Often, I am aproached by people new to the sector, start-up organizations, and groups formed around interesting ideas. And, when these folks first start to think about funding, they assume grants are right for them.
To the very young (and some of the older, too) nonprofits out there, I am sorry that I have to be the bearer of the bad news, but grants just may not be the best income source for you. Can you respond to the questions below with a resounding “yes”?
Can you “make” your case by…
- Explaining (with research) the social issue you are attempting to address?
- Clearly articulating an effective method for intervention in this problem?
- Justfying why your particular organization is best-suited to do this work?
- Evidencing a “vote of confidence” with a high participation rate in board giving
Do you have the appropriate structures in place to…
- Set organizational goals and measure progress?
- Generate accurate program reports for funders?
- Build long-term relationships with prospects and funders?
In addition to the questions above, each funder type (foundation, corporation, government) has its differences. Then, the specific funders vary across requirements. So, make sure to do your research, and think critically about your organization’s capacity to obtain & retain grant funding.
What else should nonprofit professionals think about when considering grants as an income source? Please leave a comment with your suggestion!