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As the need for environmental sustainability continues to rise, so does the need for renewable energy projects and outreach initiatives. Getting involved in one of these projects is a great way to provide an environmental spark to your community–and maybe beyond–but starting one from the ground up can be especially difficult. In times like these, you will likely need to establish a financial foundation to get your idea up and running.

One method to achieving this first step is through the pursuit of a renewable energy grant. There are many energy-based grant programs out there, and if you successfully win one that reflects your goals, you will have found a reasonable starting point to make your aspirations a reality.

Here are some quick tips for approaching a renewable energy grant.


Value Deadlines

It may seem like a no-brainer, but a vital first step in approaching a renewable energy grant is knowing the grant’s deadline. Being unprepared is the most common mistake that people make when applying for grant programs of all kinds. By taking note of the grant’s deadline in advance, you will be able to plan out your application work in a timely manner while pacing yourself so that you know you are properly following the grant’s directions. Write the deadline down and post it in an area where you will regularly see it, and keep in mind that this deadline may very well represent the date of your project’s potential inception.


Be direct

There is a time and place for wordy and jargon-filled writing. A grant application is not that place. A quick way to lose funding from a grant program is to challenge its readers with long-winded, cryptic responses that distract focus from your main objective. Additionally, it can be helpful to utilize white space — break up your paragraphs so that they are easier to read. These small changes can potentially make or break a grant program’s enthusiasm for your ideas.


Follow directions

Another seemingly obvious step in the grant application process is following all of the grant’s directions. It may seem tempting to skip questions that seem vague or unnecessary, but try your best to control this urge, as most grant programs will quickly discard unfinished or sparsely finished applications. The grant’s offered funding is important to you, and this notion should be reflected in every section of the application process.


Include sources

Finally, it is important to give the grant program an idea of your research sources, as well as any initial funders that you may have employed in the early stages of your project. This approach is courteous to grant programs and it will serve as a chance to aggregate all of your work into one document for quick consideration. If your first grant application does not work out, you will have all of your sources and information readily available to send out again — with some changes.