Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Role in the Grant Process

We’ve all heard the phrases, “it takes money to make money”, or “pay to play”.  The nonprofit equivalent of that is that you have to be involved personally, and as an organization, in the process of fundraising. 
Your board needs to be committed to the concept of fundraising. Your ED or CEO must take the lead in promoting good donor relationships, whether directly, by hiring a donor relations manager or by assembling a top fundraising team. These should be “givens”.
Most of all, your organization has to be actively engaged in producing the program outline and financing requirements to approach funding organizations and keep accurate records not just of the funds received, but of your use of those funds.
Large nonprofits generally have a department that does nothing but formulate budgets for programs, tracks the grant for correct utilization of funds and does the final reporting.
Smaller NPOs often find this part of the process just plain boring. Cash and time-strapped nonprofits often hire grant writers and just tell them “Find us the money”. It isn’t that simple.
99.99% of all foundations will require a formal annual report, audited organization financials for the most recently completed year, current 990's, a detailed program budget, a program outline that defines the population demographics or target recipient for the funds, and a detailed final report that specifies exactly how the funds were used within that program. Failure to deliver any of these will doom proposals to failure, and failure to satisfy the final report or diversion of any of the funds for uses beyond those allowed in the grant can result in a request for repayment of the funds.  If you are applying for general operating support or a capital campaign, they may also require a strategic (business) plan and detailed budgets.  Cloudlancer provides assistance in constructing these “must-haves” to fully 50% of our clients.
Don’t be the client who says, “Jeez, I’m not applying to a bank for a loan…why do I need all this stuff?” Think about it - you’re asking someone you may not even know to GIVE you money. Why would you think that they wouldn’t want assurance that your organization will use it wisely? Participate in the process by having all the necessary facts on hand, up-to-date, and in a usable format.
For example, if you run a dog rescue, be prepared to verify your costs and results in detail. Examples of information would be: how many dogs have you rescued, how many have been placed, what were your costs per placement, how many dogs are typically unplaced each month and why, and what are your occupancy, feed and veterinary costs?
Your participation in the grant process is a cost-effective use of your organization's time. If you need more information, Cloudlancer Writing Services is just a click away...email us at granthelp@ida.net.

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