Grant Ripoffs: Do Not Be Scammed by Online Grant Promises
My goal is to help you decipher what you should expect from grant writers, finders and software programs. Ultimately, I want you to avoid being lured into some rip-off or scam circulating out there on the Internet. In doing so, I will also offer some resources that I have found to be worth your time or at least researching.
Grants, the pinnacle of what we as layman consider "free money". Whether the source is government subsidies or private donor foundations, we see it as the holy grail of funding for our business ventures or personal projects. This fact that there is such a exponential demand for grant funding creates a supply of unscrupulous individuals willing to milk you for the one thing that you're seeking..."money". That being the case, the purpose of this article is to deliver a sound understanding of what grant finding programs on the market are a waste of your time (or outright rip-offs) and what's out there that provides deliverable results to assist you in seeking your prescribed end. If you want to jump ahead to the resources recommended, then bookmark this page and go to BSAConsultants or copy the link at the bottom of the page†in the†Resource Box.
So, let's get started. My promise to myself prior to writing this article was that I would keep it simple and to-the-point. I will try to keep my promise and in doing so, give you the goods without boring or losing you. I will first provide you those websites and programs that are not worth your time or investment. My goal is to help you decipher what you should expect from grant writers and online programs. Ultimately, I want the reader to avoid being lured into some rip-offs and scams circulating out there on the Internet. In doing so, I will also offer some resources that I have found to be worth the investment of time or at least researching on your part.
Let's first start with grant writers:
Grant Writers- There is no grant writer out there whose interest is common with your own. Most grant-writers-for-hire have only one motivation and that's being paid. This is not to say that they will not or cannot provide a very sound product, but they know there is a good chance that you will not be awarded the grant in question. This being the case, they will in 99.5% of all cases want to be compensated upfront. This is a fair requirement on their part, however, be weary of anyone that assures you they will provide you a winning outcome for a designated payment. Instead look for individuals that will offer to provide a certain number of revisions for a set cost, or ask them what has been their "grant award" ratio (simply the number of grants awarded divided by the number of grants written). This will provide you with†a better indication of if what they're asking in compensation is comparable and reasonable. The bottom-line is do your research; there are plenty of grant writers that use a standard template that may not be appropriate for what you are seeking. How do you know if they're using a template? Ask! The answer provided should be commensurate to all the other indicators you have researched about a specific writer. The answers that you receive and the research will either strengthen your confirmation of this being a good choice or provide a "red flag". Enough red flags should give an indication that this person or company may not be the right fit for you and your project.
Online Grant Finders- I have joked with my business partners that there are more grant providers online than there are grants. You don't have to search too deep into Google to find someone promising that they can provide you a listing of every probable grant out there on the market...for a minimal fee of course. The tricky part about online grant finders is that a few are quite reputable, but provide varying degrees of services. Then there are most sites that guarantee you the key to writing the perfect grant. These grant programs are also provided at varying levels of success. The basic premise here is you pay a fee and receive the "Holy Grail" of insider information on grants that provide money for business start-ups to paying off your debt free-and-clear. What you actually get in return for your fee paid is pamphlets and books listing grants that you could have found by searching online or, worse, grants that do not exist. One of the main players in this fraudulent activity is "Consumer Grants USA." It is a supposed Florida company that uses other names such as the "Government Grant Information Guide," "National Grant Center" and "Federal Government Grant Processing Center." There are many more unscrupulous out there that are adamant about the results they can provide you and your pursuit of "free money". In the end, all you are left with is "less money."
The ideal place to find legitimate grant writers are services that hire professionals, do the research, and then offer a "community" that can vouch for their product. There are a few more out there that can provide professionals for a negotiated fee; I personally have had success with Guru. Also, if you're interested in finding a source that will walk you through the steps of receiving grant information...from searching, to writing, to submission, take a look below to find information on some referred sources.†
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you are interested in organizations that will walk you through the steps of receiving expert grant information; whether you're looking searching for funding sources, or writing a superior grant, to submission, or legitimate grant writers and multiple other service professionals, I HIGHLY recommend that you take a look at my site, BSA Consultants for invaluable business and income generating information.
William Starr is a Fiscal Consultant for the U.S. Government (DoD and DHHS). He lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and two daughters