Different Types of Grant Funding

A wide variety of funding types exist for your organization to seek out. Knowing the different types of funds available is helpful because it may be better for your organization to use one over another. This is often dependent on the type of organization you are, what your organization’s goals are, and what type of project or program you are seeking to fund.

General funds are also sometimes referred to as unrestricted funds. These types of grants allow grantees to spend them in whatever way they see fit. Oftentimes general funds are used by organizations to cover administrative costs or miscellaneous expenses.

Restricted grants, also called special project grants, provide funds to specific projects or items. These funds are referred to as restricted because organizations who receive them are limited to spending them only on pre-agreed upon materials or projects.

Building or renovation funds cover different types of projects related to constructing or remodeling a property. When applying for funds to construct or renovate a building, it is helpful to utilize additional forms of support in conjunction with the funder’s support. For example, organizations could seek out donations of materials or supplies that will cut down on the overall expenses of the project.

Continuing support grants are renewable funds that provide ongoing support to an organization for a certain amount of time. The length of time covered varies between funders. Typically when an organization wins a fund of this nature, they receive a statement of intent to continue to support the project or program for additional periods of time, as long as the funder is financially able to do so.

Endowment funds are donations that are invested with the goal of providing interest income to an organization. This allows the funds to support the organization in an ongoing nature. Oftentimes, funders give these types of funds to organizations with whom they have previously worked and who have demonstrated that they are highly capable of managing the funds from a financial and administrative standpoint.

Emergency funds function as one-time awards that cover short-term financial needs of an immediate nature. Typically funders award these to organizations with whom they have already worked.

In-kind contributions consist of non-financial contributions of support to an organization. These types of contributions include things like equipment, physical materials, or volunteer services. Oftentimes, in-kind contributions are used to support a project which is applying for, or has already received, grant funding.

Challenge grants, or matching support, are grants that that match funds provided by other donors. Usually funders require that organizations obtain all matching funds before they will pay out the grant. Another form of matching fund are employee matching gifts. These consist of gifts by corporate foundations that match a gift provided by an employee of the corporation.

Seed money, also known as startup funds or seed grants, are used to launch new programs or projects. Usually the best avenue for finding funds of this nature is to approach foundations, corporations, or businesses that are local to your area and who will be affected by the project or program you are creating.  

Program development grants are awarded to organizations who are working to develop a specific program. These funds do not cover general operating costs of the organization, but rather provide financial support to the creation of a new project or program.  Schools, universities, and other education-based programs can seek out curriculum development grants, which are intended to fund the creation of different types of curricula.

Having an understanding of these funding types will empower your organization to seek out a variety of financial support streams. As an organization, it is important that you seek out the best types of funding to support the projects and programs that are already in progress, or that you are seeking to create. For example, if you are a school seeking to create your own innovative curriculum, then you should look into the different curriculum development grants that may be available to you. Knowing the types of funds available and understanding how these different types match up to your programs will help to expedite your organization’s grant application process.