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The most common sponsors are government agencies, foundations (independent, community, or family), and corporations. In addition, some professional organizations, universities, and other non-profit organizations have small grants programs that may be open to application.

Most sponsors fund only certain project categories, and so the first step in seeking funding is to define your project according to the terminology used by funders. Some of the most common designations are listed below:

TYPICAL AWARD
PROJECT TYPE MECHANISMS
TYPICAL SOURCES
Applied research Contract; restricted grant Government; corporations; special-interest foundations
Basic research Restricted grant Government; special-interest foundations
Capital (buildings and major equipment) Restricted grant; challenge grant; gift Foundations; government; individuals
Conference/seminar Restricted grant; sponsorship Government; foundations; special-interest corporations
Creative product (art, music, literature) Restricted grant; grant to individual Government; foundations
Curriculum development Restricted grant Government; foundations; professional organizations
Degree program planning/ implementation Restricted grant; challenge grant; gift Foundations; government; individuals
Endowment Gift; restricted grant; challenge grant Individuals; foundations; government (rare)
Fellowship Restricted grant; in-kind services (e.g., housing); grant to individual Foundations; government; professional organizations
Field research Restricted grant Government; foundations; professional organizations
General operations Unrestricted grant; gift Individuals; foundations
Pilot studies Restricted grant Government; foundations; professional organizations
Program enhancement Restricted grant; gift Government; foundations; individuals; corporations
Scholarly research Restricted grant Government; foundations; professional organizations
Technical assistance Contract; cooperative agreement Government; corporations
Training/professional development Restricted grant Government; professional organizations; foundations
Travel Restricted grant Professional organizations; foundations; government

Lydia Petersson
Mary Baldwin College