Sunday, June 07, 2009

Top Ten Tips to Raise Grants In A Down Economy

Top 10 Tips to Succeed At Raising Grants in a Down Economy

10. Do your homework. Research which potential grant donors are currently giving to organizations that: do the work your agency does, funds the kinds of programs or projects that you are needing the grant for, and also fund organizations that serve the same geographic region(s) that your organization serves. Make sure you only apply to grant donors that indicate (in their giving guidelines) they would be interested in giving to your organization. Otherwise, your agency will be wasting time and resources.

9. Contact the potential grant donor before sitting down to write the proposal (if contact is permitted before applying for a grant from them) and speak to a programs manager at the foundation or granting organization. Share with them what your nonprofit does, what you are seeking a grant for, and get a sense of how likely they are to be interested in funding it. Remember, in this down economy many grant donors have either cut back giving, no longer give at all, or have recently changed what kinds of programs they fund. Be sure that the research that you found indicating they would potentially give to your organization is still current, right now, today.

8. Learn. It's fine to be new to the nonprofit sector or to grant writing. It's great. What is not so good is to assume, that because your work is for the nonprofit sector, you have to just guess and cross your fingers when raising funds or doing any other nonprofit operations work. Be willing to be a novice, sit down with some excellent references and learn. Before you sit down to write a grant proposal, learn what they require, what should be omitted, how to write succinctly, and how to write an excellent proposal. We recommend the following post

7. Provide the potential grant donor with only what they require be included in the grant proposal. You will find, in their giving guidelines, what they want in the proposal and sometimes they list what can be omitted. It's a good rule of thumb to only provide grant donors with what documents they request, as attachments, in the proposal package. Do not go over board with fancy printing and binding (it indicates that your organization spends money frivolously). If a foundation needs more information beyond what they request in their giving guidelines, they will contact you and request that information or document.

6. Be honest. Be thorough. Be succinct in your writing. Be forthright. Be on time. If they call to request more information or to set a date for a site visit get right back to them. Be professional, gracious, and be yourself in dealing with potential donors.

5. Apply to more than one potential grant donor for a single project. Up the odds. Be sure that you indicate in the grant proposal budgets which potential grant donors you have applied to for this project, how much is being requested of each, and if you have already heard back from one or more of these potential grant donors, indicate that and how much was granted, if anything.

4. After you've finished a final draft of your grant proposal ask a colleague or friend who is a good writer to review it proof reading for spelling, grammar, clarity, ease in reading, etc. Check and check again that in the proposal package you have provided the potential grant donor with all of the information and content that they requested.

3. Don't hound the potential grant donor after submitting your proposal. I know that you are anxious to hear whether your nonprofit will receive the grant, and they know that you are, too. Respect that they have likely received another record amount of applicants, in this giving cycle, and have tens if not hundreds of grant applications to read. The application is usually received and then program managers or professional grant reviewers will go over the proposal to be sure all content that should be there is included, read and summarize the content, and then pass the proposals that get through the first rounds of review onto a body that will make a final decision, such as the board of a foundation. They will get their response back to you as soon as they can.

2. Keep in mind that in this economy grant donors are going to give to nonprofits doing something no other organization in the community is doing. They will also give to nonprofits who have real talent in their respective professional field of work on the board or in the staff. Grants will be given much easier to nonprofits who are collaborating or to start up nonprofits who are starting their agency as a program of an already established (and respected and well run) nonprofit before formally breaking off and going out on their own. Grant donors are looking for nonprofits to grant to that are operated by people who know what they're doing, are stocking the agency with talent and experience, and are not recreating a wheel that already exists. They want their dollar to be effective, spent on a real current and unmet need in the community, and in a way that will actually provide real quantifiable positive results.

1. Get the word out about your nonprofit, its mission, its work, and all of its recent achievements and successes. Also, listen to what other professionals in the nonprofit sector and also in your organization's professional field are saying. What are they recommending, given this economy? What's the future for your region, your professional field, and the beneficiaries of your agency's work? If you learn of any good tips pass them on and ask colleagues for theirs'. Do not hole up in your office day after day. Be a part of the community by getting out, talking with people in the community and helping even potential grant donors who would give to your agency learn about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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Warm Regards

Project Grant Team