Advice nad Information on Grant Seeking and Proposal Writing
Differences Between Public and Private Sources of Funding
Public Private
  • Purpose set by legislation
  • Focus on functions usually impacting significant groups in society.
  • Have the most money and more likely to award large grants/contracts.
  • More likely to pay all project cost and/or cover indirect costs.
  • Easier to find information about and to stay current on project needs/interests.
  • Application processes and deadlines are public information and very firm.
  • Use prescribed formats for proposals – many use "common" application forms.
  • Possibilities of renewal known up front.
  • Plentiful staff resources – most projects have specific contact person.
  • More likely to have resources for technical assistance.
  • Funds available to wider array of organizations (forprofit and nonprofit).
  • Accountable to elected officials if administrative staff don’t follow the rules.
  • More likely to focus on emerging issues, new needs, populations not yet recognized as "special interests."
  • Often willing to pool resources with other funders.
  • Wide range in size of available grants -- some can make very large awards, others are strictly for small local projects.
  • More willing source of start-up or experimental funds.
  • Full length, complex proposals not always necessary.
  • Can be much more flexible in responding to unique needs and circumstances.
  • Able to avoid bureaucratic requirements for administering grants.
  • Can often provide alternative forms of assistance, i.e., software/hardware donations, materials, expertise, etc.
  • Fewer applicants in most cases.
  • Can generally be much more informal and willing to help with the proposal process.

    Public Private
  • Are much more bureaucratic.
  • Lengthy proposal requirements and complex application, administration and compliance procedures.
  • Often require institutional cost-sharing and matching.
  • Reviewers tend to favor established applicants.
  • Sometimes difficult to sell new ideas and high-risk approaches.
  • Cost to applicants much higher – expensive application and compliance procedures.
  • Changing political trends affect security of some programs – availability of funds can change rapidly.
  • Average grant size usually much smaller.
  • Priorities can change very rapidly, continuation support can be difficult to predict.
  • Applicants have limited influence on the decision making process.
  • Information on policies and procedures must generally be researched, can be time consuming.
  • Less likely to cover all project costs and most do not cover indirect costs.
  • Limited staff – fewer opportunities for personal contact and/or site visits.
  • May not be clear about reasons for rejection – hard to improve for 2nd attempt.
  • Adapted from "Getting Funded: A Complete Guide to Proposal Writing" by Mary Hall

    Return to the Top of the Page Return to the Top
    Fast Facts on Literacy (Refresh to see another fact)

    Ohio Literacy Resource Center - Celebrating 10 Years of Enhancing Adult Literacy 1993-2003 This page
    and is maintained by the OLRC WWW Development Team.