities that might be

undertaken to begin to prepare your funders for your next request. Alternatively, you should state how the

grant project might carry on without further grant support. This section is also the place to make a final appeal for

your project. Briefly reiterate what your nonprofit wants to do and why it is important. Underscore why your agency

needs funding to accomplish it. Don't be afraid at this stage to use a bit of emotion to solidify your case.

What Happens Next?

Submitting your proposal is nowhere near the end of your involvement in the grantmaking process. Grant review

procedures vary widely, and the decision-making process can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months or

more. During the review process, the funder may ask for additional information either directly from you or

from outside consultants or professional references. Invariably, this is a difficult time for the grantseeker.

You need to be patient but persistent. Some grantmakers outline their review procedures in annual reports or application

guidelines. If you are unclear about the process, don't hesitate to ask. If your hard work results in a grant,

take a few moments to acknowledge the funder's support with a letter of thanks. You also need to find out whether

the funder has specific forms, procedures, and deadlines for reporting the progress of your grant project. Clarifying

your responsibilities as a grantee at the outset, particularly with respect to financial reporting, will

prevent misunderstandings and more serious problems later. Nor is rejection necessarily the end of the process.

If you're unsure why your grant proposal was rejected, ask. Did the funder need additional information? Would they be

interested in considering the proposal at a future date? Now might also be the time to begin cultivation of a

prospective funder. Put them on your mailing list so that they can become further acquainted with your organization.

Remember, there's always next year.

Grant Makers Reveal the Most Common Reasons Grant Proposals Get Rejected By Marilyn Dickey

Eighty percent of the grant applications that cross Debbie Rey's desk are immediately rejected. Ms. Rey

supervises the central proposals-processing office at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in Battle Creek, Mich., where the

bulk of the proposals to the foundation are first vetted. The reason so many don't pass muster: The applicants

didn't do their legwork. They may have glanced at the grant maker's Web site, she says, but they didn't dig deeper

to learn Kellogg's specific grant-making priorities. "A lot of people, when they're doing research,read the philosophy

statement,but they don't go into the detail, into the different departments to see what initiatives we have going

on," she says. Ms. Rey echoes the sentiments of many grant makers: Nothing is more important when applying for

a grant than having the right information.In their haste to win money at a time when many

foundations are reducing their grant making, many charities skip over steps that could make the process go more

smoothly --and that may even make the difference between winning a grant and getting turned down. Missteps

happen all the time, including math errors and omitted contact names and numbers. Some charities take a blanket

approach, sending out a proposal to as many grant makers as they can, on the theory that one is bound to click,

says Jim Durkan, president of the Community Memorial Foundation, in Hinsdale, Ill. "They don't spend the

time upfront to really research and see if there's a match," he says. "I always say that the time they spend researching

will be returned tenfold."

Where to Start

The first places many grant seekers think of are Web sites for the Foundation Center, a clearinghouse of information

about grant makers with offices in New York and Washington, and GuideStar, which gathers financial information about

foundations and charities, in Willamsburg, Va. Both of these sites have searchable online databases on grant makers.

But they are only starting points, says Katherine T. Freshley, senior program officer at the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer

Foundation, in Washington. The information on those sites is not meant to be comprehensive, she says. Only

highlights are presented, and they can be misleading if the grant seeker doesn't dig further. "Sometimes people go

to the Foundation Center site and look up funders that support in a particular area and they get wowed by the size of

many of those grants. But often the Foundation Center picks the highest grants to profile, so it skews what is normally

possible," says Ms. Freshley. "There may be a really good reason why an organization has been given a large

grant -- it may be for a capital campaign, for example." Charities should take a look at the grant maker's

Web site, annual report, and informational tax return, she says. Those sources can hold a gold mine of information

about the foundation's assets, past grants, giving priorities, contact names, and guidelines for seeking grants.

Careful examination of an organization's Web site can help grant seekers draw connections that may aid them in

preparing their applications, says David Littlefield, communications officer at the California Wellness

Foundation, in Woodland Hills. For instance, he says, "We have an environmental health area that some people might

not think of as health -- the impact of things like a safe work space on health."

A look at the Lilly Endowment's Web site shows that it has geographic limits for most of its grants. "We do a

lot of education grant making, but it's virtually all in Indiana," says Gretchen Wolfram, communications

director of the foundation in Indianapolis. If, after pouring over the available information, a charity

still questions whether its programs are a good fit, it should check with the foundation, says Andrea L. Reynolds, chief

operating officer of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. Large foundations often take time for a

five-minute chat with a potential grantee. The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis will even meet face-to-face

with people who want to apply for a grant.

Follow Directions

Once a charity identifies a foundation that's a likely prospect, carefully following the guidelines is key,

emphasizes Ms. Freshley. Rules exist for a reason, she says. "When wesay 10 pages, we're really serious

about that," she says. Some people, she says, just squeeze 12 pages' worth of type onto 10 pages by using small

type and narrow margins.

"It just makes the program officers work harder," says Ms. Freshley. "They may be reading 250 proposals. You

don't want people to have to dig through your information to find the kernel of what you're talking about." One

sign of an amateur writer, she says, is a proposal that includes five programs that need support and asking

the foundation to take its pick. "Avoid fishing expeditions," she advises. Tailor the proposal to a particular grant

program. Just as some charities send out proposals to many foundations simultaneously, they may also blanket a

particular grant maker with applications. Instead, Ms. Rey suggests, it's best to find out who the grant

maker's contact person is and send the proposal only to that person. "Don't submit multiple copies of the same

proposal to more than one person," she advises. "Some think it may increase the chances, but it doesn't.

It just causes confusion, and it's hard for us to keep track." And on the application, be clear about who the

contact person is, and that the phone number and e-mail address are correct, she adds: "Sometimes several people sign

a letter and it's unclear who to contact."

Do the Math

Some common problems don't necessarily hurt a charity's chances of winning a grant. They just make the process more

time-consuming. For example, writing a grant proposal by hand is generally acceptable unless the handwriting is

illegible, says Ms. Reynolds. "We don't have problems with handwritten proposals because we are dealing with a

lot of grass-roots groups without access to computers," she says. Math mistakes in particular takes time to iron

out, says Mr. Littlefield. The California Wellness Foundation recently awarded 11 grants, of which three applications

had math problems, he says.Still, he says, calculations should be double-checked before sending out the proposal.

"It's really important to have a treasurer from the board or a finance staff member review the budget to be sure line

items are appropriate and reflect the real costs," says Mr. Littlefield. "When program staff without a strong

finance background do the work, details often get missed." It's not enough for the math to be right, says Ms.

Reynolds -- it also needs to be realistic. If a charity submits a proposal with a three-year budget that calls for $100,000 in

the first year, $200,000 in the second, and $1-million in the third, it would give her pause. She would be taking a

closer look at how the organization has planned its programs, and how it intends to meet such lofty revenue goals,

she says: "I would be concerned about the ability to get those kinds of funds."

Success Boosters

Proposals most likely to catch a foundation's attention are those that convey plans to use the grant money

to bring in other money, says Jane S. Englebardt, executive director of the Hasbro Children's Foundation, in New

York. "Being able to use that money effectively is what foundations are after," she says.

A grant proposal, she says, should spell out a charity's plans for using the grant to make the most of a charity's

resources, along the lines of: "This funding will help us match government funding," "This funding will enable us to

utilize volunteers to complement the work of professionals," or "'This will allow us to create a training program

to expand our services without asking for more money each year." Wording is key, she says. Don't write, "We're running

out of money," but rather, "We have a wonderful program, but we want to make it more cost-effective." When it comes

to seeking grants, success breeds success. If a charity can show it has other grants, that's a plus, says Ms.

Englebardt. "National foundations look for organizations that are supported in their communities," she says, "so we

know they're going to be strong and sustainable." Organizations with no track record have a different

challenge, she says. Startup organizations have to explain their programs in terms of how they will address some

gap-- for example, addressing an underserveing population. "Identify the gap and the service needed

to fill that gap and how you propose to deliver that service," she says.

Patience and Persistence

Foundations are often flooded with grant proposals, so it takes time to sort through them, says Ms. Rey. The Kellogg

Foundation, she says, receives thousands of proposals each year --and it could take applicants as long as 12 weeks

to get a response. That also means that if charities want something financed by a particular time of year, they

need to start early. "A lot of times, especially on the holidays after Thanksgiving, we'll start getting

letters of support for Christmas," she says. "We're at year end, so we won't be funding those."

Grant requests are turned down for all sorts of reasons, many of which do not reflect badly on the program, says Ms.

Englebardt. "Just because they didn't get a grant is not a comment on the quality of their program," she says.

"The hard part is none of the foundations have the resources to fund everything that fits their guidelines. That's the

heartbreaker." "Each foundation has its own strategy about how it is trying to make a change in the world," she adds.

"They're trying to put together the pieces that make that change. And there is a certain amount of luck in being

one of those pieces in a market like this where there just isn't enough funding." Not getting a grant doesn't

necessarily mean a door has been permanently closed, says Jane C. Geever, a fund-raising consultant and author of

The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing (2001, $34.95). Charities may be able to win money during

another grant-makng cycle. In fact, it's a good idea to give the foundation a call to find out why a proposal was

rejected, she says. "Most grant makers say that if the agency is a fit, they will encourage the organization to

come back with another proposal," says Ms. Geever. "Everybody has time frames in terms of how long you have to wait.

" Even if it's unlikely the charity will get a future grant, foundations are often willing to suggest other grant

makers to which the charity might apply. When the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis declines a grant, it

sends a letter offering to talk with the applicant about the reasons. "Very few people take advantage of that," says

Ms. Reynolds. "It's surprising. "From beginning to end, grant seeking is all about good communication, says Mr. Durkan:

"It really comes down to relationships and getting to know people."


A Bibliography Compiled by Janice Rosenberg

The following is a selective bibliography of publications relevant to the individual grantseeker. The publications were selected from a variety of sources. Entries with a descriptive abstract were taken from the Foundation Center's bibliographic database. The bibliography is divided into these sections:


Arts and Humanities International Travel and Study Media and Communications Medicine and Health Minorities and Special Populations


Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loans Women Writing

GENERAL Annual Register of Grant Support: A Directory of Funding Sources. 36th ed. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2002.

Includes details of the grant programs of government agencies, public and private foundations, corporations, community trusts, unions, educational and professional associations, and special interest organizations. Broad subject coverage includes academic and scientific research, project development, travel and exchange programs, publication support, equipment and construction grants, competitive awards, and prizes.

Each complete grant program description contains details of the type, purpose, and duration of the grant; amount of funding available for each award and for the entire program; eligibility requirements; geographic restrictions; and the number of applicants and recipients. Published annually.


Baynes, Louise, ed. The Grants Register 2003. 21st ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan LTD, 2002.

Lists awards, scholarships, and fellowships at all levels of graduate study, from regional, national, and international sources. Includes awards, prizes, and residencies for writers, visual artists, and performing artists.

Entries provide contact information, subject, eligibility, purpose, type, number of awards offered, frequency, amount of award, length of study, country of study, and application procedures. Includes subject and eligibility guide to awards. Published annually.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

Executive Office of the President. Office of Management and Budget, and General Services Administration. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2002.

Official directory of over 1,400 federal programs that provide assistance to American organizations, institutions, and individuals. Includes programs open to individual applicants or for individual beneficiaries in the areas of agriculture, commerce, community development, consumer protection, arts and culture, education, employment, energy, environmental quality, nutrition, health, housing, social services, information sciences, law, natural resources, regional development, science and technology, and transportation.

Arranged by administering agency, with indexes by applicant eligibility, subject, and authorizing legislation. Published annually, with a semi-annual update. URL: Margolin, Judith B. The Individual's Guide to Grants. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers,1983. An excellent starting guide to grantseeking for individuals. Discusses finding a sponsor or umbrella group, identifying and researching potential funders, writing and submitting grant proposals, and following up successful and rejected grant applications. Chapter two is particularly useful in explaining the role of institutional affiliation or project sponsorship.


Webster, Valerie J., ed. Awards, Honors, and Prizes. Volume 1: United States and Canada. 21st ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, Inc., 2002.

Directory of approximately 21,600 awards recognizing achievement in a wide variety of fields, including arts, business, communications, science, and public affairs. Sponsors are foundations, corporations, universities, nonprofit organizations, and governments. Indexed by sponsoring organization, award, and subject area.


Webster, Valerie J., ed. Awards, Honors, and Prizes. Volume 2: International and Foreign. 21st ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, Inc., 2002. Contains descriptions of more than 8,000 awards offered by organizations in countries outside the U.S. and Canada. Arranged by country, with indexes by organization, award name, and subject area.



American Art Directory 2003-2004. 59th ed. New Providence, NJ: National Register Publishing Co., 2003. Includes a section on scholarships and fellowships awarded by colleges and universities, art schools, and arts organizations.


Artists' Communities: A Directory of Residencies in the United States That Offer Time and Space for Creativity. 2nd ed. New York: Allworth Press, 2000. Lists 70 nonprofit residencies for performing and visual artists, composers, and writers, with basic information about programs, facilities, participants, and application procedures.


Christensen, Warren, and Ron Clawges, eds. National Directory of Arts Internships. 9th ed. Los Angeles: National Network for Artist Placement, 2003. Profiles 5,000 internship opportunities offered by 1,250 host organizations. Presents a broad range of disciplines, including arts management, dance, theater, music, literature, film and video, photography performing arts, and design. Entries give brief program description and eligibility requirements.


Crawford, Tad. Legal Guide for the Visual Artist. 4th ed. New York: Allworth Press, 1999. Provides information for artists on copyright law, sales and commissions contracts, publishing and reproduction rights, and taxation. Includes a short section on researching grants and contact information for artists' organizations and state arts councils.


Directory of Grants in the Humanities 2002/2003. 16th ed. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 2002. Directory contains more than 3,650 programs by foundations, federal and state government agencies, corporations, and professional organizations and associations. Indexed by subject, sponsoring organization, program type, and geographic area. Published annually.

E-mail:; URL:

Grant, Daniel. The Business of Being an Artist. 3rd edition.

New York: Allworth Press, 2000.


Michels, Caroll. How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. 5th ed. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2001. Includes a chapter on grantseeking, and an appendix of useful resources, including art colonies and residencies, publications with internships and apprenticeships, competitions, arts organizations, and an annotated bibliography on grants and funding.

E-mail: ; URL:

Middleton, Robyn, et. al. Artists and Writers Colonies: Retreats, Residencies, and Respites for the Creative Mind. 2nd ed. Portland, OR: Blue Heron Publishing, Inc., 2000. Includes more than 260 programs for the U.S. and overseas. Indexed by geographic area, with information on places for photographers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, fiction and nonfiction writers, visual artists,performing artists, scientists, journalists, and scholars. Moran-Lever, Terry, ed. Musical America: International Directory of the Performing Arts. East Windsor,NJ: Commonwealth Business Media, Inc., 2003. Includes a "Contests, Foundations, and Awards" section with information on scholarships, fellowships, prizes, and competitions in music and dance. Published annually.


Richmond, Eero, ed. Opportunities in New Music. 10th ed. New York: The American Music Center, 2002. A listing of ongoing American and foreign competitions, grants, commissioning programs, workshops, calls for scores, and artist's colonies. Includes opportunities for performers, both individuals and ensembles, in jazz and contemporary concert music, with subject index.


Schlachter, Gail Ann, and R. David Weber. Money for Graduate Students in the Humanities 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001.


Wilder, Judith Luther. Breaking Through the Clutter: Business Solutions for Women, Artists, and Entrepreneurs. Los Angeles: National Network for Artist Placement, 1999 A guide for artists who want to create business plans, market their work, reach an audience, and seek outside funding.


Internet Sources

Americans for the Arts


Information clearinghouse that provides material on funding for individuals in all areas of the arts.

American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Awards Programs

( support.html)

Lists prizes and awards to composers in various areas of music.

Arts Deadlines List


Monthly Internet publication with funding opportunities in the visual arts. BMI Foundation Awards, Scholarships, Internships, and Funds

( bmifoundation/index.asp)

Describes programs established to encourage young composers and support the work of accomplished concert-music composers in such areas as classical music, jazz, and musical theater. Circum-Arts


An arts service organization with the mission to assist, advocate and encourage performing artists and visual arts projects. Services include fiscal sponsorship and grantwriting. Creative Capital's Artist Toolbox (

A listing of career-resource sites for individual artists.

Grammy Foundation


Provides information on grants that support the archiving and preserving of the music and recorded sound heritage of the Americas. Musical Online

( foundation_grants.htm)

A compilation of funding resources including foundations and associations, grants, scholarships, and organizations. National Endowment for the Arts


Provides information on fellowships in the areas of poetry, prose, music, and the arts. New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)


Provides information on fellowships and fiscal sponsorship for artists. NYFA also has a listing of organizations that operate fiscal sponsorship programs for visual artists and a fact sheet for artists with disabilities, both available in PDF format. The Zuzu's Petals Literary Resource


Literary site with links to a variety of grants organizations and art councils.


Academic Year Abroad, 2003. New York: Institute of International Education, 2003. Includes information on more than 2,900 semester and academic-year study abroad programs, most sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities. Arranged geographically, with indexes by level and field of study, sponsor, and tuition range.

E-mail:; URL:

Fulbright and Related Grants for Graduate Study and Research Abroad: 2003-2004. New York: Institute of International Education, 2002. Describes fellowships available to U.S. graduate students, young professionals, and artists for study or research in over 100 foreign countries. Includes general program description and eligibility requirements.

Email:; URL:

International Exchange Locator: A Resource Directory for Educational and Cultural Exchange. Washington, DC: Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, 2002. Arranged in six sections: Organizations involved in international exchanges, industry-specific exchanges, research/support organizations, foreign affairs agencies and exchange programs, other federal government exchanges, and key congressional committees and members of congress. Entries contain name and address of the organization, statement of purpose, types of exchange programs, availability of financial assistance, geographic focus, and a list of selected publications.


Peterson's Scholarships for Study in the USA and Canada 2000. 3rd ed. Princeton, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 1999. Lists foundations, corporations, industry organizations, fraternal and ethnic organizations, community service groups, veterans' organizations, churches and other religious groups that have scholarship programs open to international applicants. Organized into ten broad categories, the entries include sponsoring organization,award name and description, eligibility requirements, application process, and contact information, including Web addresses.

URL: http:/

Schlachter, Gail Ann, and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Research and Creative Activities Abroad 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. Lists over 1,300 scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards, and internships available for research, artistic, and professional pursuits abroad. Indexed by program title, sponsoring organization, geographic area, subject, and filing deadline.


Schlachter, Gail Ann, and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Study and Training Abroad 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001. Describes more than 1,000 financial aid programs sponsored by government agencies, professional organizations, foundations, educational associations, and other public and private agencies. Includes an annotated bibliography of financial aid directories. Indexed by program title, sponsoring organization, geographic area, subject, and filing deadline.


Short-Term Study Abroad 2003. 53rd ed. New York: Institute of International Education, 2003. Includes more than 2,700 programs sponsored by U.S. colleges and universities as well as foreign universities, language schools and other organizations.

E-mail:; URL:

Study Abroad: Etudes a L'Etranger, Estudios en el Extranjero. 31st ed. Paris, France: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 1999. Profiles more than 2,600 international study programs in all academic and professional fields. Includes information about financial assistance offered by international organizations, governments, foundations, universities and other institutions in more than 120 countries. Indexed by organization and subject of study.


Study Abroad 2003. 9th ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson's

Guides, 2002.


A complete A-Z guide to more than 1,900 overseas programs.

More Internet Sources

EduPASS! The SmartStudent Guide to Studying in the USA


Institute of International Education Online


Includes information about international education and training programs, including Fulbright scholarships. International Documentary Association

( resources/funding.html)

NAFSA: Association of International Educators


Information on financial aid for foreign nationals studying in the United States: bibliographies and links to other information sites. Social Science Research Council


Supports international fellowships and grant programs in the social sciences. Study in the USA


Provides international students with information about hundreds of colleges, universities and English-language programs in the United States.

( financial_aid.html)

Lists sources and tips on obtaining financial aid including minority scholarships, studying in countries such as Germany, England, Commonwealth Universities, France, and Turkey


The Journalist's Road to Success: A Career and Scholarship Guide. Princeton, NJ: Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, 2002. Annual guide to aid offered through schools and departments of journalism at U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities, by newspapers, professional societies, and miscellaneous sources. Section on grants specifically designed for minority students. Concludes with two-page bibliography and index. Published annually. Available online.

E-mail:; URL:

Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. How to Pay for Your Degree in Journalism & Related Field 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002.


Wiese, Michael. The Independent Film and Videomaker's Guide. 2nd ed. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 1998. Chapters cover developing, distributing, financing, and marketing of independent film and television works. Extensive bibliography includes Web sites of interest.


More Internet Sources

Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers


Supports a variety of programs and services for the independent media community. Independent Television Service

( producers/funding.html)

Funds proposals by independent producers and provides production, promotion, marketing and distribution support. Morrie Warshawski


Provides an extensive bibliography on fundraising for independent film and video projects. National Endowment for the Humanities


Supports learning in all areas of the humanities and funds research and education.


Directory of Biomedical and Health Care Grants 2003. 17th ed. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2003. Contains descriptions of more than 3,000 health-related funding programs. Areas covered include clinical and programmatic studies in gerontology and mental health; clinical studies of the cause, detection, and elimination of cancer; health care delivery and maintenance; and studies of infectious and immunologic diseases, including programs researching all areas related to AIDS. Provides each program's requirements (including eligibility statements), restrictions, contact information, deadlines, and funding amounts. Contains a subject index, a sponsoring organization index, and an index by program type. Published annually.



Medical School Admission Requirements 2003-2004, United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Association of American Medical Colleges, 2002. Published annually.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Money for Graduate Students in the Biological and Health Sciences 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001. Describes 1,100 of the biggest and best fellowships, grants, and awards available to support graduate study, training, research, or creative activities in the biological and health sciences.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. RSP Funding for Nursing Students and Nurses 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. A list of scholarships, fellowships, grants, awards, loans, traineeships, and other funding programs in support of study, training, research, and creative activities for nursing students and nurses.



Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents. Washington, DC: United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 2002.


Schaffert, Tim, ed. Pathways to Career Success for Minorities: A Resource Guide to Colleges, Financial Aid, and Work. Chicago, IL: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 2000.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for African Americans, 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Asian Americans, 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for the Disabled and Their Families, 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. Lists hundreds of scholarships, loans, grants-in-aid, and awards from federal, state, and private sources, arranged by disability type, with subject, geographic, sponsor, and filing date indexes.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Hispanic Americans, 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Native Americans, 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001.


Schlachter, Gail Ann, and R. David Weber. Financial Aid for Veterans, Military Personnel and Their Dependents, 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. Lists more than 1,000 scholarships, grants-in-aid, loans and other benefit programs for Americans affiliated with the military, from federal, state, and private sources. Indexed by subject, sponsor, geographic area, and filing deadline.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Funding for Persons with Visual Impairments. Large print ed. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002.


The 2003 Hispanic Scholarship Directory. 5th ed. Carlsbad, CA: WPR Publishing, 2002. Winds of Change Magazine's Annual College Guide for American Indians. Boulder, CO: Winds of Change, 2002.



Directory of Research Grants. 28th ed. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2003. Describes more than 5,100 grant programs that support research projects in medicine, the physical and social sciences, humanities and the arts, and education. Annotations describe program requirements with eligibility statements, program restrictions and exclusions, contacts, deadlines, and funding amounts. Indexed by subject, sponsoring organization, and program type (i.e., fellowships, travel grants). Published annually.



Grants, Fellowships, and Prizes of Interest to Historians: 2000-2001. Washington, DC: American Historical Association Publications, 2000. Describes more than 450 organizations that grant fellowships, awards, and prizes to historians. Includes bibliography. Available online to members of AHA only.


Hellebust, Lynn, ed. Think Tank Directory: A Guide to Nonprofit Public Policy Research Organizations.2nd ed. Topeka, KS: Government Research Service, 2001. Over 1,200 academic and independent research organizations are profiled, with information on their purposes, policy areas, research priorities, budgets and funding sources, publications, staff, and governance. Includes geographic and policy area indexes.


International Research Centers Directory. 16th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: The Gale Group, 2002. More than 8,200 government, university, independent, nonprofit, and commercial research and development organizations in nearly 125 countries worldwide, indexed by name, subject, and country.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Money for Graduate Students in the Physical and Earth Sciences 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001. Describes 800 of the biggest and best fellowships, grants, and awards available to support graduate study, training, research, or creative activities in the physical and earth sciences.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. Money for Graduate Students in the Social and Behavioral Sciences 2001-2003. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2001. Describes over 1,000 of the biggest and best fellowships, grants, and awards available to support graduate study, training, research, or creative activities in the social sciences.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. RSP Funding for Engineering Students 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. A list of 700 scholarships, fellowships, loans, awards, prizes, and internships available to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in engineering.


Wood, Donna, ed. Research Centers Directory. 30th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, Inc., 2002. Guide to over 14,000 university-related and other nonprofit research organizations in 17 broad subject areas, providing information on programs, staffing, publications, and educational efforts. Includes subject, geographic, personal name, and master indexes. Published annually.


More Internet Sources



National Endowment for the Humanities


Supports learning in all areas of the humanities and funds research and education. National Institutes of Health


Funds research and education in science and engineering through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. National Science Foundation


Funds research and education in science and engineering through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements. Social Science Research Council



Cassidy, Daniel J. Dan Cassidy's Worldwide College Scholarship Directory. 5th ed. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2000.


Cassidy, Daniel J. Dan Cassidy's Worldwide Graduate Scholarship Directory. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2000 Lists America's top 1,000 scholarships for graduate and professional study plus 500 listings from 75 other countries around the world.


Cassidy, Daniel J. The Scholarship Book 2003: The Complete Guide to Private-Sector Scholarships, Grants, and Loans for the Undergraduate. Paramus, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Directory of 4,000 potential sources of aid for undergraduates. Describes scholarships awarded by foundations, associations, corporations, unions, and fraternal organizations.

Entries include scholarship name, address, telephone number, amount of award, deadline, subject area, and a short description. Provides a list of over 300 career organizations and a bibliography. Includes indexes by major fields of study and scholarship name, and a "quick find" index for state of residence, ethnic background, physical disabilities, and state of intended study. Book also includes CD-ROM.


Chronicle Financial Aid Guide 2002-2003: Scholarships and Loans for High School Students, College Undergraduates, Graduates, and Adult Learners. Moravia, NY: Chronicle Guidance Publications, Inc.,2002. Information on scholarship programs in all fields of study, from undergraduate to postdoctoral levels. Sources include public and private organizations. Indexed by sponsoring organization and subject area. Published annually.


College Board Scholarship Handbook 2003. New York, NY: College Board Publications, 2002 . Descriptions of private and government scholarship and internship programs for undergraduates.


College Blue Book: Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, and Loans. 31st ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2003.Lists over 2,500 financial aid awards, arranged by area of study and type of recipient, and indexed by title,subject, sponsor, and academic level. Also available in CD-ROM format., ed. The Complete Scholarship Book: The Biggest, Easiest Guide for Getting the Most Money for College. 3rd ed. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2000.


Getting Money for Graduate School. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 2002. Specifically targeted for the graduate and post-graduate student, this one-of-a-kind resource identifies more than 1,000 scholarships, grants, prizes, forgivable loans and fellowships available to help pay for these advanced studies. Guernsey, Lisa. On-line Resources for the Cyber-Savvy Student. Version 6.0. Alexandria,VA: Octameron Associates, 2002. Recommended Web sites, with descriptions of how they are helpful to students in assessing colleges and in their search for scholarship funds.



Leider, Anna. The A's and B's of Academic Scholarships. 23rd ed. Alexandria, VA: Octameron Associates, 2002. Describes in tabular form academic merit-based scholarships at over 1,200 colleges and universities.



Leider, Anna. Loans and Grants from Uncle Sam: Am I Eligible and for How Much? 10th ed. Alexandria,VA: Octameron Associates, 2002. This book contains simple explanations and useful worksheets to help readers understand loans and grants offered by the U.S. government. Leider, Robert, and Anna Leider. Don't Miss Out: The Ambitious Student's Guide to Financial Aid. 27th ed. Alexandria, VA: Octameron Associates, 2002. Planning guide that discusses procedures and strategies for students seeking financial aid, with tips about public and private funding sources.

Special sections on academic and athletic scholarships, funding for women and minorities.



Meeting College Costs: What You Need to Know Before Your Child and Your Money Leave Home. New York, NY: College Board Publications, 2003. This book provides insight into the application process and how aid eligibility is determined. Many worksheets are included to calculate expected eligibility for aid or financing. Need a Lift? to Educational Opportunities, Careers, Loans, Scholarships & Employment. 52nd ed. Indianapolis, IN: American Legion, 2002. Emphasis on scholarship opportunities for veterans and their dependents, or children of deceased or disabled veterans. Includes information on federal, state, and private sources of funding, American Legion benefit programs, and annotated bibliography.



Peterson's College Money Handbook 2003. 20th ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 2002. Details on financial aid programs offered by over 1,800 American colleges and universities, along with general information about federal and state loan programs.


Peterson's Scholarships, Grants and Prizes 2003. 7th ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 2002. Lists more than 2,500 private sources of financial aid, as well as state-controlled grant programs. Book includesa Windows-based scholarship database disk which allows users to conduct tailored searches and print a list of matching awards. (A Macintosh version of the disk may be requested from the publisher.)


Schlachter, Gail Ann, and R. David Weber. The College Student's Guide to Merit and Other No-Need Funding, 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. More than 1,200 non-need-based funding programs for currently enrolled or returning students, with subject, geographic, and calendar date indexes.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. High School Senior's Guide to Merit and Other No-Need Funding 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002.


Schlachter, Gail Ann. How to Find out about Financial Aid and Funding: A Guide to Print, Electronic, and Internet Resources Listing Scholarships, Fellowships, Loans, Grants, Awards, and Internships. 2nd ed. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002. An annotated bibliographic guide to the resources available for both undergraduate and graduate levels. Covers scholarships, grants to organizations, grants to individuals, awards or prizes, and internship opportunities. Entries indicate format of the item (Internet, electronic, or print), publisher, scope, and ordering information.

A separate section describes federal government Web sites. Indexed by title of work, author's name, publisher, geographic area, and subject.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. How to Pay for Your Degree in Business & Related Field 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002.


Schlachter, Gail Ann and R. David Weber. How to Pay for Your Degree in Education & Related Fields 2002-2004. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference Service Press, 2002.


Schlachter, Gail Ann, R. David Weber. Scholarships. 2002 ed. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2001. Directory of scholarships that can be used at any undergraduate institution. The book is in four parts, and scholarships are organized by broad subject areas. Includes numerous indexes. Scholarship Almanac 2003. 5th ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson's Guides, 2002.


Scholarships, Fellowships and Loans: A Guide to Education-Related Financial Aid Programs for Students and Professionals. 20th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group, Inc., 2003. Lists a wide range of scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, and awards not controlled by a college or university.


The Student Guide 2003-2004. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education, 2003. Published annually, this is the federal government's official guide to its financial aid programs, including Pell Grants, Stafford and Perkins Loans, PLUS Loans, and Work-Study. Includes general information on applications, eligibility, determination of need, and college tuition financing.


Vuturo, Christopher. The Scholarship Advisor: Hundreds of Thousands of Scholarships Worth More Than $1 Billion. New York, NY: Princeton Review, 2001. Weber, R. David, Douglas Bucher, and Gail Ann Schlachter. Kaplan Scholarships 2003. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002. Information on programs that offer significant and unrestricted scholarships combined with tips and advice on how to get them.

More Internet Sources

Academic Research Information System


Provides both undergraduate and graduate students with information on scholarships, fellowships, grants, and internships in the arts, humanities, and sciences. AFL-CIO

( scholarships/scholar.htm)

Information on union-sponsored scholarships and aid. College Board's Scholarship Search ( or

( scholarshipsearch.jsp)

Users can create a personal profile of educational level, talents, and background to search among 2,000 undergraduate scholarships, loans, internships, and other financial aid programs from non-college sources.


A scholarship search engine that prompts users to enter information about themselves, including area of study, and responds with an appropriate list of available scholarships.

Federal Student Aid


The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs, described on this Web site, are the largest source of student aid in America. The information provided is designed to assist college planning. It provides access to and information about the products and services that needed throughout the financial aid process. Finaid: The Financial Aid Information Page.


Links to funding sources such as scholarships, fellowships, and grants, some of which are focused towards those with particular needs or interests: disabled, minorities and international students. The Foundation Center's Youth in Philanthropy-Scholarship Information Page. See grant link below.

Grant for Youth in Philanthropy

( financial.html) Financing Education

( finaid)

Provides help, guidance, and answers to frequently-asked questions on financial aid, as well as

information on organizations that offer private and federal loans. Petersons' Scholarship Search provides

information on over 1.6 million scholarships, grants, and prizes worth nearly $4 billion. (Free

registration is required in order to use the database) Scholarship Resource Network Express

( Wired Scholar

( content/index.jsp)

This site offers guidance on college preparation, evaluation, selection, application, and financing. Free registration is

required in order to use the database.


Pathways to Career Success for Women: A Resource Guide to Colleges, Financial Aid, and Work.Chicago,

IL: J.G. Ferguson Publishing Company, 2000.


Schlachter, Gail Ann. Directory of Financial Aids for Women 2003-2005. El Dorado Hills, CA: Reference

Service Press, 2003. Describes over 1,700 scholarships, fellowships, loans, grants, awards,

internships, and state sources of educational benefits for women. Entries include program title,

sponsoring organization, availability, purpose, eligibility, financial data, duration, limitations, number

of awards, and application deadline. Includes annotated bibliography of general financial aid directories.

Indexed by program title, sponsoring organization, geographic area, subject focus, and calendar deadlines.



Brogan, Katie Struckel and Robert Brewer, eds. 2003 Writer's Market. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest

Books, 2002.Contains a "Contests and Awards" section listing fellowships and prizes for fiction, nonfiction,

poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, children's literature, and translation. Includes

information on programs sponsored by state arts councils. Published annually.


Literary Market Place 2003: The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry. Medford, NJ: Information

Today Inc., 2002. Includes a section listing literary prizes, contests, residencies, fellowships, and grants.

Published annually.



Morrone, John, Victoria Vinton, and Anna Jardine, eds. Grants and Awards Available to American Writers.

New York: PEN American Center, 2002. Comprehensive list of awards available to American and Canadian

writers for use in the U.S. or abroad. Includes appendix of state arts councils.


Poets & Writers Magazine. New York, NY: Poets & Writers, Inc.


Sova, Kathy, and Samantha Rachel Healy, eds. Dramatists Sourcebook, 2002-2003. New York: Theatre

Communications Group, 2002. Contains a "Fellowship and Grants" section listing foundations and organizations

that offer funding to playwrights, composers, translators, librettists, deadlines, remuneration, and

includes a list of sources of emergency funds for writers in severe temporary financial difficulties,

the addresses and phone numbers of state arts agencies, and artists' colonies and residencies.

Published annually.



Wright, Michael, and Christi Pyland. The Student's Guide to Playwriting Opportunities. 3rd ed. Dorset,

VT: American Theatre Works, 2002.Includes developmental programs that may have internships, fellowships,

summer employment, and other opportunities of interest to student playwrights.


More Internet Sources

Americans for the Arts


Information clearinghouse that provides material on funding for individuals in all areas of the arts. National

Endowment for the Arts


Provides information on fellowships in the areas of poetry, prose, music, and the arts. Newswise


Includes descriptions, deadlines, and contact information for more than 90 awards, grants, and fellowships in journalism.

Poets & Writers Online

( grantsawards.htm)

Contains an extensive list of upcoming deadlines for future poetry and fiction prizes. The Zuzu's Petals Literary Resource


Literary site with links to a variety of grants organizations and art councils.


Grant Business Resources

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Grant Research for Starting and Managing a Business From Your Home

Introduction: "There's No Place Like Home"

The cottage industry, an old-fashioned enterprise, is enjoying a revival so strong that it's difficult to find out just how many Americans are now working at home. Estimates range from two to five million and the numbers may double or triple by 2010.

Because women now enter business at a rate five times faster than men, the trend of operating from home is growing. A natural starting place for many businesses seems to be the garage, basement, or den. A recent Census Bureau study showed that over 300,000 women's businesses are operated out of the home.

Homemakers, hobbyists, retirees, people interested in a second income, and the disabled are just a few of the groups attracted to home enterprises. A young mother's craft business began when she started appliquéing decorations on her children's clothes. A retired government worker bought 36 beehives and sold honey to local health food stores and at craft fairs. A teacher did typing and secretarial jobs for her husband and friends until she realized the potential market and opened a full-time secretarial service from her apartment. Others have become home business owners by using their skills in catering, counseling, teaching, day care, sewing, writing, photography, consulting, market research, and landscape design.

The list of Grants of services that have been successfully operated from home is endless: chimney sweeping, maid services, messenger services, wake-up and answering services, home nursing, mail order businesses, party planning, dog grooming, kitchen and closet planning and organizing, and others too numerous to mention. As you explore the questions asked in the first chapter, "Home Entrepreneurship: Is It For You," let your thoughts run freely through the possibilities until you can target exactly the right type of business for your skills, your home space, your market, and your part of the country.

Home Enterpreneurship: Is It For You?

The first step in deciding whether to start a business is to ask yourself this important question:

"Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?"

Studying the characteristics of successful business owners will help you to tell whether your personality traits, experiences, and values are similar to those who have succeeded. And assessing your experience, skills, and life goals will also help you decide if you want to invest the energy, time, and resources that successful entrepreneurship requires.

Who is the "Typical" Entrepreneur?

What makes an entrepreneur successful is a hotly debated and vigorously researched subject. In Success And Survival In The Family- Owned Business, Pat B. Alcorn, an expert on entrepreneurial problems, has developed the following questionnaire to help you determine your "Entrepreneurial Quotient." Write your answers in the margin. Then read on to discover what she believes characterizes the typical entrepreneur:

Do you reconcile your bank account as soon as the monthly statement comes in?

Entrepreneurs are careful about money. They usually know how much money they have so they can seize opportunities on short notice. They know what things cost, whether prices are going up or down, and whether they are getting a bargain.

Did you earn money on your own from some source other than your family before you were 10 years old?

Most people who are going to make money in business show an affinity for making money at an early age--by babysitting, selling lemonade, delivering newspapers, or some such strategy.

Do you get up early in the morning and find yourself at work before others are out of bed?

Entrepreneurs sleep and eat enough to keep up their strength, but they don't usually tarry at these pursuits.

Do you tend to trust your hunches rather than wait until you have a lot of information on hand?

Hunches are judgments based on factors that cannot be quantified, A big part of entrepreneurship seems to be risk-taking based on these hunches.

Do you keep new ideas in your head instead of writing them down?

Entrepreneurs keep a lot of things in their heads, including their most creative ideas.

Do you remember people's names and faces well?

Ease in remembering names and faces is very important in the business world.

Were you good in "hard" subjects--mathematics, biology, engineering, accounting, and so forth--in school?

People who major in business administration in college are more likely to be successful entrepreneurs than anyone else. They prefer subjects in which the answers are conclusive rather than open-ended conclusions full of contingencies. Grants should include your Business Investments.

In school, did you pretty much stay away from such organizations as Scouts and student government?

Most entrepreneurs tend to be loners rather than joiners, unless joining is a useful tactic for making contacts and gathering business information.

In courting the opposite sex, did you tend to go for one person at a time as opposed to playing the field?

Most entrepreneurs preferred one person because to play the field would have taken too much time away from business activities.

Do you close deals with a handshake rather than insisting on written contracts and guarantees?

Good entrepreneurs are often comfortable with something less binding than written contracts. When the only bond is a word, it becomes a matter of honor, and no entrepreneur can afford to lose honor.

Do you devote considerably more time and thought to work than to other activities, such as hobbies?

Entrepreneurs may have some leisure time activities, but their principal hobby is their work.

A similar test was developed by John Komives, director of Milwaukee's Center for Venture Management. Again, write your answers in the margin, then read on to see the expert's answers

Was your parent an entrepreneur?

Having a close relative who was an entrepreneur is the single most telling indicator of a successful entrepreneur.

Are you an immigrant?

There is a high correlation between immigrants and entrepreneurs. In this sense, "immigrant" includes not only those who were born outside the United States, but also those who moved from farm to city or from the Midwest to the West Coast.

Did you have a paper route?

The entrepreneurial streak shows up early in life.

Were you a good student?

Typical entrepreneurs were anything but model students and often were expelled from school.

Do you have a favorite spectator sport?

The best answer is "no." Entrepreneurs are poor spectators. They often excel at individual, fast-paced sports such as skiing or sailing.

What size company do you now work for?

The typical entrepreneur comes from a medium-sized company--30 to 500 employees.

Have you ever been fired?

Entrepreneurs make poor employees. That's why they become entrepreneurs.

If you had a new business going, would you play your cards close to the vest, or would you be willing to discuss problems with your employees?

Typical entrepreneurs have a secretive streak. If they confide in anyone, it is likely to be another entrepreneur.

Are you an inventor? A Ph.D.?

Not a positive indicator. Inventors fall in love with their products, Ph.D.s with their research.

How old are you?

The typical age for starting a business seems to be 32-35.

When do you plan to retire?

In still another study, Jeffry A. Timmons asserts that entrepreneurs are people who have high energy, feel self-confident, set long-term goals, and view money as a measure of accomplishment. They persist in problem solving, take moderate risks, learn from failures, seek and use feedback, take initiative, accept personal responsibility, and use all available resources. They compete with themselves and believe that success or failure lies within their personal control or influence. They can tolerate ambiguity.

Are You Ready, Willing, and Able?

Now that you have studied the characteristics of others who have succeeded, survey your reasons and in the grant proposal, state reasons for wanting a home-based business. Are you dissatisfied with your current job? What are your skills? What is your business experience, especially in the business you want to start? What are your life goals? What resources do you have that might help?

Answering these questions will provide reality testing for ideas that can sound incredibly glamorous when chatting with friends or seductively attractive when you are irritated or bored by your present job.

Order a copy of the SBA pamphlet Checklist For Going Into Business, MA 2.016 (see For Further Information). Answer the questions and discuss your reactions with friends and family. Or better yet, ask several people close to you to think carefully about you and fill out the checklist for you. Have you underestimated your abilities? Overestimated them? Sometimes an evaluation by a friend is more useful than a self-evaluation.

How does your family react to the idea of a home business? Will you expect them to help out? What changes would your business use of the house mean for them? Will you have to remodel to create a usable business space?

What resources are available to you? Will you start by keeping your job and "moonlighting" for a while? Do you have a small nest egg, inheritance, or retirement income to live on until you get the business going? Do you already own tools or machines that will help (for instance, a word processor for a secretarial business or professional cameras and a darkroom for a commercial photography business)? Are you able to go back to school for training if necessary? Have you built up a network of contacts and possible customers through your previous lines of work or will you be starting from scratch? Check other Grant Resources this site.

Answering these questions honestly and completely will help you assess not only your chances for success but also which type of home-based business to choose. For instance, if your past professional life and contacts are all in the educational, teaching, child-oriented school area, then you should have powerful reasons for leaving that and opening a mail-order seed business. Possibly a tutoring business or a tot exercise franchise would use more of your resources and networks. On the other hand, if your assessment of your life goals and preferences helps you realize that you are burned out from working with kids, then perhaps a business planning birthday parties could later be built into a general party planning and catering business. You would be using your old contacts to build a long-range business plan that focuses on a service business for adults.

The Advantages of Home-Based Business

Why have millions of Americans chosen to work and live in the same place? Why are cottage industries sprouting faster than we can count them? Some home-based businesses start by accident rather than by conscious design. Secretarial services, day-care centers, craft ventures, and the like may start out as weekend activities in the recreation room. After a while their owners are surprised to see how profitable or enjoyable the venture has become. The glimpse of a healthy market lures them into a full-time venture. This low-risk, low-overhead, gradual kind of start-up is very attractive to new business people.

Many home-based business people cite decreased commuting time and other lessened business expenses as advantages for working at home. If your place of work is just 30 minutes away, that's five hours a week in commuting time, many dollars in gasoline and car maintenance or transit fares, and untold stress fighting traffic. Getting out of the high-fashion rat race is a plus for many who dislike having to dress up and continually buy new clothes to feel comfortable in settings outside the home.

Homemakers--mostly women but also an increasing number of men--are choosing a home-based business in order to have a more flexible lifestyle and to be closer to family. A parent who has a home office can eat lunch with the children or more easily attend special school or sports events. The home-based business person has more control over work hours than someone with a 9 to 5 job. Night owls who like to work until 3 a.m. can then sleep late (remembering, of course, to turn on the answering machine and let customers know the business hours). On the other hand, early birds can work without the usual disturbance from the telephones.

The tax advantages of operating a business from home are numerous but sometimes complicated. Wise business owners keep careful records and work with accountants, attorneys, and financial planners to make sure they are filing for the legal maximum write-offs and benefits.

The Disadvantages of a Home-Based Business

If you were hard at work in an office downtown, it is unlikely that three children would come storming in to ask for snacks or that you would end up using the ironing board for a bookshelf or have to think twice about hiring others because they might resent working at your kitchen table. These are just a few of the problems that make the glamour of working at home fade fast. Some disadvantages of working at home can be minimized by self-discipline, by setting clear limits with family and friends, and by projecting a professional image. Other disadvantages "come with the turf" and just have to be lived with. If a delivery man comes to the door, you will probably be the one to interrupt your work and sign for the package.

It takes time and discipline to establish steady, at-home work patterns. Often it seems easier to water the plants or do the laundry than to call a client, design a new brochure, or prepare bills for customers whose work you've completed. Without the deadlines imposed by supervisors or peers, it can be hard to do the least appealing jobs on your list. To make matters worse, others may not take you seriously. Neighbors may stop by to chat or friends may call your business number knowing you will answer. Without supervisors or managers, you are the one who must set limits and plan your time. There also is the problem of isolation. While you are now your own boss, you won't have the chats, the parties, the companionship of fellow workers. Losing such social contact requires adjustments.

As the business grows and changes, the home entrepreneur has to put up with cramped or inappropriate space. No more simply putting in a request for a bigger file cabinet or a new copy machine; now you must visit showrooms or garage sales, evaluate features, compare prices, and probably pick the item up yourself.

Your teenager may resent having to keep the stereo low because you're meeting with a client in the next room. Your spouse may be irritated by having to fry that freshly caught trout on the backyard grill so your office won't smell of fish. Your son may not want to give up the recreation room pool table so you can cut out 100 doll patterns this weekend. Neighbors may comment on the extra traffic your customers create on their quiet street. Family privacy and lifestyle patterns may be disturbed. And you will probably find yourself wrestling with laws and regulations you never dreamed could exist before you went into business.

Your Professional Image

Developing a professional image may be hard if you work out of your home. Projecting a businesslike image is an important part of building credibility with your customers and contributes to your own professional self-image. Design a logo or have one designed; order business cards and stationery. Set regular business hours. Use an answering machine or answering service. If other members of the family also answer the phone, make sure they know what to say. Have a businesslike office or "showroom" if you meet customers face to face. Consider referring to your apartment number as your "suite number" or rent a post office box rather than using your street address. Such practices might improve your chances of doing business with potential customers.

Your Next Steps

Now that you have reflected on the characteristics of successful entrepreneurship and assessed your skills, experience, and life goals, it's time to plan your next steps. Ask yourself: Given the disadvantages of working out of my home, do I still want to? Now that I know more about what's involved in starting a business, is it still for me? Do I need further training or experience? Should I begin part-time in order to test the waters, check out market potential, or refine my product or service? Do I need more time to research possible products or services? Have I decided on a particular business? The next chapter will help you define your business, the market, and the price to charge for your product or service.

Others Have Succeeded--Why Not You?

A former teacher tells how she started her own tutoring business:

I taught languages in high school for seven years. Whenever I needed a little extra money, or during summer vacations, I tutored individual students. As my reputation grew, people began to ask me if I could recommend tutors in other subjects.

As my enthusiasm for teaching in public schools waned, I began to research the possibility of a tutoring business. I started one summer by turning my second bedroom into an office and having stationery printed. Summer is a peak time because parents hire tutors to help their kids catch up on subjects. By the end of that summer I was managing 48 tutors in 23 different subjects or grade levels all over the metropolitan area. I hired a part-time assistant who worked at the kitchen table. We added other services, such as classes to help high-school students prepare for national exams. Operating from home was perfect for me since I needed to keep my overhead low and keep a good cash flow to be able to pay my tutors.

A computer programmer tells his story:

I longed to get enough work doing computer programming so that I could avoid the long commute to work and be closer to my two young boys as they grew up. I started working in an office I built in the basement doing small jobs and working for friends in the business who were up against tight deadlines. When I got my first big contract, I took the leap and gave notice. Now, two years later I've established a good track record with clients and have hired two others who work at terminals in my recreation room. I like being able to work late at night after the family is asleep. And I enjoy being around when the kids get home from school. I don't need a fancy downtown office. If I meet with a client. I make sure it's at his office, not mine.

Answering The Big Question: What? Who? Where? How? and How Much?

What's the perfect home business for you? You've listed your skills. You've outlined your interests. You've described your family's preferred lifestyle. You've come up with a business idea. Next, consider such questions as: Are there customers for my product or service? How do I know? How will I find them? Who are my competitors? What will I charge? How will I promote my product or service? Finding the answers to these questions is the challenging and sometimes tedious homework that will help you determine your chances for success, and whether you should look for another more marketable idea. Be sure to include these in your Grant research notes.

What Is My Product?

"I bathe and groom poodles and small dogs." "I design, construct, and sell roll-top desks." "I provide accounting services to small business clients." "I make dried flower arrangements." "I teach intermediate and advanced piano to children." "I design and implement direct mail advertising campaigns for small businesses and nonprofit organizations."

The first step in creating a business is to decide what your product is. What are you selling? Practice writing a short, specific statement describing your product or service. Getting a clear idea of a business concept is one of the most difficult tasks in creating a business. Your statement may change several times as you experiment with the market and test your skills. Instead of "I make toys," you may want to narrow your product line to "I make wooden dolls." Instead of "I write software programs for small business needs," you may decide to tap into a big market and "provide training for employees of small businesses in the use of accounting packages." See how it feels to describe your product or service to family, friends, potential customers, and fellow business people. Is your description clear and brief? Can you say it with confidence and enthusiasm?

Who Will Buy It?

To develop and test your business idea, answer the question "Who will buy my product or service?" Make a list of potential customers: individuals, groups, segments of the population, or other businesses that need your product or service. If you are making fabric-covered lap boards for people confined to bed, how will you quickly and inexpensively find a market? Through hospitals or home nursing care organizations? Through craft stores by displaying them as gift items? In mail order catalogues? Is there a market avenue that will reach children? Ask friends and colleagues for help in brainstorming all the possible markets (customers) and uses for your product or service.

Who Is the Competition?

Your business planning must also include an up-to-date analysis of your competition. Why? Because you need to plan your market position--how you will fit into the marketplace. Will your product or service be cheaper or more expensive than that of the major competitions? Will it be more durable? Will you be open during hours that your competitors are closed? What benefits can you build into your product or service that your competitors don't offer? Will you do rush jobs?

In planning your business, look for a unique niche that will give you freedom from strong competition or that will make your product or service more valuable than others in the market. If you plan to open a day-care center and find that none in your area is open before school, early opening might make your service more competitive. If you discover that local caterers have overlooked the office party market, you might highlight that in your brochure. The more you can learn about your competition, the better you'll be able to decide how to position yourself in the market.

Newspaper ads and trade magazines are other good sources of market information. Check also with the Chamber of Commerce, your county office of economic development, the Census Bureau, and business and professional organizations to gather market and pricing data.

Where Are the Buyers? How Can I Find Them?

As you become more familiar with the competition, you will also be discovering where and how to find buyers. Whatever the type of home business you want to open, you will need to do market research to determine if there are buyers for your idea, where they are, and how to find them. (And in the process, you will also be gathering information on pricing.)

Visit your local library to compile local and county statistics on the size and makeup of your market. (While you are at the library, check out some books on marketing research so you will know what you are getting into.) Also, check those of the following resources that might have data about your product or service or the people who would use it:

Encyclopedia of Associates. 17th Edition. Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, MI 48226.

Ayer Directory of Publications. Lists trade publications by subject matter. Contact the sales, marketing, or research departments for buying patterns among their readers.

"Survey of Buying Power." Sales, Marketing, Management Magazine. July issue each year.

Thomas' Register. Lists companies by product and service line, organized geographically and alphabetically.

Directory of Business, Trade, and Public Policy Organizations. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy.

Department of Commerce Publications. Data User Series Division, Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C. 20233.

County Business Patterns. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Available for each state.

When your marketing research is completed you will have 1) identified your potential customers; 2) found out all you can about their habits, needs, preferences, and buying cycles; and 3) decided how to reach them to generate sales.

How Much Shall I Charge?

Four main factors will help you decide what to charge for your product or service: 1) your direct and indirect costs; 2) the profit you want to make; 3) your market research data on competitors' prices; and 4) the urgency of the market demand. There is rarely an exact "right" price but rather an acceptable price range within which you will want to fall. Avoid the common mistakes made by many new business owners--charging too much or too little. Use several approaches to arrive at a cost and "test" the price. If your ego is too involved, your price may be too high. On the other hand, if you have the attitude that "this is just a little something I do in my spare time" or "anybody could do this," then your price may be too low. Check the Business Library for other Grant Resources.

Here is a formula for setting a fair price. Calculate your price using other approaches, too, before you make a final decision on price:

Typical Pricing Formula

1. Direct Material Costs--Figure the total cost of the raw materials you have to use to make up your item. Figure the cost of a group of items and then divide by the number of items to find the cost per item. If you can easily and immediately determine the material cost of a single item, fine. Some items are produced in batches, however, and it is easier to get an item cost by dividing the cost of a batch by the number of items eventually produced.

2. Direct Labor Costs--Figure what you pay to employees to produce the item (whether or not you have employees now). You must assign a wage figure, even if you are the only one producing the item. Take the weekly salary you pay someone to produce the necessary number of items and divide it by the number of items. Add this figure to the Direct Material Costs total.

Materials + Labor = $__________.

3. Overhead Expenses--These expenses include rent, gas and electricity, business telephone calls, packing and shipping supplies, delivery and freight charges, cleaning, insurance, office supplies, postage, payroll taxes, repairs, and maintenance. The accuracy of your costing depends on estimating logical amounts for all categories of expenses. If you are working at home, figure a portion of your total rent or mortgage payment (in proportion to your work space and storage areas), or assign a reasonable, competitive rent figure for the same amount and type of space. List all overhead expense items and total them. Divide the total overhead figure by the number of items per month (or time period you used above). The answer is your overhead per item.

Overhead + Materials + Labor = Total Cost/Item

4. Profit--Include an amount added to the cost of each item so you won't end up just breaking even or making the employees' wages. Check your competition and see what they are charging. (Retailers generally double the wholesale price.) If your product is a little better than the competition, charge a little more. If your product is comparable, price it similarly. Remember, you will get the profit from each sale, in addition to the salary figure. Add the profit figure you have chosen to the total cost per item to get your total price per item.

Profit + Total Cost/Item = Total Price/Item

Remember, the main purpose in operating a business is to make a profit. Don't undersell your product or service just because "I'd be baking cakes anyway" or "I'm just starting out" or"I work out of my home." If you have a new, rare, handmade product or personalized service, the demand may be so high that customers are willing to pay a little more. Check the resource: "Make Your Price Sell", in the Business Library


Promotion is an overall, long-range plan designed to inform potential customers about what you have to sell. Advertising is usually thought of as the paid communication part of the promotion program.

To develop a total promotional campaign you must answer these questions: 1) What image or message do I want to promote? 2) What are the best media and activities for reaching my potential customers? 3) How much time and money can I spend on the effort?

Develop a long-range, consistent program for building image and reaching customers. Your image should be reflected in your business card, logo, stationery, brochure, newsletter, telephone answering service, signs, paid ads, and promotional activities.

Word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers are the very best promotion any business can have. Consider which promotional tactics will build the confidence and image you are looking for--giving speeches and interviews (often good for counselors, teachers, lawyers, consultants), having an open house or holiday home sale (for craftspeople), holiday recitals or shows (for music and dance teachers or day-care operators), free demonstrations and samples (for retailers, decorators, caterers).

Several small ads may have more impact than one large, splashy ad. Conduct a campaign rather than having a one-shot ad or event. If you hire a public relations firm, look for one that can give you personal attention and develop a total marketing plan for you, not just a couple of ads. The plan

Managing Your Business: Structure, Recordkeeping, Taxes, and Insurance

You're The Boss.

A telling sign on a new businessowner's desk read: "Yesterday I didn't even know how to spell ENTREPRENEUR and now I are one!" Now that you have decided to open a home-based business, all decisions will be your responsibility, not just those you previously enjoyed because they involved your area of expertise. Of course, as a day-care operator you already knew how to soothe an upset child, but as the owner of that business, do you know when to file your taxes? As a consultant you have over 20 years' experience advising organizations on personnel matters, but do you know if it's to your advantage to incorporate? You are an expert at word processing, but do you know how to develop an efficient recordkeeping and billing system? You are the boss now and the good health of your business depends on your management skills.

Choosing Your Form Of Business Organization

One of the most important decisions you will make is how to set up the business as a 1) sole proprietorship, 2) partnership, or 3) corporation. Remember, the small business owner risks it all, no matter what form of organization.

The forming of a business organization depends on the following factors and will be included in Grant process

* Legal restrictions * Need for capital * Liabilities assumed * Number of people associated in the venture * Kind of business or operation * Tax advantages or disadvantages * Intended division of earnings * Perpetuation of the business

Most home-based businesses are sole proprietorships or partnerships, but a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of organization follows:

A sole proprietorship is the least costly way of starting a business. You can form a sole proprietorship by finding a location and opening the door for business. There are the usual fees for registering your business name and for legal work in changing zoning restrictions and obtaining necessary licenses. Attorney's fees for starting your business will be less than for the other forms because less document preparation is required.

Sole Proprietorship Advantages Disadvantages * Easiest to get started * Unlimited liability * Greatest freedom of action * Death or illness endanger business * Maximum authority * Growth limited to personal energies * Income tax advantages in * Personal affairs easily very small firms mixed with business * Social Security advantage to owner

A partnership can be formed by simply making an oral agreement between two or more persons, but such informality is not recommended. Legal fees for drawing up a partnership agreement are higher than those for a sole proprietorship, but may be lower than incorporating. You would be wise, however, to consult an attorney to have a partnership agreement drawn up to help resolve future disputes.

Partnership Advantages Disadvantages * Two heads better than one * Death, withdrawal, or bankruptcy of one partner * Additional sources of endangers business venture capital * Better credit rating than * Difficult to get rid of bad corporation of similar size partner * Hazy line of authority

You can incorporate without an attorney, but you would be unwise to do so. You may think a small family corporation does not need an attorney, but an attorney can save members of a family corporation from hard feelings and family squabbles. Attorney's fees may run high if organization problems are complex. The corporate form is usually the most costly to organize.

Corporation Advantages Disadvantages * Limited liability for * Gives owner a false stockholders (while true sense of security for big business, may not be for small business) * Heavier taxes * Continuity * Power limited by Charter * Transfer of shares * Less freedom of activity * Easier to raise capital * Legal formalities * Possible to separate * Expensive to launch business functions into different corporations


Keeping accurate and up-to-date business records is, for many people, the most difficult and uninteresting aspect of operating a home-based business. If this area of business management is one that you anticipate will be hard for you, plan now how you will cope. Don't wait until tax time or until you are totally confused. Take a course at the local community college, ask a volunteer SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) representative from the Small Business Administration to help you in the beginning, or hire an accountant to advise you on setting up and maintaining a recordkeeping system.

Your records will be used to prepare tax returns, make business decisions, and apply for loans. Set aside a special time each day to update your records. It will pay off in the long run with more deductions and fewer headaches.

If your business is small or related to an activity that is usually considered a hobby, it's even more important that you keep good records. The IRS may decide that what you are doing is only a hobby, and you won't be allowed to deduct expenses or losses from your home-produced income at tax time. So keep records of all transactions in which you spend or bring in money. Pick a name for your business and register it with local or state regulatory authorities. Call your city hall or county courthouse to find out how.

Your records should tell you these three facts:

* How much cash you owe, * How much cash you are due, and * How much cash you have on hand.

You should keep five basic journals:

1. Check register--Shows each check disbursed, the date of disbursement, number of the check, to whom it was made out (payee), the amount of money disbursed, and for what purpose.

2. Cash receipts--Shows the amount of money received, from whom, and for what.

3. Sales journal--Shows the business transaction, date, for whom it was performed, the amount of the invoice, and the sales tax, if applicable. It may be divided to indicate labor and goods.

4. Voucher register--A record of bills, money owed, the date of the bill, to whom it is owed, the amount, and the service.

5. General journal--A means of adjusting some entries in the other four journals.

Choosing a Recordkeeping System

Set up your records to reflect the amount and type of activity in your particular business. There are a wide range of pre-packaged recordkeeping systems. The SBA's pamphlet Small Business Bibliography No. 15 (see "For Further Information") lists many such systems. The most useful system for a small, home-based business is usually based on what is called the "One-Write System." It captures information at the time the transaction takes place. These One-Write Systems are efficient because they eliminate the need for recopying the data and are compatible with electronic data processing if you should decide to computerize.

Even though you may be small and just beginning, it is probably wise to consult an accountant to help you decide which recordkeeping system is best for your business. Once it is set up, you can record the daily transactions or periodically have a bookkeeper post your daily transactions in your General Ledger and prepare your financial statements.

Be sure to establish a separate bank account for your business--even before the first sale. Then you will have a complete and distinct record of your income and expenditures for tax purposes, and you won't have to remember which expenses were business and which were personal.

It is important to choose a recordkeeping system that you understand and will use. It will help you see how well the business is doing and is the first step in responsible financial management.

Tax Obligations And Benefits

Significant tax savings are available to the home-based business owner in the form of deductions, credits, and depreciation allowances. The time, money, and energy you put into keeping good records and keeping current on tax laws will be worthwhile and ensure that you operate within the law. You will need to plan for income tax, social security (all self-employed persons must pay a federal self-employment tax), employees' taxes (if you hire anyone), property tax on your home and business-related taxes, such as sales tax, gross-receipts or inventory tax (in some states and localities), and excise or individual item taxes (on certain commodities).

The Internal Revenue Service supplies the following free booklets (and runs free workshops) to give you details on your specific obligations:

* Your Federal Income Tax (Publication 17) * Tax Guide for Small Business (Publication 334) * Business Use of Your Home (Publication 587) * Employer's Tax Guide (Circular E) * self-employment Tax (Publication 533) * Tax Information on Retirement Plans for the self-employed (Publication 560) * Tax Information on Depreciation (Publication 534) * Information on Excise Taxes (Publication 510) * Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax (Publication 505

There are various federal and state forms you will need to fill out to start a small business. The federal government requires you to fill out several forms including the following:

* Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4) (If you have employees or are subject to excise tax) * Employer's Annual Unemployment Tax Return (Form 940) * Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return (Form 941) * Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate (W-4) * Employer's Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) * Reconciliation/Transmittal of Income and Tax Statements (W-3)

As a home-based business owner you should be aware that every business decision--each purchase and transaction you make--has tax implications or built-in tax advantages or disadvantages. Deductions may be available for home maintenance and improvements; automobile expenses; telephone expenses; office and work space; inventory space; major purchases, such as a computer; and a wide variety of other items such as uniforms, coffee service, trademarks, a safe deposit box, credit bureau fees, and business cards.

Each business situation is different and tax laws change, so consult up-to-date references, a trusted attorney, and an accountant who can advise you on your particular obligations and benefits.


Insurance helps to safeguard your business against losses from fire, illness, and injury. You cannot operate without it. Talk with an insurance representative about your business needs. Check with the insurance carriers on your home policy and make sure business use of your home is compatible with your homeowner's policy. In addition to a homeowner's policy (personal plan), now that you have a business, you will need a commercial policy for full protection. Discuss these other possible needs with your agent:

* Product Liability Coverage--to protect you in case your product causes injury to the user

* Auto Liability and "Non-owned" Auto Liability Insurance--if a car is ever used to support the business in any way

* Medical Payments Insurance--payable if someone is injured in your home whether or not it was your fault

* Worker's Compensation--if you have employees

* Business Interruption Insurance or Earnings Insurance--in case your business is damaged by fire or some other cause and you must totally or partially suspend operations

* Disability Income Protection--a form of health insurance in case you become disabled

* Business Life Insurance--to provide funds for transition if you die

Be sure to keep all your insurance records and policies in a safe place--either with your accountant or in a safe deposit box. If you keep them at home for convenience sake, then give your policy numbers and insurance company names to your accountant or lawyer or put it in your safe deposit box.

Final advice for the wise business person is to read and understand the fine print in all policies and to reevaluate business insurance needs about every six months.

Other Considerations

Another aspect of planning is sheltering tax dollars through a Keogh Plan or corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, if your business is incorporated, or a retirement plan.

If you have a partnership, consider making a Buy and Sell Agreement with your partner(s). This agreement requires the surviving partner(s) to buy, and the heirs to sell, the deceased partner's interest. The surviving partner(s) then becomes the sole owner(s) and the heirs receive cash for their share of the business.

Dealing With Laws: Zoning, Licensing, Permits, and Others

Unfortunately, many home-based business people try to "slide" into business, saying "I'll just try it for a few months and see how things go" or "It's not really a business. I have only ten clients." This attitude can lead to a lack of planning and big disappointments. If you set up your studio, print business cards and flyers announcing classes, and then find that regulations make it illegal to operate out of your home, you may have to start all over.


Before you start your home-based business, do a thorough investigation of the zoning laws in your community. Zoning regulations spell out activities permitted and prohibited in specific portions of a city or county. Call your town hall, zoning office, or local library to get a copy of zoning laws. Find out the structure of your local zoning groups. Most areas have Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Boards.

If the home business you are planning conforms to zoning regulations, then all you need to do is keep abreast of new proposals that may affect your situation. It's a good idea to stay in touch with others operating from their homes by joining business organizations or neighborhood groups in case you ever need to band together to propose or oppose new regulations. Maintaining a low profile and friendly relations with your neighbors will result in more support from them should adverse regulations affecting your business ever be proposed.

If through your research you discover that the home business you are planning would violate the zoning code, there are several possible ways to proceed. You might wish to check with an attorney who specializes in zoning law to look for a legal way around the regulation. You might decide to apply to the Zoning Board for a variance or exception. Or you may be able to change your business enough to make the operation fit the law. If the regulation outlaws businesses that employ people other than the owner at home, maybe you can have employees take work to their own homes. If your business will create too much traffic, consider another strategy for product distribution. If your business will create too much noise, maybe you can soundproof your house. At last resort, ask yourself "Is it worth it to organize a drive to change the law?" Considering the rapid growth in the number of home-based businesses, you just might find other entrepreneurs who are also interested in submitting a change in the regulations to the Zoning Board. Go to meetings of the Board and try to identify the person who appears most active and most sympathetic to your position.

In the unfortunate and unlikely (most zoning officers don't have time to chase people who aren't bothering anybody) event that you are issued a "cease and desist" order, you should: 1) file an appeal immediately with the Appeals Board (if you interpret the regulations differently than they do); or 2) submit a change in the regulation to the Zoning Board to allow your business, which may enable you to continue to operate without fines until the Board reaches a decision. You may need a lawyer if you are not entirely familiar with the regulations and the workings of the Board.

Cultural and national trends point in the direction of zoning regulations that allow quiet, nonpolluting, low-traffic kinds of home businesses. More and more corporations are employing people to work at home. Most neighborhoods will adopt a "live and let live" attitude if you keep your premises neat and quiet and don't create traffic and parking problems.

Keeping Up With Zoning Legislation

There are two ways to keep up with zoning legislation in your community (and with other topics of interest to home-based entrepreneurs). One way is to read local newspapers, especially the business section and the local or "neighborhood" sections. Be sure you notice local items about such things as proposed subway stations or the county's plan for revitalization. Changes like these could eventually influence zoning in your area. The other way to keep abreast of trends and zoning issues is to join the local chapter of a business group, such as the Rotary Club, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the National Family Business Council, or a Business and Professional Women's Club. Through newsletters, meetings, and friendships that develop, you will hear all the latest local (and national) issues discussed while you learn valuable business skills and make useful contacts.

Working With Professionals

Even the smallest and newest business needs help from at least two kinds of specialists: an attorney and an accountant. Depending on your type of business and your skills you may, from time to time, ask the advice of other professionals, such as a direct mail or marketing specialist, an insurance representative, management consultant, a computer specialist, a realtor, a public relations expert.

Several guidelines will hold true no matter what type of expert you are dealing with: 1) Interview professionals to see if you will be comfortable working with them. Make sure they have served other small businesses similar to yours. Find out ahead of time exactly what service you are buying, what the working relationship will be, and what fees will be charged. 2) Be completely honest about your business situation. Advice based on partial or incorrect information is no advice at all. If you are having problems, don't be embarrassed. If your sales are down, give the experts all the information you have and work as a team to solve the problem. If business is good, don't be afraid that professionals will steal your idea or expect a raise. Build a trusting, businesslike relationship. 3) Expect the professionals you hire to spend at least some of their time teaching you and explaining complex concepts. But don't expect to be spoon-fed or delegate all decisions to them. Take a course at the local community college in recordkeeping and taxes or public relations to develop more skill in areas where you are inexperienced. 4) Keep your appointments and pay your bills promptly.

Your Lawyer

To find a lawyer who is familiar with businesses of your size and type, ask for a referral from a business colleague, your accountant, the local

A lawyer can help you decide which is the most advantageous business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation). He or she can help you with zoning, permit, or licensing problems; health inspection problems; unpaid bills; contracts and agreements; patents, trademarks, copyright protection; and some tax problems. Because there is always the possibility of a lawsuit, claim, or other legal action against your business, it is wise to have a lawyer who is already familiar with your business before a crisis arises. A lawyer experienced with your type of venture should also advise you on laws, programs, and agencies--(federal, state, and local)--that help small businesses through loans, grants, procurement set-asides, counseling, and other ways. He or she will tell you about unexpected legal opportunities and pitfalls that may affect your business.

In choosing a lawyer, experience and fee should be related. One lawyer may charge an hourly rate that, at first, looks cheaper than another lawyer's. However, because of a lack of experience in some area, the less expensive lawyer may charge a larger fee in the long run. Ask for a resume and check references. If you feel overwhelmed, take a trusted friend to the initial meeting to help you keep on track as you interview the lawyer about services and fees.

If you retain a law firm, be sure you understand who will work on your case and who will supervise the work. If junior lawyers handle your work, the fees should be lower. That's fine as long as you know an experienced attorney will be reviewing the case periodically.

Let your lawyer know that you expect to be informed of all developments and consulted before any decisions are made. You may also want to receive copies of all documents, letters, and memos written and received in your case or have a chance to read them in the lawyer's office.

Ask the attorney to estimate the timetable and costs of your work. You may wish to place a periodic ceiling on fees, after which he or she would call you before proceeding to do work that would add to your bill. Always have a written retainer agreement, describing just what you and the lawyer expect of each other.

Your Accountant

Most businesses fail not for lack of good ideas or good will, but rather for lack of financial expertise and planning. Look for an accountant as you would an attorney. Get referrals from trusted friends, business associations, or professional organizations. Discuss fees in advance and draw up a written agreement about how you will work together. Your accountant (along with your lawyer) can advise about initial business decisions, such as the form of the business. Your accountant will help set up your books, draw up and analyze profit and loss statements, advise on financial decisions (e.g., buying a computer), and give advice on cash requirements for your start-up phase. He or she can make budget forecasts, help prepare financial information for a loan application, and handle tax matters.

Accounting firms offer a variety of services. If this is not an easy area for you, the fees you pay will be well worth it. Most firms will maintain books of original entry, prepare bank reconciliation statements and post the general ledger, prepare balance sheets and income statements on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, and design and implement various accounting and recordkeeping systems.

They will also get your federal and state withholding numbers for you, give instructions on where and when to file tax returns, prepare tax returns, and do general tax planning for the small business person.

Your accountant is your key financial advisor. He or she should alert you to potential danger areas and advise you on how to handle growth spurts, how to best plan for slow business times, and how to financially nurture and protect your business future.

State and Federal Laws That May Apply to Your Business

Most localities have registration and licensing requirements that will apply to you. A license is a formal permission to practice a certain business activity, issued by a local, state, or federal government. You may have the type of business that requires a permit from the local authorities. There is often a small fee for licenses and permits (usually $15-25). A license may require some kind of examination to certify that the recipient is qualified. Your business name must be registered and a sales tax number must be obtained. Separate business telephones and bank accounts are usually required. Of course, you will want to have the latter anyway for accurate bookkeeping purposes, If you have employees, you are responsible for withholding income and Social Security taxes. You must also pay worker's compensation and unemployment insurance and comply with minimum wage and employee health laws.

If your operations are intrastate, you will be concerned primarily with state and local, rather than federal, licensing. Businesses frequently subject to state or local control are retail food establishments, drinking places, barber shops, beauty shops, plumbing firms, and taxi companies. They are primarily service businesses and are subject to regulations for the protection of public health and morals. Your attorney can help you make sure you have complied with all licensing and permit requirements. Depending on your type of business you may have to comply with building and safety codes, too.

Think twice about the liabilities of operating without proper licenses and registrations. If you begin to advertise or are fortunate enough to "make the news" in some way, you will probably hear from a local official. You will pay with embarrassment, time, and money if your business is not properly licensed.

If you find legal regulations, permits, and licenses confusing, make sure you find some way to get the information you need to operate legally. Get help from your lawyer, accountant, business partner, or even your local librarian. This is not an aspect of business operations that can be delayed until you "get around to it." Your business reputation and financial standing are at stake.

Understanding the Financial Side

Who Needs Financial Planning? You do! All businesses run on money for the purpose of making money. A major reason for business failure is the lack of financial planning. Although it is nearly impossible to make exact estimates, approximate ones will help. The very process of thinking through these financial questions will develop your business acumen and lead to solid planning. Get your accountant involved in reviewing your plans and advising you, too.

Estimating Start-Up Costs

Begin your financial planning by estimating your initial or start-up costs. Include all items of a nonrecurring nature such as fees, licenses, permits, franchise fees, insurance, telephone deposit, tools, equipment, office supplies, fixtures, installation of fixtures and equipment, remodeling and decorating, funds for your opening promotional event if you plan to have one, signs, and, of course, professional fees for your attorney and accountant.

Depending on your type of operation, the amount of money you invest, and the energy you expect to put in (part-time to full-time) can determine how much working capital you will need. Many business experts say if you expect a profit in six months, double that time and be ready to operate without profits for twelve months to give yourself a cushion in case of unanticipated expenses or delays. Study the growth patterns of other similar business and ask for advice from your accountant and attorney.

Projecting Operating Income and Expenses

Next, estimate the "working" capital you will need to keep operating for six to twelve months. Operating expenses include salaries; expenses for telephone, light, heat, office supplies, and other supplies or materials; debt interest; advertising fees; maintenance costs; taxes; legal and accounting fees; insurance fees; business membership fees; and special services expenses, such as secretarial, copying, and delivery service.

It is a good idea to obtain typical operating ratios for the kind of business in which you are interested. Among the sources for such ratios are Robert Morris Associates, Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., the Accounting Corporation of America, trade associations, publishers of trade magazines, specialized accounting firms, industrial companies (for example, National Cash Register Co.), and colleges and universities. The typical ratios for your type of business combined with your estimated sales volume will serve as benchmarks for estimating the various items of expense. However, do not rely exclusively on this method for estimating each expense item. Modify these estimates through investigation and quotations in the particular market area where you plan to operate.

In addition to business operating capital, you will need to plan for reserve capital to cover personal expenses. This estimate will include all your normal living expenses, such as food, household expenses, car payments, rent or mortgage, clothing, medical expenses, entertainment, and taxes for you and your family.

After you have estimated start-up costs, working or operating capital needed for six to twelve months, and personal expenses and obligations, you may see that you need more start-up capital than you thought. What will you do? Discuss this with your accountant, attorney, and trusted business associates and family. Entrepreneurs secure needed capital in a variety of ways. You can:

* Get loans or gifts from family members or friends. Make businesslike, written agreements and be sure to disclose fully the potential risk as well as the possible profit.

* Apply for a bank loan. For this you will need a comprehensive statement of your personal financial condition and a business plan with financial projections to present to the loan officer. If you need help in preparing your loan application, take a course for small business people at a local community college or visit your nearest SBA office to get assistance from a SCORE counselor.

* Apply for an SBA loan guarantee. The SBA is not a bank, but it does extend guarantees and may rarely participate in a loan when the bank is unable or unwilling to provide the entire financing itself. The SBA loan officer will ask you the same hard questions as a loan officer in a commercial bank and require the same carefully considered data on your personal finances, start-up costs, and business projections.

* Search for some sort of venture capital. For start-up entrepreneurs some prior managerial or entrepreneurial track record is usually necessary in order to get venture capital. The main disadvantage of venture capital is that you will probably have to give up between 50 to 90 percent ownership of the new business in return for the capital. A home business is extremely unlikely to attract venture capital.

Understanding Your Balance Sheet

Your Balance Sheet is a summary of the status of your business--i.e., its assets, liabilities, and net worth--at an instant in time. By reviewing your Balance Sheet along with the Profit and Loss Statement and Cash-Flow Statement, you will be able to make informed financial and business planning decision.

The Balance Sheet is drawn up using the totals from the individual accounts kept in your General Ledger. It shows what you have left when you pay all your creditors. Assets less liabilities equal capital or net worth. The assets and liabilities sections must balance--hence the name Balance Sheet. It can be produced quarterly, semi-annually, or at the end of each calendar or fiscal year.

While your accountant will be most helpful in drawing up your Balance Sheet, it is you who must understand it. Current assets are anything of value you own such as cash, inventory, or property that the business owner can convert into cash within a year; fixed assets are things such as land and equipment. Liabilities are debts the business must pay. They may be current (such as amounts owed to suppliers or your accountant) or they may be long-term (such as notes owed to the bank). Capital (also called equity or net worth) is the excess of your assets over your liabilities.

Prepare a Balance Sheet for your new business during the planning phase to estimate its financial condition at that time and also a projected one for the first year of business. This will help you decide on the feasibility of your venture and make modifications to ensure profitability. You can also use these statements as part of the documentation in a loan application.

Understanding Your Profit and Loss Statement

Your Profit and Loss Statement is a detailed, month-by-month tally of the income from sales and the expenses incurred to generate the sales. It is a good assessment tool because it shows the effect of your decision on profit. It is a good planning tool because you can "try out" decisions on paper before actually going ahead.

The Profit and Loss Statement includes four kinds of information:

* The Sales information lists the number of units sold and the total revenues generated by the sales.

* The Direct Expenses category includes the cost of labor, materials, and manufacturing overhead (but not normal overhead).

* Indirect Expenses are the costs you have even if the product is not produced or the service is not delivered. They include the fixed costs or normal overhead of salaries, rent, utilities, insurance, depreciation, office supplies, taxes, and professional fees for your lawyers and accountant.

* Income or Profit is the last category on the Profit and Loss Statement. It is shown both as pre-tax and after-tax or net income. The IRS will look at your pre-tax figure, whereas your loan officer and you are more concerned with your after-tax figure.

Your Profit and Loss Statement should be prepared at the very minimum once a year--and more often in the beginning or growth stages of your business. It is a key document from which the economic health of a business can be determined. Make certain you do it properly and understand its meaning.

Understanding Your Cash Flow Statement

Your business must have a healthy cash flow to survive. Cash flow is the amount of money available in your business at any given time. To keep tabs on cash flow, forecast the funds you expect to disburse and receive over a given period of time. Then you can predict deficiencies or surplus in cash and decide how to respond.

A cash flow projection serves one other very useful purpose in addition to planning. As the actual information becomes available to you, compare it to the monthly cash flow estimates you previously made to see how accurately you are estimating. As you do this, you will be giving your self on-the-spot business training in making more accurate estimates and plans for the coming months. As your ability to estimate improves, your financial control of the business will increase.

The creative business owner works with his or her accountant to use the information gleaned from all of these financial tools to make a variety of managerial decisions--decisions on buying supplies, expansion, when to hire more employees, how to get the best tax breaks, and many other important steps that will shape the future of the business.

Make it Easy on Yourself

Successful home-based business owners learn from experience--their own and that of others. In Jeffry A. Timmon's study of entrepreneurial personality characteristics (New Venture Creation: A Guide to Small Business Development), he notes that entrepreneurs are disappointed but not discouraged by failure. They use failures as learning experiences and try to understand their role in causing the failure in order to avoid similar problems in the future. Furthermore, Timmons asserts, entrepreneurs seek and use feedback on their performance in order to take corrective action and improve.

How to Learn From Experience

You can learn from experience in several ways:

First, work closely and creatively with professional advisors, such as your lawyer and your accountant. As you continually review your business records, you will see "mistakes," but you will also begin to develop skill in planning and managing.

Second, continue to learn about all areas of business operations, constantly acquiring new ideas. Most community colleges have short, inexpensive, practical courses for business owners in topics like "Financing a Small Business," "Choosing a Small Business Computer," and "Starting and Operating a Home-Based Business."

Third, get to know other business owners with similar needs or problems. Talking with others may be a way to avoid repeating the mistakes they have made and benefiting from their experience. Local and national organizations offer membership, social events, networking opportunities, newsletters, and seminars for home-based business owners. Through these organizations you can often advertise your product or service to other business owners. They also provide a way to learn about services you may need, such as accounting, public relations, or a responsible secretarial service. These organizations offer updates in such areas as taxes and zoning in their newsletters and workshops.

Finding and Using Resources, Networks, and Support Groups

Start out with the attitude "Whatever my current business problem, I can find the solution. Somewhere there is information, a book, a person, an organization, or a government agency that can help." A word of warning though: finding resources and building networks can be very time-consuming. Joining organizations can turn out to be expensive, especially if you are too busy to use their services and support once you join. So use this list to organize your search for resources useful to you, then pick and choose carefully what you decide to read, join, buy, or attend:

Your Public Library: Visit your local library. Get to know its resources. In addition to books, many libraries offer free workshops, lend skill-building tapes, and become a central place to pick up catalogues and brochures describing continuing education opportunities for business owners. Ask the librarian for current copies of zoning regulations. Get familiar with new books and resources in your field (computers, health care, crafts, etc.) as well as in business skills (advertising techniques, financing, etc.) Look for magazines such as In Business, Black Enterprise, Venture, or The Journal of Small Business Management. Reading selectively is free. Subscribing to too many magazines may be expensive.

Organizations: A wide variety of local and national organizations have sprung up to serve the informational, lobbying, and networking needs of business entrepreneurs. Through meetings, services, or newsletters, groups such as the National Association of Women Business Owners, American Entrepreneurs Association, Business and Professional Women's Club, National Alliance of Home-based Businesswomen, and the National Association for Cottage Industry offer members everything from camaraderie to valuable "perks," such as group rates on health insurance. David Gumpert's book, The Insider's Guide to Small Business Resources, has addresses of many of these groups and other information on such resources.

Government Resources: Contact your local or district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to learn about SBA services and publications. The SBA also offers free or inexpensive workshops and counseling through SCORE is a volunteer program sponsored by the SBA through which retired executives who have management expertise are linked with owners/managers of small business or prospective entrepreneurs who need help.

The Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Department of Defense (procurement), Department of Labor, IRS (ask for the free "Business Tax Kit"), Federal Trade Commission, and the Government Printing Office all have publications and services to inform and support you. Local and state government offices may also have services to help you. Addresses will be available in your telephone book, under U.S. Government, at your public library, or at the SBA office near you.

Community colleges: Most community colleges now have short, inexpensive, noncredit programs for entrepreneurs. The classes usually are convenient to business owners and are taught by experienced owners and managers.

As a home-based business person you can overcome feelings of isolation and give and receive valuable information if you tap into networks and resources. Being active in professional and trade associations will help to build a good marketing network for your service or product. Take the time and invest the money for memberships. Then continually evaluate which organizations and resources best serve your business information and networking needs.

Managing Time and Stress

Expect to encounter stress and time problems similar to those of other business owners but accentuated by the fact that you work at home. Follow these guidelines to make it a little easier on yourself:

1) Plan your time and establish priorities on a daily "to do" list. Decide what your "prime time" is and do your most important or difficult tasks. Set "business hours," specific times when you are at work and times when you turn on the answering machine because you are "on duty but off call." You, your customers, and your family will appreciate knowing your set routine, even though you know that for special events or emergencies you can break that schedule.

2) Notice what your four or five big time-wasters are and learn techniques to eliminate them or compensate for them. Some common ones are: telephone interruptions, visitors, socializing, excessive paperwork, lack of policies and procedures, procrastination, failure to delegate, unclear objectives, poor scheduling, lack of self-discipline, and lack of skill in a needed area.

3) Stay in contact with people. Even though you prefer to work at home, you should plan work-related or social activities that provide frequent contact with others. This will help your morale if you feel isolated. Even for home-based business owners who like feeling isolated, keeping up with business and professional contacts is a must.

4) Build a fitness program into your day. Many successful entrepreneurs exercise in order to think creatively because physical activity sends oxygen to the brain and helps the mind function better. With regular exercise your health will improve, your stress level will go down, and your trim look will inspire people to have confidence in your abilities.

5) Give your home business as much of a separate and distinct physical identity as possible. Although you might save a few dollars by using the ironing board as a bookshelf and a cardboard box as a file cabinet, the stress and strain of operating without proper space and supplies will take its toll. Have a separate room or area for your business, with a separate entrance if customers or suppliers visit. Consider soundproofing so your family won't be bothered by your noise and vice versa. (In addition to the psychological and physical comfort of having a separate office, the IRS requires it in order for you to make a legitimate claim for tax deductions.)

6) Take care of your major business asset: YOU. Being the boss can be exciting, fulfilling, and rewarding. It can also be lonely, stressful, and demanding. Learn to balance your professional and personal life. Go on vacation. Get a weekly massage. Join a health club. Take a class in meditation. Attend a business owner's breakfast club. Your business depends on you to be at your best.

Profile: Jeanette's Day-Care Center

Jeanette wanted to return to work when her two children started school. Since her degree was in child psychology, she applied for a job as an assistant at a neighborhood day-care center. When she heard the salary, she decided there must be a better way. After several months of planning and researching, she decided to open her own day-care center in her basement recreation room. With remodeling she could accommodate the children and meet the zoning and licensing regulations. Four years later, her center has an excellent reputation and a long waiting list. She likes being "at home" and working in the business half-days while attending school for a graduate degree in business administration.

Profile: Wallflowers, A Wallpapering Partnership

Thirteen years ago Jane and Rachel bought a van together and formed "Wallflowers," a wallpapering and painting business. When they started, Rachel was recently divorced and wanted to test her entrepreneurial wings. She had quite a reputation with her friends for doing beautiful wallpapering and was often asked by them to help out on weekend remodeling jobs. Jane had little wall-papering experience but had handled all the accounting for her uncle's contracting firm and knew local suppliers and business owners.

They have never had to advertise. Word-of-mouth referrals have kept them busy ten months of the year. They close for two months in the summer so Jane can be with her kids and Rachel can go to Maine. Jane likes working "around" her family; if a child is sick or has a school program she'd like to attend, she doesn't have to apply for leave or fear losing her job. Her clients, mostly family-oriented people such as herself, understand that her children come first and the job will get done.

For Further Information

U.S. Small Business Administration Publications

The following Business Development Booklets, are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Write for current prices on order form SBA 115B.

Handbook of Small Business Finance--Small Business Management Series No. 15.

Ratio Analysis for Small Business--Small Business Management Series No. 20.

Guides for Profit Planning--Small Business Management Series No. 25.

Starting and Managing a Small Business of Your Own--Starting and Managing Series No. 1.

The following Business Development Pamphlets are available for a small processing fee. Write the Small Business Administration, P.O. Box 15434, Fort Worth, TX 76119 for order form 115A, which lists the publications and fees.

Management Aids

The ABC's of Borrowing--MA 1.001

What Is the Best Selling Price?--MA 1.002

Keep Pointed Toward Profit--MA 1.003.

Basic Budgets for Profit Planning--MA 1.004.

Accounting Services for Small Service Firms--MA 1.010.

Analyze Your Records to Reduce Costs--MA 1.011.

Getting the Facts for Income Tax Reporting--MA 1.014.

Budgeting in a Small Business Firm--MA 1.015.

Sound Cash Management and Borrowing--MA 1.016.

Keeping Records in Small Business--MA 1.017.

Checklist for Profit Watching--MA 1.018.

Simple Breakeven Analysis for Small Stores--MA 1.019.

Profit Pricing and Costing for Services--MA 1.020.

Problems in Managing a Family-Owned Business--MA 2.004.

Business Life Insurance--MA 2.009.

Planning and Goal Setting for Small Business--MA 2.010.

Checklist for Going Into Business--MA 2.016

Thinking About Going Into Business--MA 2.025.

How to Get Started With a Small Business Computer--MA 2.027

Techniques for Problem Solving--MA 3.010.

Learning About Your Market--MA 4.019.

Incorporating a Small Business--MA 6.003

Selecting the Legal Structure for Your Business--MA 6.004

Women's Handbook--MA 5.

Small Business Bibliographies

Home Businesses--SBB 2.

Selling By Mail Order--SBB 3.

Marketing Research Procedures--SBB 9.

National Directories for Use in Marketing--SBB 13.

Recordkeeping Systems--Small Store and Service Trade--SBB 15.

Basic Business Reference Sources--SBB 18.

Financial Management--SBB 87.

Marketing for Small Business--SBB 89.

Ideas Into Dollars (Inventors' Guide)--SBB 91.

Decision Making in Small Business--SBB 94.

Other Publications

Be Your Own Boss: The Complete, Indispensable, Hands-on-Guide to Starting and Running Your Own Business. Shilling, Dana. Penguin Books.

Cater From Your Kitchen. Blanchard, Marjorie P. 1981. Bobbs-Merrill.

Consulting: The Complete Guide to a Profitable Career. Kelley, Robert E. 1981. Scriber's.

Earn Money At Home. Davidson, Peter. 1981. McGraw-Hill.

Entrepreneurial Mothers. Gillis, Phyllis. 1984. Rawson Associates.

Homebased Businesses. Feldman, Beverly N. (editor). 1982. Till Press.

Home, Inc. Feldstein, Stuart. 1981. Grosset and Dunlap.

Homemade Money: The Definitive Guide to Success in a Home Business. Brabec, Barbara. 1983. Artisan Crafts.

Home Work: The Stay-at-Home Money Book. Judge, Vira H. 1977. Deseret Books.

How To Start A Business in Your Home and Grow. Willt, Bud. 1980. But Witt.

How To Start and Run a Successful Home Typing Business. Glenn, Peggy. 1980. Ames-Allen.

How To Start a Profitable Typing Service at Home. Montaperto, Nicki. 1981. Barnes & Noble.

Insider's Guide to Small Business Resources. Gumpert, David E. 1982. Doubleday.

Invest In Yourself: A Woman's Guide to Starting Her Own Business. Moran, Peg. Doubleday.

Mind Your Own Business At Home. Bimonthly newsletter. P.0. Box 14850, Chicago, IL 60614.

National Home Business Report. Bimonthly newsletter. Brabec, Barbara. Artisan Crafts.

New Venture Creation, A Guide to Small Business Development. Timmons, Jeffry, et. al. 1977. Richard D. Irwin

The #1 Home Business Book. Delany, George and Delany, Sandra. 1981. Liberty Publishing.

The Small Business Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide In Starting and Running Your Own Business. Burstiner, Irving. 1979. Prentice-Hall.

Turn Your Kitchen into a Goldmine. Howard, Alice. 1981. Harper & Row.

Women And The Business Game Strategies for Successful Ownership. Taylor, Charlotte. 1980. Simon and Schuster.

Women Working at Home: The Homebased Business Guide and Directory, Behr, Marion. 1981. WWH Press.


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