It’s no secret that nonprofits these days are generally struggling to find the resources necessary to remain afloat. The economic recession has not only reduced the number and amount of donations nonprofits receive, but also increased the demand for nonprofit services. To generate revenue and ease reliance on donors for sustainability, grant writing has quickly become a more vital tool in many nonprofits’ fund-raising arsenal than ever before.
Grant writing is a general term used to describe the process of writing applications for funding allocated for a specific use or purpose. Often grants are furnished by the government, with $137 billion paid to nonprofits for services by the government in 2012 alone. Businesses and private foundations also endow substantial amounts to aid nonprofit work. In 2012, non-governmental agencies contributed an estimated $316 billion to nonprofits nationwide.
Types of Funding
To write a successful grant, the first step is to identify the agency offering the funds so that the application can be appropriately shaped. Government funding is completely different from private funding and entails a specific process of finding available grants, ensuring your company or client meets the qualifications for the grant, and writing a painstakingly precise application for consideration.
Federal funding sources can be local, state-issued, or federal. To find a grant suitable for your needs, begin on the local level as competition tends to be less fierce. This is especially true if your organization contributes regularly to or is highly involved with its community. State grants tend to focus on improving government services or filling
government needs; if your organization offers a public service, state grants may be your best bet. Federal grants are available for a slew of various purposes but also widely sought-after.
Private grants are not restricted by red tape as government grants, so they might be a better fit for your organization’s needs. However, the requirements for each private grant are as diverse as the grants themselves and will likely require a fair amount of customization to ensure that your organization has a chance to succeed.
Tips for Success
A good strategy to utilize once you’ve found a grant that you believe is a good fit for your purpose is to see if you can locate past recipients of the grant. This allows you to analyze that organization’s similarities with your own and ascertain your chances of funding success. Determine if the organization that won serves a similar audience, accomplishes a similar goal, of has obtained similar results.
When presenting information about your organization, use tangible, measurable data that clearly demonstrates past achievements and establishes a path for future ones. Any budgetary data should be well-laid out so that reviewers can easily see and understand your organization’s financial situation. Your plans for the grant funds should also be
Finally, be sure that your organization truly qualifies for the target grant. It’s better to expend energy applying for five grants well-suited to your organization than 50 grants for which your organization does not qualify. Focusing on a smaller number of applications allows for a greater chance of success and enables you to wisely invest your time and resources without getting burnt out during the process.