Nonprofit organizations in the early stages are full of enthusiasm and ideas but low on cash. Fundraisers such as bake sales and organized marathons will generate contributions, but grants can often provide much larger amounts of needed money.
Some nonprofits are a bit intimidated with grants writing and are afraid they’ll be unsuccessful. Failure is not necessarily a given. There are means by which a fairly new nonprofit can write grants that will receive funding.
1. Get grants from community foundations and insurance companies
A new non-profit should focus on what is attainable. National foundations receive many proposals from well-established non-profits, and applying to these funders may not be the best use of your time. Community foundations are a local source of grants for 501(c) (3) organizations, including new ones. These foundations may be committed to a particular municipality or perhaps even the entire county.
While the awards might not be in large amounts, they can still be several thousand dollars and help kick start a project or add to operational funds. Best of all, community foundations are very approachable and a relationship can be quickly developed. They will ordinarily hold workshops to explain what is expected in a grant application, and that can help a nonprofit prepare a more fundable document.
Large insurance companies such as Nationwide or Allstate have foundations that offer the possibility of grant awards. However, only those communities where the insurance company does business are eligible. Having an insurance agent as an advisor or trustee can help in the grant process.
Opportunities from such foundations are ordinarily less than $10,000 per award. Yet, these sources might also be willing to favorably consider future proposals if the first one was spent wisely and achieved good results.
2. Advertise shamelessly
Small grant awards can lead to awards from other sources if the right type of advertising is used. Foundations love publicity. Anything that lets the public know about a foundation’s commitment to a community or cause lets other funding sources know they will receive the same treatment.
Whenever a new nonprofit organization is awarded a grant, it is reason for a press release exalting the funder and its civic spirit. Notice should also be given on the homepage of the nonprofit’s website, which would be the foundation corporate logo. Foundations reviewing a proposal will check out the applicant’s website. Seeing the logos from other foundations prominently displayed lets the grant administrators know the nonprofit has merited receiving funding from other sources, and that the charitable organization shows recognizable appreciation.
3. Employ the services of a fiscal sponsor
A new nonprofit may still be in the process of securing 501(c) (3) status, and that could make the charity hesitate to apply for funding. That does not have to happen. A new nonprofit organization that still lacks 501(c) (3) status can use the services of a fiscal sponsor.
A fiscal sponsor is an organization that has 501(c) (3) certification and will administer the finances of a given grant. The fiscal sponsor has a right to expect a certain percentage of the grant as payment for its services. This is ordinarily around 10% of the final grant award. A new nonprofit organization can approach a related charity about fiscal sponsorship, but there is another option that can be considered.
United Charitable Programs is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help general programs by providing fiscal sponsorship. Any nonprofit that matches the requirements expected from United Charitable Programs may be able to use this group as the fiscal sponsor, and note the arrangement in the grant proposal.
It is essential that a new nonprofit organization consider various possibilities for grant funding above and beyond the larger foundations. Funding sources on the local level are more receptive to a new non-profit’s grant proposals, and there is a means of securing fiscal sponsorship if needed. A new group should never be afraid to try grants writing. The right strategy can achieve the desired results.