We’re excited to have the chance to give you the fundamentals of nonprofit grants. When visionary leaders create nonprofits, many turn to raise funds from foundations. And while individuals give more to philanthropy overall, foundations still make an essential part of the revenue stream. Before we begin, we have one more thing. We know that Giving Tuesday is only a few weeks away. There’s still time to get the final things done to ensure that you have everything together. Check out your FREE Giving Tuesday webinar HERE.
To get the FREE webinar and information about nonprofit grants, all you have to do is CLICK HERE. We’re just giving away this information, and there’s nothing more for you to do but check it out.
Myths About Nonprofit Grants
While many founders and fundraising teams do pursue foundation grants, many do not. Why? In short, they believe that the effort will not pay dividends. However, at a time of economic uncertainty, it makes sense for nonprofits to diversify their income. In other words, if you’re a nonprofit executive director, you need to consider grants. So, let’s take a look at the myths that you may have heard out there from others.
1. Grants take too much work
Sure, grants take time—both in writing them and also waiting. But if you work them well, you could get sustaining fundraising dollars. Moreover, you could also get funding for new programs or to build capacity.
2. Too little funding
This myth is simply the flip side of the first point. And it’s not accurate. Good fundraisers who take the time to research understand the nonprofit grants they should pursue and those they shouldn’t.
3. Too much risk of failure
Failure is part of the learning process. So, this myth probably originated from a fearful nonprofit executive. Thoughtful and reasoned testing is part of the process, from fundraising on social media to requesting grants.
The Basics for Nonprofit Grants
As with any fundraising, you want to follow some of the essentials when you seek grants. While it’s tough for new nonprofits to get funding or find revenue for new programs, it’s not impossible. You just have to be smart about it. Meaning, you have to do your research. Fortunately for you, several excellent places exist to help you find the right grants for your cause or program. 1) GrantWatch. 2) FoundationSearch. 3) GetEdFunding. 4) Foundation Directory Online. Concerning the basics, what follows are three things you need to know.
1. Your nonprofit needs to establish a need
It’s important to remember that foundations report to their boards or committees. So, when they disperse grants, it’s often by committee. While you will likely ask for a larger amount than you would for most individuals on your database, you need to start with the need. More specifically, do you want to fund a program, capacity-building, or get general support? You also want to clearly explain why getting a grant will impact the community and solve an issue.
2. Explain how the funds will get used by a grant
As good fundraisers understand, people want to know how funds will get used. And the same holds true for nonprofit grants given by foundations. Again, you have to remember that foundation officers typically report to committees of boards. In other words, they have to do due diligence. So, to help ensure your chances, you want to be clear and specific about how you intend to use the funds you receive.
3. Speak to success and sustainability
Finally, you need to speak to the impact you’ll achieve and sustainability for nonprofit grant basics. First, you want to talk about how your success will get measured. It’s vital to have someone who understands programs and measurements to be part of the grant writing process. Secondly, foundations want to see that your program could become sustainable. So, if you have other funders, mention them, or explain what you’ll do to ensure that your nonprofit or program becomes sustainable. Foundations want to invest in efforts that will not solely depend on them.
The Dos for Nonprofit Grants
When you download the nonprofit grants webinar content, you’ll get information about the submission process stages. So, go ahead and download the content, including the deck, audio, and full webinar. Now let’s dig in a bit into some of the dos and don’ts for submitting nonprofit grants (all of them are available to you when you download the content).
1. Develop and outline
To create a nonprofit grant request, you will have to develop an outline. Often, you have to write pages and follow specific formats. So, before you get started on writing it, outline your roadmap.
2. Tailor your nonprofit grant request
It’s tempting to write one grant request and then send it to many foundations. However, the best approach is to tailor your request based on the foundation guidelines.
3. Hire outside counsel if necessary
If you don’t have someone on your team with experience in nonprofit grant writing, hire a consultant. Remember, it’s not only the writing of the grant request that’s important—but also the research and approach.
The Don’ts for Nonprofit Grants
1. Procrastination doesn’t work
Nonprofit grants require a thoughtful approach. And that means you need to take time. If you decide to write as a deadline approaches, it’ll show in your submission. So, know your deadlines and take the time to write your request.
2. Don’t “pad” your budget
Sometimes fundraisers seek to “pad” the budget. Don’t do it. Be straightforward, and make sure you’re precise. Foundation officers are professionals at what they do, and they could see overblown budgets that don’t make sense.
3. Don’t forget grammar and spelling matter
Sure, we’re living at a time with an immense change in language. An emoji could now convey the same information as a whole sentence. Still, foundation officers want to read proper English. Get someone who could edit your request, or use Grammarly.
Finally, requesting nonprofit grants makes a lot of sense. First, you could get a lot more revenue from well-placed grant requests. And second, you could raise funds for a lot less of the expense as you would spend with, say, a gala. So, do your research and if you haven’t done it already, go for it—smartly!
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