4 Steps to finding grants for your non-profit organization
Which funding method does your yearly fundraising plan rely on?
Do you fund your non-profit organization solely with donations?
If yes, you may be losing out on a great opportunity!
You should consider diversifying your funding plan by adding grants to it. Grants are basically a large sum of money donated to support your non-profit organization. Many organizations are using it as a major source of income and you should too!
Grants come in all forms and sizes, require serious contemplation, and can be a time-consuming process. Here’s how you can get started and find grants for your non-profit organization that aligns with your mission.
1. Determine a Budget for the Grant Money
Before you start applying for grant money, you should know exactly what you need money for. In fact, it’s likely challenging to secure money for an undetermined cause.
The first step to finding grants is to map out the project you require funding for and then come up with an estimated amount you’ll need. Review the details of the project and ask yourself why it is necessary for your organization. Moreover, you’d want to think about costs associated with staff services, administration, necessary supplies, travel, etc.
Once you have all the details, create a near-to-accurate budget for every dollar that you intend to raise.
2. Use Grant Search Engines
The challenge doesn’t lie in finding grants but in finding one that matches the specific requirements of your project and the unique needs of your non-profit organization. No matter which sector your organization operates in, there is plenty of grant money available for you.
Typically, grant money comes from the following sources:
• Foundations or corporations
• Federal, state, or local government
To get access to both foundation and government grants, you should consider using grant search engines online, such as the Foundation Center, Grants Gov., and Grant Watch.
Foundation Center is a great platform that helps non-profit organizations connect with the necessary resources that they need to grow and prosper.
Grants Gov is another place to find grants. Not only this, you can also learn everything you need to know about grants and how they work. This site allows you to search the latest and most relevant grants from various categories, ensuring that you find the perfect grant for your non-profit organization.
Furthermore, Grant Watch is another platform that serves as a savior for non-profit organizations to find a grant that fits their specific needs. Not only is there a myriad of opportunities but this site also updates its grants on a daily basis. This means that you won’t have to worry about wasted time or efforts.
That being said, you should consider starting on a local level. More often than not, community foundations are willing to work with local donors to support projects that promote community benefits. Hence, you should consider focusing on building connections with community foundation officers to identify possible grant opportunities that suit your needs.
3. Have a Good Look at the Grant Criteria
Many non-profit organizations make the mistake of meeting a long list of grant requirements once they find a few grants to apply for.
Make sure that you make it a point to check and review the grant criteria to ensure that you meet every requirement. If you just invest a few minutes into finding the ideal grants for your non-profit organization, you’d save yourself a lot of time and money in the long run.
Generally, there are four common types of grants available:
• Grants for program expenses
• Grant money to support operations
• Research grants for academic institutions and researchers
• Matching grants based on the fundraising results of an organization
The best way to find suitable grants is by researching the local community foundations and corporations. An insight into their funding priorities will help you make the right decision.
4. Prepare Your Documents
Funding agencies usually require various documents depending on the kind of grant you’re in need of. A few documents however go with almost every grant application. These include:
• Strategic plan
• Mission statement
• Tax forms
• Clear, well-researched details of the project
A smart non-profit organization will have all the necessary documentation in place well before they start their grant hunt. If you’re unable to get your hands on a document before the application deadline of a grant, it’d be best for you to forget about it and start looking for other grants.
An important thing to note here is that foundations and corporations in today’s world are interested in learning about the impact of the programs you’re seeking grant money for. So, if you want them to fund your programs, you need to convince them of the importance of your cause. You should consider measuring and estimating your project’s outcomes before you apply for a grant.
When you’re running a non-profit organization, you need to ensure that it has sufficient and appropriate resources to operate. It may seem like a daunting and never-ending task but chances are that you may find grants that match your organization’s needs.
Always remember that the more diverse your sources are, the better. Every non-profit organization should have a variety of sources of income and a range of grants in the works. Following this rule of thumb will ensure that the loss or failure of any one funding source won’t prove fatal for your organization. The aforementioned tips are pretty basic but quite effective for searching and applying for suitable grants for your non-profit organization.