Where To Find New Grants And Tips To Improve Your Grant Proposals

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Where To Find New Grants And Tips To Improve Your Grant Proposals

Where To Find New Grants And Tips To Improve Your Grant Proposals 1315 647 Isaac Schild

Having a strong grant writing process and plan can make the difference in whether an amazing organization grows or starts to decline. According to the latest available data from the Foundation Center, foundation grants to United States-based nonprofits total over $75 billion annually. Thus, evaluating, improving, and elevating your grant writing process can literally pay significant dividends. Many organizations are quite good at researching and finding potential opportunities but fail in execution or default to using recycled grant proposal content that is not well-tailored to the potential funder.

What is frequently overlooked is the importance of understanding the individuals or groups that will review and evaluate your grant proposal and how to strategically adjust your content to land the grant and better align with the funder’s goals. For best results, do not allow your grant proposals to be written without your specific audience in mind. First, start from a place of knowledge about the funder’s specific preferences, and then aim to clearly describe how funding your specific project will help achieve their mission goals. Ask yourself, “Are our grant proposals only about us?” or “Do we effectively communicate how our ask empowers the funder’s goals?”

As you know, grant proposals are reviewed by a variety of entities, including public and private foundations, state and federal agencies, corporations and consultants. The review process typically involves a small panel of staff, program officer(s), experts, or volunteers with exposure into the relevant field/mission. These groups evaluate the proposal based on the organizations specific grantmaking criteria. The criteria for most grants awards is clear and included in the instructions for submitting, but what is not included is the potential preferences of the funders and which program proposals could be a better match within their funding focus area.

Savvy grant writers, while composing a grant proposal, deeply research and speak with the funding organization directly to gain any information they can about what the funder would like to see in a grant and the potential reviewing group. It also helps them to understand the funders potential priorities and grantmaking requirements. This further provides an opportunity to educate the funder about your organization and gather information about them or their organization. By doing so, you can take into consideration the funding entity, individuals reviewing grants, and other factors such as political affiliation, mission/passion, personal history, organizational history, funding history, current and past partners, leadership influence within the organization, and preferred size of financial awards. Leveraging wise research and information gathering strategies can help you tailor your organizational grant proposals to even better align with the funder’s goals and increase your chances of being awarded larger grants.

Ultimately, by understanding the process, the entity, and the reviewers and tailoring your proposal accordingly, you can significantly increase your chances of securing funding for your nonprofit organization. Taking a proactive approach to relationship building with potential funders should be an essential part of your grant writing strategy. In this blog, we will explore this topic further and provide additional tips to help you build strong relationships with funders.


Do not overlook the power of building relationships with foundations and funders.

Getting to know the program officer (or main contact) can be an essential step in securing funding for your nonprofit organization or project. Program officers are the gatekeepers for funding and have significant influence in determining which projects receive funding. Here are some steps you can take to get to know a program officer and increase your chances of securing funding:

Research the foundation: Start by researching the foundation’s mission and funding priorities to ensure that your organization aligns with their goals. You can find this information on the foundation’s website, annual report, and other materials. Knowing this information will help you tailor your approach and make a stronger case for funding.

Attend events: Attend events and meetings hosted by the foundation, such as workshops or conferences. These events provide an opportunity to meet the program director and other staff members, ask questions, and learn more about the foundation’s priorities.

Make an introduction: Reach out to the program officer by email or phone and introduce yourself and your organization. Be brief and direct, highlighting your organization’s mission and the specific project or program for which you are seeking funding.

Build a relationship: Once you have made an introduction, work to build a relationship with the program officer. Send regular updates on your organization’s activities and progress and invite them to events or meetings. Building a strong relationship takes time, but it can be the key to securing long-term funding.

Follow up: After submitting a grant proposal, follow up with the program officer to ensure that they have received it and answer any questions they may have. This can also be an opportunity to provide additional information or clarify any points in your proposal.

By taking these steps, you can maximize your chances of securing funding through a successful grant proposal. Through careful planning, clear communication, and attention to detail, you can demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact in your community and achieve your goals.


Improve and review your current grant writing program.

If your organization already has an existing grant writing program but would like to increase its funding, there are several steps you can take to improve your grant proposals and increase your chances of success.

First, it’s important to carefully review and evaluate your past grant proposals. Take note of any feedback or comments from funders, and use this information to identify areas for improvement in future proposals. Consider working with a professional grant writer or attending grant writing workshops to improve your organization’s grant writing skills and techniques.

Next, make sure your organization is clearly communicating its mission and impact in your grant proposals. Funders want to see how their funding will make a difference in the community, so it’s important to showcase your organization’s work and create an emotional connection with the importance of the work. Highlight your organization’s unique strengths and approach to solving problems in your field.

It’s also important to research and identify potential new funders that align with your organization’s mission and goals. Reach out to program officers and cultivate relationships with them by attending events, following them on social media, and staying up-to-date on their funding priorities and application requirements. Building strong relationships with funders can increase your organization’s chances of success in securing funding.

Another way to increase your organization’s funding capacity is to diversify your funding sources. Look for opportunities beyond traditional grants, such as crowdfunding, corporate sponsorships, and individual giving campaigns. By expanding your organization’s funding sources, you can increase your overall funding and reduce your reliance on a single funder.

Finally, track and evaluate the impact of your organization’s programs and services. Funders want to see measurable results and outcomes from their funding, so it’s important to have a system in place for collecting and reporting data. Use this information to showcase your organization’s impact and effectiveness in your grant proposals, and make improvements to your programs as needed.


Ten things you can today do to evaluate and improve your nonprofit’s grant writing program:

  1. Review your current grant portfolio to identify which grants have been successful and which have been unsuccessful. Analyze the reasons for each outcome to identify areas of strength and weakness in your program.
  2. Evaluate your organization’s mission and values to ensure that they are aligned with the mission and values of the grantmakers you are targeting. This will help you identify the most appropriate funding sources for your organization.
  3. Assess the capacity of your organization’s grant writing team. Consider factors such as the number of staff members dedicated to grant writing, their skill level, and their experience.
  4. Review the grant application process and identify any bottlenecks or areas where the process could be improved. This could include streamlining the application process or creating templates to expedite the process.
  5. Evaluate the clarity and persuasiveness of your grant proposals. Are they well-organized and easy to read? Do they effectively communicate your organization’s mission and impact?
  6. Review the budgeting process to ensure that it accurately reflects the needs of the proposed project and aligns with the funding guidelines of the grantmaker.
  7. Consider the level of communication and collaboration between your grant writing team and other departments within your organization. Are all team members working together effectively to produce high-quality grant proposals?
  8. Assess the level of engagement and involvement of senior leadership in the grant writing process. Are they providing the necessary support and resources to ensure success?
  9. Evaluate the level of follow-up and stewardship provided to funders after a grant has been awarded. Are you effectively communicating the impact of the grant and building relationships with the funder?
  10. Seek feedback from external sources, such as grantmakers and other nonprofit organizations. This feedback can help you identify areas of improvement and opportunities to strengthen your grant writing program.

By taking these steps, you can gain valuable insights into your nonprofit’s grant writing program and identify areas for improvement. With continuous evaluation and refinement, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need to support your organization’s important work.


Where find additional grants for your organization.

Finding grants to support your nonprofit’s mission and programs can be a challenging process, but it’s a crucial step to securing the necessary funding to make a difference in your community. Fortunately, there are many resources available that can help you find grants and other funding opportunities.

One of the best resources for researching grant prospects is the Foundation Directory offered by Candid (formerly known as Foundation Center). The directory is a comprehensive database of foundations, corporate giving programs, and other grantmakers that provide funding to nonprofit organizations. You can search the directory by grantmaker name, location, areas of interest, and other criteria to find potential funders that match your organization’s mission and programs.

Another valuable resource for finding grants is Grants.gov. This website is the federal government’s central database of funding opportunities for all types of organizations, including nonprofits. You can search for grants by agency, category, or keyword to find opportunities that match your organization’s focus areas. Be sure to carefully review the guidelines for each grant opportunity to ensure your organization meets the eligibility requirements.

The Council on Foundations also offers a state-by-state directory of community foundations that provide funding to nonprofit organizations in their respective region. You can use this directory to research potential funders in your state and learn more about their funding priorities and application processes.

Another powerful resource is your home state’s nonprofit association to gain more information on local funding opportunities. The National Council of Nonprofits offers an online directory of state associations where you can find information on your state’s association and access resources and tools to help your organization succeed.

When researching potential grant prospects, be sure to carefully review the eligibility requirements and guidelines for each opportunity. Tailor your proposal to match the funder’s priorities and mission, and be sure to submit a complete and compelling application that clearly articulates your organization’s goals and impact.

In summary, there are many resources available to help you find grants and other funding opportunities for your nonprofit organization. By using these resources and carefully researching potential funders, you can increase your chances of securing the funding you need to make a meaningful difference in your community.

Hiring a professional grant writer can greatly increase your chances of success in securing grant funding for your organization. A professional grant writer has the expertise and experience needed to craft a compelling proposal that effectively communicates your organization’s mission, goals, and impact. This can lead to increased funding opportunities and capacity for your organization.


Steps to take to make sure your grant proposals have the best chance for success.

Crafting a successful grant proposal is a multi-step process that requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. You, as a nonprofit organization, should take several key steps to increase your chances of securing funding for your projects.

Researching the funding organization thoroughly is critical. This includes understanding their mission, goals, and priorities to tailor your proposal accordingly. You should review the guidelines for the proposal carefully and ensure you include all requested information in the proper format. Additionally, you should carefully review funders to make sure your mission is a match for the area the funder is working to impact. This will help you create a proposal that resonates with the funder and makes your project stand out as a priority for them.

Keep in mind that the majority of grantmakers (and individual donors) use GuideStar.org to evaluate grant applicants. Thus, we highly recommend claiming and updating your organization’s GuideStar profile. This is a crucial step that should not be overlooked.

In your grant proposal, you should provide a clear and concise summary of your proposed project that showcases how it aligns with your organization’s mission and will benefit the community. You should describe the project in detail, outlining its goals, objectives, and strategies for implementation. The proposal should also emphasize your organization’s qualifications and experience in executing similar projects and highlight any relevant partnerships or collaborations.

Include a detailed budget that outlines all expected expenses and potential sources of income or in-kind contributions. You should make sure not to undersell what you are asking for as many nonprofits do not ask for enough to be fully successful with their goal and thus making their ask look less attractive. By asking for what you need to achieve your goals, you show the funder that you have a clear plan for success and are committed to making a significant impact in the community.

All grant proposals should provide a project timeline and explain how you will measure the success of the project through performance indicators and metrics. This will help the funder understand how you plan to track progress and ensure that their investment in your organization is making a measurable impact.


Remember: the tone of your writing matters.

Writing a grant proposal that effectively showcases your organization’s mission and creates an emotional connection with the importance of your work is crucial to securing funding. A grant proposal should be written in a professional, persuasive tone, with a focus on clearly communicating the importance and impact of your organization’s work.

One of the most important aspects of writing a successful grant proposal is clearly articulating your organization’s mission and how it aligns with the funding opportunity. This helps the grantmaker understand the purpose and goals of your organization and how it fits within their funding priorities. Be sure to emphasize the unique aspects of your mission and the ways in which your organization’s work is making a difference in your community.

Creating an emotional connection with the importance of your work can also be a powerful way to persuade the grantmaker to support your organization. Use personal anecdotes or stories to illustrate the impact of your organization’s work and how it is changing lives. This can help the grantmaker understand the human impact of their funding and feel a deeper connection to your cause.

While creating an emotional connection is important, it’s also essential to use business professional language and avoid being too informal or overly emotional in your tone. You want to strike a balance between being engaging and persuasive while maintaining a professional tone. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be familiar to the reader, and use clear and concise language to convey your message.


The benefits of professional grant writers and do it yourself grant options if you do not have the budget.

Using a professional grant writer can also save your organization time and resources. Writing a grant proposal can be a time-consuming process, requiring extensive research, planning, and writing. By hiring a professional grant writer, your organization can free up time and resources to focus on other important tasks, while also increasing your chances of success in securing funding.

However, if you do not have the resources to hire a professional grant writer, it is still possible to write a successful grant proposal on your own. There are many free resources available online that can help guide you through the process, including tutorials, webinars, and sample proposals. It’s important to carefully research the funder and the funding opportunity, develop a clear and compelling narrative that communicates your organization’s mission and impact, and pay attention to the details of the application requirements.

Regardless of whether you hire a professional grant writer or write the proposal yourself, it’s important to prioritize building relationships with funders and staying up-to-date on grant opportunities in your field. This can help increase your organization’s capacity to pursue grant funding and ultimately achieve its mission and goals.


Are you new to finding funders? Need help on where to start?

If you are new to the world of grant-seeking, it can be challenging to know where to start. A grant is a type of financial assistance that is provided to organizations or individuals for specific purposes, such as supporting a project or program that aligns with the grantmaker’s mission and priorities. Grants can come from a wide range of sources, including foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals.

A grant application typically includes a proposal that outlines the project or program for which funding is being sought, a budget, and supporting materials, such as letters of recommendation or testimonials from community members. Grant applications can be highly competitive, and it’s essential to carefully research potential funders and tailor your proposal to match their priorities and mission.

There are many types of grants available, including project grants, which provide funding for specific projects or programs; general operating support grants, which provide funding to cover an organization’s overall operations; and capital grants, which provide funding for facilities, equipment, or other capital expenses.

Grants can be an important source of funding for nonprofit organizations and other groups that are working to make a positive impact in their communities. By carefully researching potential funders and crafting a compelling grant proposal, your organization can increase its chances of securing the funding it needs to achieve its goals and make a difference in the world.

In addition to professional organizations like the Grant Professionals Association, there are many resources available online to help you learn more about grants and grant-seeking. Websites like Grants.gov, Candid (formerly known as Foundation Center), and the National Council of Nonprofits offer a wealth of information on grant opportunities, the grant-seeking process, and best practices for developing successful grant proposals.

In summary, a grant is a type of financial assistance that is provided to organizations or individuals for specific purposes, such as supporting a project or program that aligns with the grantmaker’s mission and priorities. Grant-seeking can be competitive, but by carefully researching potential funders and crafting a compelling grant proposal, your organization can increase its chances of securing the funding it needs to achieve its goals and make a positive impact in your community.


Free grant classes and resources from Candid:

If you are new to seeking funding opportunities, Candid, formerly known as Foundation Center, offers a range of free classes that can help you navigate the grant-seeking process. Their classes are available in various formats, including live and on-demand, and can provide valuable insights on the grant-seeking process. Learn more below:

See upcoming live training dates:

Access on-demand training:
Self-paced learning