Non Profit Grant Funding

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Grants are a great tool for nonprofits. Grants help foundations, corporations, and even government agencies engage in addressing community needs, so nonprofit professionals should constantly be looking for grants to support their community projects. When the funders you approach are a good fit with your organization’s work, and requests are well planned and propose meaningful change, grants can provide important resources to move your organization’s mission forward.

When seeking grant funding for nonprofit organizations, remember these important guidelines.

• Learn all you can about a funder before submitting a grant proposal. Make sure your organization’s work is a good fit with the funder’s interests, that your organization is an eligible applicant under the funder’s guidelines, and that the amount of money you plan to request is in keeping with the funder’s history of giving. Be sure to study the funder’s website (if there is one) and 990 tax return. This initial research will result in greater success in securing grant funds for your nonprofit, and in less wasted time.

• Funders expect grant awards to produce positive change. Grant are tools for improving the quality of life in the community, solving problems, or seizing unique opportunities. Because funders view grants as investments in change, be sure to focus your grant proposals on the needs of your organization’s community and constituents–not on the organization itself.  Your nonprofit organization is only important because of the benefits it delivers to its constituents.

• As wonderful as grant funding can be, it is not the solution to every nonprofit funding need. Grants are usually dedicated to a purpose articulated precisely in a grant proposal. And most funders limit their grants to a few years–it’s short term support. Some funders renew grants for longer periods, but as Norton Kiritz said, “few want to adopt a program as a long-term dependent.”

Money you raise through individual giving, membership drives, events, product sales, and other fundraising activities can be used flexibly. Unlike most grants, those funding streams can be nurtured and grown over time. Varied, robust funding streams make an organization stronger and more resilient. Over dependence on grants places an organization at risk.

Grant funding for nonprofit organizations is a tremendously important resource. To consistently win grants, don’t jump into the deep end of the pool until you’ve learned to swim. Educate yourself, do your homework, and learn how to make a powerful and logical request for grant support.



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