Before submitting the perfectly written grant, it is important to ensure that you have the perfect funding fit. In other words, before submitting the grant, you will want to make sure you are submitting the grant to a funder who is interested in the work you are doing. Fortunately, there are some proven strategies that help you uncover everything you need to know about the funder.
Start with Local Funders
It is usually most effective to approach funding sources that are local to the work you are doing. Often local funders have a vested interest in supporting the community where they are located. This is especially true of community foundations and corporate foundations. Community foundations, generally, were established to support the specific needs of a community (note: community is defined by the foundation’s governing documents). Corporate foundations have a vested interest in supporting the community where they are located and where large numbers of their employees live and work.[bctt tweet=”It is usually most effective to approach funding sources that are local to the work you are doing. #nonprofit #ministry” username=”Grantconsultant”]
Identify the Stated Purpose of the Funder
It is your goal to identify those funders whose mission and interests most align with those of your organization. Ask:
- What is their mission?
- What are they interested in funding?
- Do they have any exclusions? (Stated groups or purposes that they will not consider)
- What types of projects will they fund? (operating expenses, program development, capital, etc.)
During the research process, you may find funders that indicate they will not fund religious organizations. Typically, this means they will not fund organizations whose work is exclusively “religious” in nature. In other words, if you organization is seeking funding for a soup kitchen or food pantry that serves the entire community, it is more than likely eligible for funding. On the other hand, if your organization is seeking funding to support a missions project where you are spreading the Gospel, you are probably not eligible. Think through exactly what you need funds for and how you deliver your services.
Utilize Information from the Funder’s 990
Once you have identified some potential funders, your goal should be to learn as much as possible about the funder. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at their 990 to see who they have funded in the past. Have they funded a lot of different organizations or does it appear that they fund the same organizations over and over? How much are their typical grants? You will want to ensure your request is in alignment with what they offer; if you request too much money, it is often a red flag that will get your proposal tossed.
Funder research is a crucial part of the grant writing process. By taking the time to complete the research process, your grant writing is much more likely to be successful.