Startups, newbies, and individuals with underfunded nonprofits all wonder how they can get a grant. Grants are a great source of revenue to pay for projects and programs. However, the process of grant writing is not what will solve all your problems. Usgrants.org is very competitive. You need to prove that your project stands out of the rest and the funder needs to be convinced that their money will be well spent. So it’s about having the right strategy and being patient, especially if you are getting started. It’s a lot more complicated than it looks, but doable. Below are things to consider before you write a grant.
Determine if your organization is ready
Grants need a lot of planning and resources. Be sure you have the energy, infrastructure, time, and someone to write them. To know if you are ready to seek grants, ask yourself the following questions. Do you have documented proof of your success? For you need numbers to show your program works and you need at least two years to gather the numbers. Do you have diversified streams of income? This is in case you are not awarded the grant, will the program continue? Do you have your goals for the upcoming year? Do you have a well-thought-out budget? Plus, consider who will write the grant for you and who will manage the grant for you if you win.
Initiate a relationship with a foundation
Developing contact with a foundation will increase your chances of getting awarded the grant greatly. Get an audience with them through email, phone, or in-person to introduce your non-project. Explain an idea you want to propose to see their interest and ask clarifying questions. In this way, they will remember your nonprofit once they receive your submission and this is helpful, especially when they have hundreds of submissions. Isn’t it awesome to have your proposal to be on top of the stack? However, beware, some funders do not like to be contacted before you submit your grant. This is normally mentioned on their website, so pay attention.
Do your research
Before making major grant plans, ensure you have various leads for you to pursue to avoid wasting a lot of your time. Spend a little time doing some grant research and it will pay off later. One of the components to focus on as you seek a list of funding prospects is to know your needs. What are the specific expenses you need? Knowing this will help find a match with the right foundation. In addition to the expenses, have a wish list of special projects and programs need. Another component is to determine a good match. As you identify the possible funders, screen them to see what they like to fund, their priorities and needs, the geographic areas they prefer to invest in, among other things. If this does not align with your projects, move on to another funder until you can determine a good match.
Pay attention to detail
As you prepare for grant writing, you need to understand the fundamentals of grant writing and read through all instructions. Learn about the grant submission process and what it entails. Pay attention to the narratives expected. This is the essay part and some funders tell you what you should write and sometimes you have to follow through usual grant components. Also, ensure your budget is clear and concise for they are different, but funders need to know how you will spend their money. If they need supporting documents attach them this includes videos and photos, cross-check the instructions to provide what is needed before submitting.
Applying for grants takes time and a lot of hard work. To start on the right path. Identify your grant team individuals from several areas like finance, programming, and sometimes volunteers. It is never a team of one. Also, add lead time to ensure your grant is submitted days before it’s ready. Keeping in mind you need extra time to proofread at least once more. Notably, it takes time to perfect the skills you need to go after the grants and get them. For this reason, be patient with the process and give it time before you decide if it is working for you or not.