We all know the feeling of coming this close to getting something, then finding out that we just barely missed out. This can be true with grant funding. Many grant programs are funded at a particular time of year, then end when all the funds are allocated. Others have a pre-determined funding cycle. If you miss this funding cycle, you end up having to wait until the next one, or if the program isn’t renewed, then you miss out altogether.

How do you avoid this? I have a few techniques that will help you avoid missing your window of opportunity. First, have your information organized and ready to use. I recommend to my students that they have a generic grant proposal ready so that it can easily be adapted for specific funding requests in a minimum amount of time. This is key because sometimes you’ll just find out about funding programs when the deadline is looming near and you’ll need to move quickly.

Next, try not to find out about funding programs at the last moment. You can sign up for alerts and periodically check funding websites for the latest news. For example, in the US, every time there’s a new grant that is made available by one of the government agencies, they’re required by law to announce it in the Federal Register and include the time period you are eligible to apply. You can likely find a similar resource for whichever type of funding you’re interested in, for the particular location you have in mind.

In some cases also, you have to be registered with a government body before you can submit grant applications. Be sure to find this out ahead of time and get it squared away before something that you would like to apply for catches your eye.

Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to submit your grant application or proposal with all the required documents. Some of us are natural procrastinators, and it can be easy to underestimate the time needed to do a good job, then double-check that everything is correct and complete.

Following these pointers will help you avoid missing out on funding that could have been yours. Timing is important!