Hey, Can You Help Write A Grant?
This has got to be one of my # 1 question about fundraising and development. Many new nonprofits have some idea that there is lots of ‘free’ money out there: from foundations, corporations and from public funding coffers. And that all that someone needs to do is to sit down and fill put the paperwork to begin the flow of funds into the organization’s accounts.
Grants Money is NOT waiting for you
Sadly, this is simply not the case. While there is indeed a lot of money that can be accessed for different nonprofit purposes, it is a much more long -term and complicated process to actually acquire grant money. The donor organization must have goals that parallel your activities, and has funded similar work in the past. They will want to know what you are doing, how much experience you have, what other funds and resources such as staff and volunteers you already have, and, if you have been doing your work for some time, how successful you have been in the field.
However, Don’t Give Up
I do believe it is always smart to keep grant seeking in mind, and make sure your program activities and record keeping provide you with the data that will be requested as part of a grant application. The fact is the vast majority of donations come from individuals with a vested interest in your cause. Preparation for a grant application begins with what you can do, have done and will do. How you have measured your costs and your results, and what success you have achieved are biggest predictors of grant approvals.
Collect Your Info Now, for Later
There is a way to begin to develop a grant seeking program for your nonprofit, however the reliance or expectation that grant money will get you going and keep you going is not realistic. Searching for sources of grant money is time consuming, properly completely the application with all the required collateral information( which can include the organization’s budget, the project’s budget, the staff, the outreach and the results) will take time and attention from your staff. Grant money is hotly contested and even the best applications can, and often are, be rejected- applying is no guarantee of approval.
I suggest a multifaceted development program that includes grant seeking as a funding source, but does not put all of the development eggs in that basket.