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When Persistence Pays

Grants can be a great funding resource. Over $50 billion dollars are awarded by foundations to charitable organizations every year. Grants exist for a huge variety of projects. Even church organ restoration. Yes, I actually saw a grant for that last week. With all the funding that's out there, and the amount of research it takes to find like-minded funders, it can feel overwhelming. The most common question I hear when discussing grants with ministry leaders is…“Where do I start?” First, I will say grant writing is no easy task. It takes persistence. For example, three of my clients are celebrating recent awards in the amounts of $300,000, $31,000, and $8,500. BUT, in all three of these scenarios it took 2-3 years of applying and building relationships with the funders. If you are considering entering the world of proposals, applications, word counts, deadlines, outcome measures, and's a few tips on getting started. BEFORE YOU START Has your organization established a solid foundation?

  • IRS 501c3 approval

  • Charitable solicitation registration and approval

  • Established board of directors

  • Board approved organizational budget projecting expenses and income

  • Financial reports (ex. profit & loss statement, balance sheet, 990)

  • Human resources (volunteers, staff, contractors)

Does your organization have proof of concept?

  • Solutions to a problem grant makers are seeking to solve

  • Outcomes that can be effectively measured

  • Short and long term impact

  • A strategic plan for program development and growth

  • Collaboration with other nonprofits

  • A diversified funding plan

GETTING STARTED 1. Research Conduct research before approaching a funder or applying for a grant. Make sure that you understand the objectives of the funding entity. Personally, I use Grant Gopher, Grant Station, and Foundation Directory Online to conduct research. I also review 990's from funders to see who they have given to in the past and how much they have given to determine my ask. 2. Communication Make funders aware of your important work by bringing your programs to their attention You might do this through a letter of intent (see free resource below). Succinctly describe the need that exists and how your program(s) meet that need. 3. Be Strategic Funders tend to look at the following four elements when assessing an application for funding: (1) there is a clear, genuine and unmet need that the proposal addresses; (2) the program being presented is going to achieve short and long-term impact that could not be achieved without the funding; (3) you have a way to measure and report success; (4) there is evidence of collaboration or the organization is working in complementary ways with other organizations and funders addressing similar needs (funders don't want to be your bread and butter... they want to see that you can sustain and leverage other resources in your community). If there's anything we can do to support or enhance your grant research or writing efforts, don't hesitate to reach out!

Congrats to Grace Place School in Florida for winning the Strikeforce 421 grant after three annual attempts. Thank you Jesus!


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