Perhaps you’ve recently founded a nonprofit by yourself or with a small group of people. Maybe your background is in activism or for-profit enterprise, and you have a game-changing idea but no prior fundraising expertise. Perhaps you’re new to fundraising and don’t know where to begin. Your first grant, whether you’re working alone or with a larger group, is likely to be the most difficult. Here are a few pointers to help you save time and headaches while applying for grants to support your organization’s mission.
Get Your Proposal’s Building Blocks
You’ll notice some common elements in grant applications, such as demands for specific information about your company. You’ll need the following information on hand to help speed up the procedure.
Most grant applications will ask you to establish that you are a nonprofit organization, so be sure you have your 501(c)(3) paperwork handy. You’ll also need to offer an annual budget, either for the organization as a whole or for the project you’re hoping to fund. In many circumstances, you’ll be required to give a financing history, describing what funds — if any — your group has previously received. Grantmakers want to know how the organization is funded and how your work has been funded thus far.
Story and Background
Aside from the numbers, this is your chance to persuade the funder to give your application priority. Have a clear, concise, and convincing description of your business, the problem you’re trying to solve, and the way you do your work on hand. Request feedback from people both inside and outside the company to help you fine-tune the description to reflect the most critical aspects of your job.
You should also write a few words detailing how you plan to use the monies you’re seeking to raise and what you expect to happen as a result. The majority of funders prefer funds that are tied to particular results. Rather than offering general support to the organization, this is known as a “program grant.”
Talk about your colleagues or community members if you work with them. Describe how you collaborate to carry out the mission of your company. Obtain letters of support from these individuals if at all possible, as this will help to validate you in the eyes of a potential new investor.
You must present statistics and measurements on the impact you’ve had thus far to demonstrate that your effort accomplishes the goals you established. Explain how you assess the impact and provide compelling proof of past accomplishments. Finally, the funder wants to know that by entrusting their money to you, it will make a good difference. Demonstrating what your business has accomplished in the past will aid in persuasion.