Simple Steps You Can Take to Improve the Chances of Getting Your Non-Profit Grant Funded
Whether it’s a government grant or a foundation grant, getting your grant funded is tough. In the government funding world, on average, only about 4% to 8% of all funding proposals submitted are funded. Some programs average as high as 28%, but for the most part the average of proposals submitted to those funded is quite low.
When looking at government grants for nonprofit or faith-based organizations, the statistics are not much better. So whether it’s a government grant or a foundation grant, today, we’ll look at simple steps you can take to improve the chances of getting your grant funded.
Not all funding such as investments are acquired for the purpose of earning a profit. Most non profit and social impact organizations serve a higher purpose of advocacy, providing services to underserved or high-risk populations, serving local, statewide, national or global causes such as sustainability, access to healthcare, job creation, equality for all, and many more.
These types of organizations typically apply for grants or funding through foundations or government organizations that fund these types of operations.
To get approval for this types of funding, it is important to understand its different purposes:
Specific Purposes of Non-Profit Grants
Capacity building grants. Capacity building community grants aim to promote a new skill or functionality to an organization., helping it to build capacity to sustain programs and operations beyond grant funding.
Project grants. This type is to provide funding for a specific program or initiative that will run for specified period and achieve specific goals, measurable objectives and outcomes/
Operating fund grants. These are among the most difficult types of grants to win. Funding from operating grants helps keep the lights on for an organization that has no means to be sustainable because they don’t rely on profit.
Research grants. Research grants are among the most widely available types of grants available. They are also among the most difficult to recieve for nonprofit or impact organizations. Funding streams for pursuing academic ventures within the organization typically require a partnership with an established (published) research or a research institution). There are lots of caveats in establishing relations with researchers and research institutions, so consult a pro before entering any type of agreement.
Technical Assistance grants. These are assistance that are non-monetary by nature and can come in the form of equipment, pro bono participation. Or technical assistance. They typically do not sound very appealing but they can lay the foundation for future funding.
Locating the Sources of Funding
Grant funding never disappears. There are 26 federal agencies that provide grants with more than 900 programs for this purpose including sectors such as Agriculture, Defense, Commerce, Education, Energy, Labor and the Arts. All federal grant, cooperative agreements (very similar to a grant) are available Grants.gov.
You can also search for foundation grants through the Foundation Center, but beware, it’s not cheap. Private firms such as Google.org offer funding on a rolling basis if they meet the criteria of their Impact Challenges. Search engines such as Grantwatch.com but again, their services are pricey, and can require a lot of shifting through inapplicable results. Finally, services such as Philanthropy News Digest provide excellent results but it’s not chap. Well worth the investment though if you are serious about your fundrsing efforts.
Annual reports, newspaper articles, mailing lists… all of these are viable sources of information for grants. Joining a local chapter of an organization can help establish networks with fellow fundraisers for grant opportunities. You can also pull lot of information form Guidestar.org. Here you can pull the 990-PF (tax return) for competitors or peer and find out who provided their funding. They provide both a free service and a paid service. I’ve always used the free service without a problem.
Strategies for Securing Approval for Community Grants
The competition for grants is immense and intense. Thus, it is important to have a strategy in place when applying for these. Non-profit organizations should find organizations that align with their mission and values. Research is important as the wrong choice of donor or supporter can compromise the integrity of the organization.
It is also vital to start small and target specific areas that are nearest your location. Afterwards, it is important to determine an exact amount that you need for your project or organization. The more details you include, the more likely it can get support. To justify your budget, you can benchmark and compare your application with other successful organizations.
To make sure you’re not compromising your chances, read the fine print of the grant requirements and prepare thoroughly for it. Have a strategic plan, mission statement and bring vital financial documents. I cannot emphasize this enough. Read, re-read and then read-read the guidelines. Any missing component can get your proposal rejected.
Grants are not instant and undergo a strict process. It also takes time to find grant providers that share your vision and mission. While it takes time to develop a proposal, preparing carefully to fulfill the grant requirements will go a long way in ensuring your success. A dedicated set of personnel focusing on finding grant opportunities and writing applications can help secure a grant approval. It typically can take anywhere from one to 6 months to get an award approval letter.
Are you an organization interested in learning more about how to secure foundation and government grants for your non-government agency? Contact me today and let's talk!