Monday, October 28, 2013

Five tips to increase your grant funding success

There are a number of things that determine whether your mission will be adequately funded.  Here are five things you can do today to bring in more dollars.

1. Match your organization to the right grantor prospect.

All grantors have a specific mission focus.  For instance, while the grantor may generally support programs for low-income women, they may actually only support a single facet of that group.  There's no use in applying for funds for heating cost support if the grantor is only funding breast pumps to allow working mothers to stay in the job market. Read all of the information you can find on the organization and decide if it is a good fit for your nonprofit.

2.  Refine your focus to emphasize grantor/grantee alignment.
Don't rely on a one-size-fits-all application.  If you have a general emphasis on a specific client profile, emphasize the portions that have direct alignment to the prospective grantor.  Each grantor and their mission focus is different and should be developed as such.

3.  Match your grant development costs to the potential award.

If the grantor specifically states that their maximum grant is $1,000, and it's going to cost $500 for your staff or your contracted grant professional to produce the grant application and administer the funds, that might not be cost effective. All grants have non-reimbursable costs, and you want to get the most return for your investment of time and/or money.

4.  Be sure you meet the minimum requirements to apply
Most grants stipulate that you must be a 501(c)(3) to apply, and may include time in business, minimum existing revenue amounts, ability to show matching fund potential, formal organization and program budgets, audited financial statements or other qualifiers as well. If you can't meet ALL of the requirements, your application is likely to be discarded without even being considered.

5.  Document your results to date before you apply

Grantors want to know that your program is effective and/or sustainable.  Even if you are currently seeking funding for a one-time event, such as the coming year's holiday turkey giveaway, show how you will reach the maximum number of intended recipients and why your program is using the funds to the best possible advantage (things like getting wholesale pricing for the birds, for example).  Long-term existing programs need to show that they have made a lasting positive impact and have a good chance of continuing to do so.

None of these things will guarantee an award, but doing them well will greatly improve your success rate. 

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