Grants are one way a nonprofit can raise funds to support general operating expenses and program costs. Although they should never be considered a quick fix (click here to learn why grants are a marathon and not a sprint), grant funds can transform your nonprofit's programs. So, how do you get grants?
Research Potential Grant Partners
Once you know what you need money for and have built a strong case for support, start researching grant opportunities. You can find grant funders through basic online searches and paid grant databases. Learn more about the different types of online resources by clicking here.
Keep in mind: Research goes beyond simply reviewing information online. Take every opportunity to call or email a Grant Administrator (sometimes called a Program Officer). He or she can provide you with specific insights to help you understand the interests of the review committee and ways to draft your request to increase your likelihood of success. Building a relationship with a grant-maker can be just as critical to your success as it is with a major donor.
Draft Your Grant Content
Once you've identified potential grant funders based on their funding priorities, geographic areas of support, and the timing of their awards, work to build the content that meets their requirements and expectations. One way to save time is to create a grant narrative template that is easily customized based on each particular funder. Need help building a template? Click here.
Submit Your Application
Submitting the application sounds like the easy part. But, each grant-maker has different expectations and requirements. Pay close attention to the supplemental information required and double (or triple) check to make sure you have everything they need. Give yourself plenty of time to gather data, signatures, or narrative content outside of what may be typically requested or what is existing in your template. Consider the format when planning ahead of the deadline. An online application can be submitted instantaneously within minutes of a deadline, but a mailed application may need a few days head start.
Once you have submitted your application, following up with the grant-maker could mean the difference between an award and a "Thanks, but no thanks" response. If you've given yourself enough time before the deadline, call the Grant Administrator and ask if he/she received the application and if you need to submit any additional information or copies. Once you do receive a response, favorable or otherwise, always reconnect to gather feedback about the proposal. Could you have done anything differently that would have changed the outcome of the request? Would a future request be appropriate? If funded, thank them and ask how/if they would like to be included in your other donor stewardship efforts.
If managed well, grant writing can change the trajectory of your nonprofit and better equip your programs to have the most impact for your clients today and long into the future.
Looking for help drafting grant proposals? At
TurnKey Writing Solutions, our grant writing experts have decades of experience crafting captivating content that inspires foundations and wins awards. Contact us to learn more about our grant writing subscriptions and how we can help your nonprofit raise more, spend less, and change the world.