Grants are the financial assistance provided by an organization, government or individual for a specific purpose. It is one of the vital funding sources for a non-profit organization. However, the question is – Should non-profits apply for grants? The answer is definitely ‘Yes’, but of course only if you are clear about your funding needs and project goals. Getting grants means, the NGO will not only get money but it also means that the funding organization believes in its mission and trusts its ability. Hence, they come forward to financially support it. So, the nonprofits organization must be able to convince the funders about its ability to carry out the work to get grant approval.
The benefit of getting grants is that it brings far-reaching societal impact by encouraging large projects which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Generally, a grant proposal is defined by many as an appeal for funds. This is superficially correct. However, to achieve the goals and move towards the mission set by the non-profits, grants must be seen from a different perspective. Firstly, it is important to consider the viewpoint of the funders. For them, a grant is an investment they make to bring in positive change in matters they care about. So, the mission of the NGO must be in sync with their beliefs and must address the issue they are passionate about. It should also cater to the population the funder cares about. Your proposal should outshine among the pool of applicants and convince the funding organization that you are perfect for the grant.
Nonprofit organizations can apply for grants offered by various public and private foundations and the government. Getting a grant is not easy because you have to invest a substantial amount of your money, time, efforts and thoughts into it. From writing a winning grant proposal to filling a grant application, it’s a tedious journey and it takes time for funds to reach you. So, before embarking on this time-intensive process, it is crucial to be prepared with the project plan, tax forms if any, strategic plans and a statement of your mission. This will make the overall process more resourceful and efficient.
What NonProfits Must Consider Before Applying for Grants?
Although grants are the best funding as far as any NGO is concerned, few organizations find it to be restrictive and cumbersome. Therefore, before considering this option as part of your financing or fundraising model, it is crucial answering the following questions so that you are sure the grants are the ideal way to fund your organization –
- Are you willing to invest in writing persuasive grant applications?
- Are the NGO activities in line with your mission, your strategy, and your aims?
- Will these activities continue even after funding from grants ends?
- Do you meet grants conditions?
Besides reviewing the mission of your organization, it is also important to analyze your long-term and short-term goals.
According to statistics, 16% of grants were contributed by the foundations for philanthropic purposes while individuals accounted for 70% and corporations 5%. This shows that, although grants do matter, it is individual donations that constitute a bulk of the charitable resources.
Fierce Competition to Get Grants
In the past couple of years, the competition for funding through grants has become quite intense. Billions of dollars are allocated every year for this purpose. However, a major drawback with most of the NGOs is that they lack staff, time and money for subscriptions and have limited knowledge and understanding when it comes to grants.
Every day approximately 3,000 grant proposals are submitted and less than two-hundred get the funding. One way to combat this fierce competition is to identify the right type of grant that is suitable for your non-profit organization and apply for it.
Government agencies and foundations are backing the work of both new as well as established non-profits. This has allowed them to pursue their goals and contribute to the philanthropic purpose.
10 Places Where You Can Look for Grants for Your Non-profits
Foundation Center has its headquarters in New York City. Its mission is to strengthen society with knowledge about philanthropy. This is a primary resource for finding grants available through corporate and private foundations. It has an extensive database of free resources and a comprehensive directory on Grantmakers and grants. The Center collects data about foundations in the US through various means and interprets and evaluates it. It also provides paid and free training to both individuals and organizations seeking grants.
GOOGLE AD GRANTS
Google Grants is a program in which the eligible non-profit institutions will be provided with $10,000 every month as funding for AdWords. AdWords are paid advertisements that appear on the search results pages. These ads are placed at the top of other websites based on the keywords searched. The Google Grant Money can be used by your organization to bid for the keywords. When your ad appears at the top of the search page, it automatically increases the organization’s visibility and reaches. The traffic to the key pages of your site like volunteer information or donation form increases. In short, Google Grants is an excellent marketing tool that nonprofits can make use of to put their organization in front of hundreds of new eyes daily. However, the Grant is not for all kinds of non-profits. So, understand the eligibility before applying. The application process is simple. First, signup and register for the Grants. Create an account for AdWords. Once Google reviews your account, you will be notified of the approval.
GrantStation offers NGOs an opportunity to find potential funding sources that are ideal for their projects or programs. Their mission is to create a civil society by building effective and healthy communities with the help of non-profits. Their advanced database has more than 7,000 funding sources which include grants from federal, state and private sources, corporate and private foundations. GrantStation offers a yearly subscription that gives access to application procedures, eligibility, contact information, tutorials to build proposals, research tips, etc.
FEDERAL GRANTS WIRE
FederalGrantsWire.Com is a portal that has the latest information about government and federal grants. They also have an archive on loans and grants for reference purposes. More than 2900 federal grants are listed here. The Federal Grants are organized by Applicant Type, Agency, Subject Area and Assistance Type, which makes it easy to search for the right grant for your organization. When you click on the listing, it gives brief information about the grant, who is eligible, the process for applying, website address, email address, etc.
This is one of the popular sites in the US to find corporate, local, and state foundation grants for nonprofits. The site has a comprehensive listing of the latest grants and makes the whole process of finding funding opportunities a lot easier from hundreds of unique grants. The dedicated team of grant associates and researchers at Grant Watch, publish the current grants and document them along with funding dates. The portal is used by Government agencies, corporations and foundations to post the info about the funding they provide. The plus point of the portal is that it is updated every day giving real-time news about funding and grants opportunities. Also, there is a dedicated team of consultants available to chat online from Monday to Friday, who help find the right grants for the nonprofits.
Foundation Search is one of the leading sources to find information on funding for charities and NGO’s. The portal has an online resource of almost 120,000 foundations that provides annual granting in millions of dollars. The helpful tools on the site make it easy to find grants based on its value, type, donor, year and the past trend of giving. There are also constant efforts made to improvise and use innovative features. With such an extensive database, it is easy to locate the kind of grants the Non-profits need easily in a fraction of time, which otherwise would have taken weeks to search.
FUNDS NET SERVICES
The portal has extensive data about grants and provides free access to Grants Directory to visitors. The Fundsnet has been providing resourceful information to nonprofits since 1996 be it fundraising or grants. Its sole mission is to spread the word about the available grants programs by posting relevant links about the organizations, foundation and private companies that provide grants in one place so that the non-profits can find them easily and achieve their philanthropic mission.
The good old search engines are all you need to find detailed info about grants. To make your search more effective, it is important to research keywords beforehand. You will need at least 10 to 20 relevant keywords that describe the mission of your non-profit and the work it is planning to do in the coming days and years. You can pick parameters such as target audience, geographic location, subject, race and ethnicity, and gender that perfectly describes your non-profit organization. Prepare a list of keywords in advance so that you can refine your search and find relevant results.
This online system is an initiative taken by the government which ensures improved access to services through the internet. At present, it allows non-profit organizations to access almost 900 grant programs making it easy for them to find appropriate grant opportunities and apply for them. These grants are offered by twenty-six federal agencies and the applications can be submitted via this portal, which is forwarded to the right funding agencies. So, the institutions do not have to apply directly to the funding agencies. Before applying, make sure that your organization is eligible to receive funds through this portal. The first step in the process is to register on the website. Organizations located outside and in the US are eligible for this funding. The non-profits outside the US must follow a few additional steps while registering. The process can take 1 – 3 weeks. Search for the appropriate funding on their database that has listed all the FOAs (Funding Opportunity Announcements). Once you have completed your research, check eligibility. If you are eligible then download the application and complete it offline. Focus on the specialized areas while filling and apply with the required documents. In case, the application is rejected then correct the errors and resubmit it provided the submission is still open.
Grant Gopher was launched in 2006 to not just assist nonprofits to locate grants, but also provide training programs and employment. Their mission is to provide affordable services to nonprofits who get alerts about the grants available when they are still open to apply. Usually, NGOs have to spend countless hours while looking for such opportunities, if they are doing it on their own and usually, they end up spending more time on this activity than applying for grants. You can stop this tiring cycle by enrolling in Grant Gopher. Their powerful and easy to use grant database has excellent features. NGOs can search for grants based on keywords, program, county or by state. Once you identify a suitable grant click on the link provided on the site. The link will take you to the grantor’s application page and guidelines. After reading the guidelines, you can proceed to apply by following the directions given by the grantor. Grant Gopher has different plans like LITE, PRO and PRO Success Path. You can find your grants by enrolling in any of these services.
Applying for grants may seem to be an overwhelming process, but by following the right steps, it can be easily managed. The more time and effort you put in, the better would be the results. Introspect and understand where, why and how your NGO outshines in providing services. There are ups and downs, but don’t be discouraged. Besides, seeking grants is not a one-time process. Successful NGOs commit themselves to create a grant program by learning, researching and applying for grants frequently. It has to begin somewhere, so be persistent. All you need is a ‘Yes’ for all your efforts to be paid off!