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To uncover grant money, get lost in cyberspace
Creativity is needed for an effective search
When looking for grants, you often must be unconventional, advises Cathy Abeita, MA, an education program specialist at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, NM.
While computer search engines such as Google make the hunt for grant money convenient, to uncover all source possibilities, patient education managers must get creative, she says. When looking for money to develop a diabetes program, Abeita first focused on diabetes, then began to think about everything associated with the program. For example, materials development was part of the program, so she researched education grants.
Start out specific and then expand your search wider and wider, she says. If physical fitness is associated with the program, think about companies that produce exercise equipment or produce athletic clothes or shoes that might offer grant money. There also are athletes who have foundations. "That is how broad you have to get. You have to take every single piece of your program apart," says explains.
Also think about the population the program targets. Dollars often are set aside for minority populations. Think broad as well as specific, says Abeita. For example, the National Institutes of Health based in Bethesda, MD, has many divisions, and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several centers, institutes, and offices.
There is a multitude of funding sources that include state and federal agencies, foundations, associations, and corporations, says Abeita. A company such as General Mills that produces food products may offer funding for nutrition programs. In addition, large corporations with regional offices often will offer local funding opportunities ranging from about $5,000-$20,000.
"There are sources you just don’t think about at first until you allow yourself to get lost in cyberspace and wander your way through thinking about whether or not a company funds this or that," says Abeita.
Start locally and use the services in your own organization. If you have a development office, you should go there and find out if they have suggestions, says Virginia Forbes, MSN, RNC, program director of patient and family education at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
"Hospital auxiliaries and volunteer departments are often sources of funding and are great for smaller grants," adds Forbes.
Once you uncover a foundation, corporation, or agency that provides the type of funding you need, find out if they have an electronic mailing list so that you can automatically receive request for proposals, says Abeita. You also can bookmark web sites and simply check them once a month or every couple of weeks, she says.