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(Article) Is My Church or Faith-Based Organization Eligible for Grants?

Looking for faith-based funding? It’s important for your church to do some initial prep work to be ready when the appropriate opportunities present themselves. Follow these three important steps and you’ll not only enter the grant world with confidence – you’ll also be well on your way to meeting the important needs of your congregation and community.

1. Become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. First and foremost, if your organization is not already registered as a 501(c)(3) with the IRS, take the necessary steps to do so. A 501(c)(3) designation will establish your organization as a charitable entity and make you eligible to receive grant funding from private foundations and state and federal funding sources. There are many steps leading up to this process which include the establishment of a Board of Directors and formal meetings to determine and document the needs of your organization, which will be important as you approach different organizations for grant funding. For more information about registering as a 501(c)(3), click here.

2. Establish relationships with private foundations serving your community. It’s always important to connect with foundations serving your community, starting with those located directly within your geography, and moving outward from there. Research them well. Get to know their missions, focus and past projects they have funded. Call to make an in-person appointment, if possible. Don’t make the initial contact about asking for funds – make it about an introduction and establishing a relationship. If you don’t get a face-to-face appointment the first time, write an introductory letter introducing your organization (no more than one or two pages). Include your history, mission, programs, goals, the people you serve, the reason you’re reaching out to their organization, and how you feel your missions are similar. Ask for a meeting and follow up from there. Think of these relationships as long-term trust and foundation building efforts. Learn more about partnership development in our free whitepaperPartnership Documentation: A Critical Component of a Winning Grant Application.

3. Create a Community Coalition. Chances are, as a church you’re already one of the hubs for community needs and resources and you’re already connected with many other organizations and institutions throughout the community, in both the public and private sectors (or you’d like to be). Once your Board of Directors has had an opportunity to establish what it considers to be its base needs (ie: general operating, programming, capital, etc.), it’s time to bring those connections together and establish a more formal coalition. By doing so, you’ll open yourself up to additional funding opportunities. While private foundations have more leeway regarding the types of projects they fund (ie: religious activities), projects derived from public tax funds have more stringent rules (ie: they must be related to non-religious activities and made available to the broader community). By forming a coalition of public and private organizations, you will be able to identify the programs and funders that will best address your community’s needs. Funders love projects with established partners, so it’s important to get these relationships started now.

Let us help you get grant money for your church or faith-based organization! Resource Associates is the nation’s leading expert in providing grant preparation assistance, prospect research, and full service grant writing to faith agencies and churches. Resource Associates has secured grant money for thousands of private schools, religious community centers, and diverse faith-focus groups throughout the United States. We understand and can advise on the need to separate religious and secular programming for those entities pursuing government grants. We also work with organizations who desire only to focus their efforts and funding on religious services. Contact us today to find out how your faith-based entity can be grant awarded. Consultations are always free.

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