Why is the Needs Section of a grant proposal so critical? Because this is where you snag the reviewers’ attention and prove why your organization is a worthy recipient of their funds. A good Needs Section is truly the difference between getting funded or having your proposal tossed in the slush pile. The elements of a successful Needs Section include: (1) Definition of the Problem; (2) Facts and Stats; (3) Cause, Symptoms and Effect; (4) Urgency and Proposed Solution.
It seems like nonprofit organizations are always finding new ways to fund their efforts and stretch those dollars as far as possible, but in a recession or political crisis we have to be even more creative about how to continually find funding and how to make it last.The initial instinct is to try to do more with less. This is always a good idea, and if you have the benefit of a large number of unpaid volunteers or unpaid interns you can really go a long way on just a little, but many organizations are not that fortunate and even those that are have real costs to consider as well. With this in mind we are forced to look outward and to reach for every potential source of funding possible. Many new or small organizations (and even some larger organizations) rely on regular or renewing donations from their community. If you are addressing needs in the community, there are often others who share your values and would like to help as well but maybe don’t have the time to get involved. Reaching out to your community, with an email campaign or a newsletter is a good way to keep in touch and can yield some funds. Hosting local events and fundraisers can also be a good way not only to raise funds but to raise your visibility in your community and remind people of the good work you are doing and that they can support you with donations as well.
In 1995, Dr. Deborah Montgomery founded Resources Associates, a grant writing and capacity building organization serving community-based nonprofits in central and southern California. Over the past two decades the company has grown to serve organizations across the entire country. We have worked with 501(c)(3) agencies, schools, tribes, governmental agencies, and businesses to win hundreds of millions of dollars in grant funding. In addition to our home base in Farmington, New Mexico, we also have locations throughout the country – in Fort Worth, Sacramento, Seattle, and Denver.
There are not many companies with this length of valuable expertise in such a specialized field. To offer perspective, here are some of the top headlines from 1995: (more…)
It’s a new year, and time to look at how successful your grant proposals were and, more importantly, identify how your organization can improve going forward. While no organization wins every grant it tries for, every application – whether it ends in an award or a rejection – offers valuable experience and insight that you can leverage to make future efforts even better and more successful.
As you prepare for 2018’s grant season, here are some steps you can take that will help you refine and improve your approach next year.
The number of nonprofit organizations in the United States alone is staggering. Voluntary nonprofit organizations in the United States serve nearly every interest and need under the sun. From professional societies and trade associations that seek to improve professional practice and standards to massive relief organizations such as the Red Cross that serve people around the globe to local community-service organizations, nonprofits touch every aspect of American life. While they may run the gamut in size, scope and mission, they all are designated as tax-exempt organizations by the IRS (usually 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6)) and they all require funding—often in the form of grants.
While for professional societies, dues from individual members may help keep the ship afloat, funds from dues are rarely enough to actually move the ship in any significant way. The same is true for philanthropic or service-oriented nonprofits: donations, bequeathments, fundraising drives, and other sources of revenue are often just enough to keep the doors open but too little to enable the nonprofit to launch new programs and services or effectively deliver existing ones.
Getting a grant denial can be very depressing. You and your team have put in a lot of work and even though you know when you submit a grant that there aren’t any guarantees, you always have hope. The grant denial letter takes that hope away and adds a finality to your plans for the upcoming year, and it can sting a little.
This is where we like to take a step back and rephrase our “Denial” into a “Not Yet.” There are so many things that a person can do when a grant is denied, and the actions they take will result in a more organized program that is easier to implement and more aligned with the funder’s goals. There are many reasons why a grant does not get awarded. The main reason is because the application didn’t score within the funding range. Sometimes, even when the grant does score within the funding range, it doesn’t get awarded. In this case, the funder is sometimes wanting to build a relationship with the applicant; they are following a geographic distribution method; or there just weren’t enough funds to go around for the coming year. It’s easy to want to point fingers when a grant is not awarded, but just remember your proposal will be more implementable with the changes you make and better in the long run. (more…)
While you may have only one or two grant proposals to write at any given time, those who review grant proposals regularly have dozens to review – and often in addition their regular jobs.
Just as recruiters going through multiple resumes for an open job position do, grant proposal reviewers have a limited amount of time to sift through an enormous amount of information. They must triage applications quickly to narrow the pool down to those most worthy of further consideration. And just as a poor resume will quickly find an applicant discarded, a poorly done grant proposal likewise will find its way to the “no” pile, and fast.
Great grant proposals stand out from poor and even good ones in clearly identifiable ways, and almost all share the common themes of careful attention to detail and strategic alignment of the requestor’s and grantor’s priorities and goals. Learn five factors that distinguish winning grant proposals from those that fail to secure funding. (more…)
Even for the most talented writer or the most knowledgeable subject matter expert, grant writing is never something that just comes “naturally.” Whether you’ve already written a couple of grants, are getting ready to begin, or have simply read a few grant proposals, you’ll quickly see that grant writing is significantly different from any other type of writing.
Grant writing uses very specific terminology, relies heavily on formalized structure, and has an often-onerous obligation to address with absolute precision specific qualifications, conditions and prerequisites set by the granting entity. And it goes without saying that grant writing can be a stressful experience, given its important role in securing resources and building capacity for your organization.
Because grant writing does play such a central and vital role, and because organizations that rely on grants often have very limited staff resources, staff members who have limited or no experience writing grants often are called to fill that duty. Grant writing, however, isn’t something one can just “pick up” in a few hours and then be sufficiently fluent to write an award-winning document. A better and proven solution lies in mentoring. (more…)
Applying for foundation grants is different than applying for Federal and State grants. For instance, foundations are often funded by family money, and managed by the family or descendants of those who worked hard to gain enough wealth to establish a foundation. The approval of the grants may be completed by a handful of family members or by a board of directors that meet to discuss the merits of the applications and vote on those they want to fund. In comparison, Federal grants utilize three to five grant reviewers with grant writing experience that analysis each application independently.
Following are some tips that will help you through the process of seeking the support of foundations: (more…)
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.