Over $59 billion dollars are awarded every year through foundation, government and corporate grants, which accounts for about 15% of all nonprofit revenue (according to GivingUSA).
If your nonprofit is not applying for these opportunities then you are simply leaving money on the table. You must be one of the organizations vying for the funders attention.
So how can you get in on the grant action?
Here are four places your organization can find grant funding to sustain your programs:
1. Ask your board.
Often times your board members may be connected to the community. They may know of grant opportunities through foundations or corporations in the community. Depending on their sphere of influence, they may know of family foundations that their social contacts and business colleagues may control.
Utilize LinkedIn connections to research your board member relationships deeper. If you find a connection and see someone on your board can make an introduction, maximize that opportunity.
Share the current funding opportunities you are aware of with your fundraising committee and your full board. Seeing the funding potential may help to spark their mind and begin thinking of relationships and how they can play a role in making a connection.
2. Search the internet.
This may seem simple (because yes, even a toddler can search the web now) and the easiest answer, but a good online search could lead to potential funding. Make sure you use keywords when you search. (For example, if your organization serves the homeless population you would use words such as: “grants homeless,” “grants homeless Phoenix,” “grants homeless Arizona,” “grants basic needs,” “grants housing,” “grants food,” etc.).
Don’t stop with google. Expand your search through social media accounts alike and use hashtags to search for funding. Something like #philanthrophy, #grantaward, #fundraising and the keywords listed above may all lead you to fruitful paths.
3. Grant databases.
There are a few grant databases that you can access from your public library or purchase an annual membership, such as GrantStation, Foundation Center and Grants.gov.
For teachers, Grant Wrangler is one I highly recommend. Their newsletter provides you with a variety of resources. Everything from free classroom curriculum to gardening seeds and cash to start or expand existing programs.
4. Know your competition.
Review similar organizations’ annual reports, donor walls, websites and social media accounts to see where they have recently received funding.
When was the last time you visited your local science center, art museum, zoo or food pantry? You may be surprised that these locations often offer beautifully designed donor walls or pathways built with donor engraved bricks. These are all great ways to deepen your research. It has happened to me on more than a few occasions that I notice a new family foundation or philanthropist’s name. I return to my office to do some sleuthing and find out there are open grant opportunities in the near future.
Stop procrastinating! It is time to start the take your research seriously. Knowing where your potential funding opportunities are is part of the battle. Prepare to get started on submitting a winning proposal today by knowing what opportunities exist that fit your mission.
As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Kids Need to Read