Most grants are made to fund a specific project and require some level of compliance and reporting. The grant writing process involves an applicant submitting a proposal (or submission) to a potential funder, either on the applicant's own initiative or in response to a Request for Proposal from the funder. Other grants can be given to individuals, such as victims of natural disasters or individuals who seek to open a small business. Sometimes grant makers require grant seekers to have some form of tax-exempt status, be a registered nonprofit organization or a local government.
For example, tiered funding for a freeway are very large grants negotiated at government policy level. However smaller grants may be provided by a government agency (e.g. municipal government).
Project-related funding involving business, communities, and individuals is often arranged by application either in writing or online.
In the United States, grants are $100 public and private trusts and foundations. According to the Foundation Center these trusts and foundations number in excess of 88,000 and disperse in excess of $40 billion every year. Trusts and Foundations are a little more complex to research and can be found through subscription-based directories.
Most often, education grants are issued by the government to students attending post-secondary education institutions. In certain cases, a part of a government loan is issued as a grant, particularly pertaining to promising students seeking financial support for continuing their educations.
Grant compliance and reporting requirements vary depending upon the type of grant and funding agency. In the case of research grants involving human or animal subjects, additional involvement with the Institutional Review Boards (IRB) and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is required.
The European Commission of the EU provides financing through numerous specific calls for project proposals. These may be within Framework Programmes. Although there are many 7 year programmes that are renewed that provide money for various purposes. These may be structural funds, Youth programmes and Education programmes. There are also occasional one off grants to deal with unforeseen aspects or special projects and themes. Most of these are administered through what are called National Agencies, but some are administered directly through the EU Commission in Brussels. Due to the complexity of the funding mechanisms involved and especially the high competitiveness of the grant application processes (14%) professional Grant Consulting firms are gaining importance in the grant writing process.