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How They Get Away With It

Resource Associates vs. “scam” firms
Making an informed decision

A message from Deborah Montgomery, the CEO of
Resource Associates, about scams and consumer fraud.

My name is Deborah Montgomery and I founded Resource Associates over 15 years ago. I have worked as a professional grant writer my entire career and have very easily surpassed having written and been awarded over $60 million for my customers. I know what grants are out there and I know how to get them. This makes it very easy for me to identify grant scams and marketing fraud. I often ask my staff:

"How can the public believe all the garbage they see on TV or in
their email inbox promising grants and free money?"

But I always have to remind myself that being a legitimate professional grant writer gives me insight that the general public just wouldn't have. This is why I created this informative website; so that I can share this insight with you.

The best advice I can give you as a consumer is to become educated on grants in general and become even more educated on who is trying to sell you a grant service. Before you give out your credit card information or send anyone money for grant services, it is of upmost importance that you take the time to investigate who you are working with and what you are getting yourself into. This includes my company, Resource Associates. My staff will be happy to share with you our Better Business Bureau report, our DUNS consumer information, and as many customer references you desire. When I say references, I mean actual customers we have worked with who you can talk to - not made up names and testimonials that other firms use to fraudulently promote their scams. Stay away from those organizations not willing to provide their customers with all of these types of resources.

When creating this website, I spent a substantial amount of time researching the claims and services of those "top of the search engine" companies that provide grant services. Their websites and marketing materials helped me to develop a list of common claims and statements that should either give you, as the consumer, peace of mind or giant red flags flashing "caution" "caution" this is a scam! The list below summarizes "things to look for" when doing business with grant firms.

The "guarantee" of grant money

What scammers will say:
Most scammers will use phrases like "$25,000 Grant Guaranteed" or "Free Government Money, Guaranteed." This guarantee is a total sham because it would be impossible for anyone to keep such a promise. Here is why. Other than "entitlement grants" (these are earmarked funds that typically are made to government agencies like school districts) grants are competitive. This means you have to compete against other applicants for grant funds. Guaranteeing you are going to be awarded a grant is like guaranteeing your football team is going to win the Superbowl.

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
Resource Associates spends a great deal of time researching grant competition odds. We can tell you what your probability of funding is for most grants you may consider pursuing before you even apply. We encourage our customers to only go after those grants that have the best odds of funding. We can only guarantee that you will receive the best quality grant services possible and we never make false guarantees that NO ONE in this industry could ever keep. Knowing your odds and then pursuing grants that have the best odds of funding are effective strategies that will minimize your risk of being denied a grant. It is impossible to eliminate such risk.

The misuse of the term "grants" for what are
actually "loans" and other programs

What scammers will say:
There are a ton of grants available for some types of ventures and there are very few available for others. To claim that there are millions of dollars in grant funds available to start certain types of businesses (like a hair salon) is a total lie. Yes, there are small business loans and a small handful of other funding streams available for such businesses, but NOT a million dollar grant. Many scam firms try to convince the public that there is grant money for everything under the sun and that if you want to apply and receive the grant money (right now), you have to pay them once you hit the "apply now" button. This is false advertising. The way they get away with this is by using the term "grant" or "funding" in exchange for "loans," "subsidies," and "programs."

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
When Resource Associates conducts prospect research for its customers, it digs for all different types of funding opportunities; including grants, loans, tax incentives, programs, venture capital, etc. We tell the truth to our customers right up front as to if they can expect a lot or just a few opportunities on their research reports. In the case of a hair salon, there will not be a lot of grant exclusive funds for the customer but we are not going to lie about this fact or hide the truth just to get paid for a research report that may not meet the customer's expectations. Instead, we spend our energy coaching our clients to consider various business, partnership, and/or incorporation strategies which could potentially maximize their chances in obtaining grant funding (and we do this free).

Use of the phrase "Apply Now"– indicating that the customer can apply for a grant instantly (and often times with just a click of a button)

What scammers will say:
If only applying for a grant was this easy! Unfortunately, it is not. Grants have long application packages containing forms as well as extensive narrative and budget requirements. It takes weeks to write a grant proposal and to pull these pieces together. It is also important to know that most grants are only available for application at one very limited time period (usually 30-45 days) within a year or every 3-5 years. Grants also have eligibility criteria that most members of the general public could never meet. To claim that all you have to do is click a button and the right grant opportunity will fall in your lap with a fully written proposal that is guaranteed to be awarded is completely absurd.

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
Resource Associates works closely with each of its customers to identify the right grant opportunity to meet his/her individual needs. We contact funders to ensure the customer is not only an eligible, but also a competitive, grant applicant. We spend as much time as possible preparing a grant proposal that will outshine the competition. We do all of this at a fee that is much lower than what you would find from most other firms in the US (legitimate and scam firms).

The credit card scheme

What scammers will say:
Scammers will often obtain your credit card information and charge you a monthly fee that you never agreed to or that is more than what you were quoted. Scammers then make it nearly impossible to cancel the monthly charge.

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
Resource Associates will always provide you a written quote for services before services are rendered. We require our customers to sign a contract which holds us accountable to deliver the products we promise. We would never ask for or require a customer to pay for something that wasn't agreed to by both parties in writing.

The transparency of the organization

What scammers will say:
Most scam firms have multitudes of registered corporations and fictitious names (dba's). This is because they are being sued constantly and they have many angry customers trying to get their money back, causing the scammers to constantly hide their real identity from the public. Anytime you try to investigate these types of firms, you will find another business it is affiliated with or a dead end. Just try and contact the references they list on their websites. Everything is made up including their testimonials and clientele.

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
Resource Associates has been in business for over 15 years and has only moved locations (within a few blocks) twice. The only other entity we are affiliated with is our nonprofit organization. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have never had any black marks from funders, the public, or consumer agencies made against us. We also have a number of clients who are more than happy to talk with the public about their experiences with us.

The grant database full of useless information

What scammers will say:
Many scam firms will claim that they have thousands and thousands of grants in their special grant database. They then charge a monthly fee to their customers to search the database. There is nothing wrong with this apart from the fact that I have never found one of these databases to have a full scope of useful information. Most of the time they list grants that only nonprofits, universities, and government agencies are eligible for or they have grants with misguided information and broken links to the application materials. The typical consumer would therefore find that hours and hours of his/her time searching for the right grant opportunity leads to nowhere.

What legitimate companies like Resource Associates will say:
Resource Associates updates its website with a few of the grants and loans that are available at any one time, but this is nowhere near what is available. Our research department spends hundreds of hours per week researching new opportunities, tracking old and upcoming opportunities, and talking with funders to make absolutely certain our information is as accurate as possible. We don't sell subscriptions to our databases because we believe it is our job to profile the right opportunities with each customer, not to encourage the customer to spend hours of his/her time sifting through grants that may or may not be a good fit.



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