Thursday, March 8, 2012

4 Tips for Non-Profit Grant Writing Success

I'm on vacation this week, so I forgot about the Wednesday blog until late last night and unless you wanted to read a blog about Top Chef Texas and The Real Housewives of Orange County, it is best that I waited until this morning -- but never count that reality blog out -- coming soon!

So a quick post about an area I know really well:  Grant Writing.

First, everyone and his dog wants to write grants.  I think at one point or another, every person who has ever worked for me in any capacity has told me they were interested in writing grants during their annual review.  I think it is because that on the surface, it sounds easy.  All you have to do is answer the questions and mail the grant, right?

Well, yes that is true, but there is more to it than that -- otherwise every non-profit in the world would be raking it in and never have to hold another auction again.  So here are my quick tips for success:

  1. You must answer all of the questions and provide all of the info requested by the funder or foundation.  If you don't have an answer, say that.  Foundation representatives are very smart and they totally know if you are bulling them.  Include every piece of documentation that the funder requests -- you don't want to give them a reason to cull your application just because you accidentally left out the current financials.
  2. You must write a compelling grant that shows the need of your organization. You have to show the funder why your client is important and why you do the work better than anyone else in town.  The funder is making a investment in your agency -- they want to feel good about it.  Help them to feel good about their funds!
  3. If you don't fit the funding guidelines for the foundation, don't apply.  As an organization that supports abused and neglected kids, Community Partners of Dallas is never going to get a grant from a foundation that gives only to animal rescue.  Don't waste your time or theirs.  
  4. Check out who is funding similar organizations and review foundation lists of grants funded.  If I see that such-and-such foundation gave a grant to CASA (Sorry CASA, but I'm sure you check out who is funding us, too!), I'm going to ask them for CPD.  Such-and-such foundation has just proven they will give to children in foster care, so CPD will probably fit their guidelines too.  The kids call it "creeping" -- I call it "research" -- do it!

This is by no means a full list of grant writing tips, but it's a start.  What are yours?

P.S.  I'll take any comments about Top Chef too.

No comments:

Post a Comment