Non profit grants can be a serious source of funding for a non profit. Non profit grants can be given by individuals, corporations or other non profit organizations and can vary in size. While grants are not the most stable form of fundraising for a non profit, if obtained, they can infuse the organization with deep funding. Each year billions of dollars are given away to non profits in the united states. Read on to learn more about non profit grants and how a non profit can obtain them.
As stated above, many times non profit grants are a highly sought after source of funding for non profits. Grants are what the word implies, funding in either money or products, given to the non profit to help it accomplish its mission. The grant is given and not expected to be repaid, which makes the funding even more attractive. However, the majority of grants given have strict stipulations on what the funding is to be spent. These grant requirements insure that the grantor is able to direct what activities or expenditures the non profit receiving the grant spends the funds on.
Most non profit grants require a process by which a formal request is made for the funding, which usually involves a substantial amount of information and documentation. Each granting organization has its own criteria and process for consideration. The majority of time, there will be stiff competition for grant funds and importance should be given to follow all instructions properly. The non profit seeking the grant funds will need to contact each funding organization and obtain instructions for how to apply for the grant.
The process to apply for most grants follow some common steps below:
- Submit a short question and answer form or grant request that can be obtained from the grantor. When filled out by all the requesting parties, these questions and answers give the grantor a “baseline” in which to choose a smaller group of finalists to submit a longer grant proposal.
- The smaller selected group will fill out and submit a longer detailed grant proposal.
- The granting organization may phone applicants for interviews or to ask additional questions.
- The organization that is awarded the grant will usually be contacted by phone with the decision, while all other applicants will be notified by rejection letter.
It is widely accepted that 80% of the grants awarded are awarded to organizations with which the granting organization has an ongoing relationship. A relationship with a funding organization can be initiated any number of ways. A great way to build an ongoing relationship with a granting organization is to apply for a grant. When not awarded the grant, send a thank you letter for their consideration in allowing you to apply for the grant. Continue to build a relationship with the granting organization by writing and calling throughout the year. When a grant with that organization is available in the future, you will have more of a relationship built with which to be considered.
I would advise against attempting to fund a non profit solely by grants. Just because an organization is awarded a grant one year, does not guarantee they will be awarded a grant from the funder the next year. Instead, build a stable donor base through individuals and corporations. Then with stable funding in place to support a robust budget, spend time seeking grants to enhance the non profit’s funding strategy. In the instance the non profit is awarded a grant, it will be funds in excess of the budget, and a great way to expand the non profit.