While some of your organization’s funding can come from gifts and donations, grants are another vital source. In 2015, foundations awarded more than $58 billion in grants, and charitable giving has been on an upward trend for several years. Unfortunately, applying for grants can take away time from activities related to your nonprofit’s purpose without the promise of a return for your efforts.
While the grant application processes of some foundations are relatively simple, others may have a much longer and more complicated procedure. In order to make the best use of your time and get the most funding for your nonprofit, it’s important to follow the right steps and thoroughly complete all the required applications documents. By following the steps below, you’ll ensure that you are only applying for the right grants and have the best chance of receiving the grant money.
1. Search for Grants That Fit Your Nonprofit Organization
The first obvious step in the grant application process is locating grants for which you want to apply. A Google search of “grants for” and then your type of nonprofit is a great way to start locating potential grants — and you can also use Google to locate grants for your city or local area. You can also search for grants through the Foundation Center Online, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance and Grants.gov. Other more local sources on grant opportunities include the board members of your nonprofit organization, local grantmakers’ organizations and regional foundation directories.
2. Review the Requirements for the Grant
Once you’ve compiled a list of grants for which you think your nonprofit should apply, it’s time to give each of those opportunities a closer review. The grants offered by some foundations may be wide open, available to any nonprofit organization — but others have more stringent requirements for organizations that qualify. To ensure that you’re not wasting time applying for grants that aren’t a fit, you’ll want to carefully review the grant information to make sure your nonprofit actually qualifies.
3. Write a Tailored Application for Each Grant
Much like applying for a job, each grant opportunity worth applying for deserves a customized application that is written precisely for that grant. When you take the time to address each grant individually rather than trying to fit a single application to every grant, the application you submit will be a much better fit for each grant — giving your nonprofit a better chance of being the chosen recipient. In order to make an even better impression on those who review the grant applications, you may consider hiring a writer with specific experience in grant writing or invest in training for one or more of your staff in grant writing.
4. Review the Application Requirements and Your Application, Then Submit
Before you actually send off your nonprofit’s application for any grant, it is always helpful to give the entire application a final review. Make sure that you’ve followed all of the requirements and that the written content of your application is not only complete but without error. You may catch issues or missing elements that could prevent your organization from receiving the grant. Finally, submit your application to the granting foundation, ensuring that you follow the required submission process and include all required materials.
Although undertaking the process of applying for grants for your nonprofit can seem overwhelming, breaking it down into a few clear steps will make it far more manageable. Following this outline will not only help you properly apply for grants that are appropriate for your nonprofit organization but will also give you a better chance of receiving those grant funds.
Learn more: How to Apply for Grants