A healthy fundraising program has grant funding as part of it. US financial aid gives away billions to organizations for their projects, programs, and equipment. It may be a lot of money but not every nonprofit gets the grants for they lack approval. It may be for many reasons, but mostly the organizations were not eligible or did not have the best opportunities to fund. Today, thanks to the internet, you can review foundations as you look for prospects. Plus, find the time to build relationships with the funders. Before this, you need to tell a good grant opportunity, and the questions below will help you find the perfect grant opportunity for your organization.
- Where do they fund?
Know where the funding foundations want to fund for they have specific geographic areas they support. Even foundations that fund all over the nation still specify where they have an interest in funding. Plus, it changes yearly in most cases as they reevaluate where they want to have an impact next. If checking the guidelines of the foundations is not specific, look through their website, and you will get a list of grants awarded as it includes the state and city of the awardee location. If you notice a pattern, for instance, the foundation gives funding consistently to a specific nonprofit, the interest may not be in that community but the nonprofit. It may be a foundation board member has singled out the nonprofit. But, if it is a variety of nonprofits in your community, then there is a better chance to get funding.
- How much do they give?
It is not difficult to find out how much a foundation can give your nonprofit. When you look closely at their website, check the range of grants awarded. For first-time applicants, choose a lower amount to the range. In most cases, large grants go to previous grantees and those with an established relationship with the funding foundation. Avoid shooting for the moon and asking for the whole amount or more for your project. In most cases, it is unlikely that a single foundation will fund fully. Study the information you find on the amount they give and make a decision based on it.
- Do you have an inside contact with a member or foundation staff?
Having a personal contact can be a single factor in whether a grant is denied, awarded, or at least considered. Therefore, it is vital to ask your nonprofit’s key donors and board members if they know someone among the grant prospects you aim to apply to. It is worth the time to vet foundation prospects. Plus, it is better to find a potential prospect for your organization than find a match with your mission. In this way, you will save time finding as much information as possible before contacting the foundation staff with any questions you have. So, do your homework before calling in with questions. Be knowledgeable about their guidelines and interest to focus the conversation on the nonprofit funding needs.
- What kinds of programs do they fund?
Before applying to a foundation seeking a grant, you need to know if the foundation has interest in your cause. It may be in animal welfare, homelessness, economic development, education, among many other things. Where the foundations fund in your geographical area and support the solutions to the problems you are solving, keep checking the guidelines. If this is not the case, move to the next prospect who aligns with your organizations’ programs and funding in your area.
- What grants do they make, and when do they give?
It is vital to ensure the foundation awards the type of grants you need for your program. Does it make grants for salaries, operating expenses, capacity building, or expenses? Also, determine if the foundation has published guidelines, accepts grant proposals year-round, or issues requests for proposals. Also, check if the funding will be available for you to move ahead with your project. Knowing answers to these questions and more will be helpful to determine if the funds will be fit for your project or program timetable.