Have a Specific Goal in Mind
Yes, there are grants out there that provide unrestricted funds, but they’re much harder to get than grants given for a specific goal. So before you apply for a grant, come up with a specific fundraising goal. Do you want to expand the barn at your horse rescue ranch to accommodate more animals? Do you want to assemble 1,000 care packages for mothers in need? Set a specific, measurable goal and calculate how much funding you would need to meet that goal. Then you can start applying for more grants.
Have a Diversified Funding Plan
For your own peace of mind and the future success of your non-profit, don’t rely solely on grants for your fundraising purposes. Though they are a great way to bring lump sums into your organization, it is simply not a sustainable means of funding. Instead, create a diversified funding plan and ensure that grant money doesn’t make up more than 20% of your revenue goals. In fact, no single source of funds should account for more than 20% of your revenue. As the saying goes, you should never put all of your eggs in one basket.
Research Very Specific Grants
If you want to maximize your odds of being awarded grant money, you need to ensure you’re applying for the right kinds of grants. That means doing a lot of in-depth research and finding grants that are not only for non-profits in your county alone, but that are also aimed specifically at your type of non-profit. This minimizes the amount of competition you will be facing and gives you a better chance of getting those funds.
Gather Detailed Data
Now that you’re ready to actually start writing your grant proposals, you need to begin by collecting some concrete data to include. This not only includes data specifically about your non-profit (numbers showing the impact you’ve had on your community, financial data, etc.) but data pertaining to your cause as a whole. This could include things like the number of homeless veterans in your county, the percentage of new mothers who don’t have all that they need to care for their babies, and so on. The more concrete data you have, the more impressive your grant application will be.
Write a Unique Proposal for Every Grant
If you ever attended a class or workshop on résumé writing, you were probably told on multiple occasions that you should tailor your résumé and cover letter to every job that you apply for. Applying for grants is the same. You should never write a generic grant proposal and send it out to every funding organization out there. Put the time and effort into writing a proposal that is tailored to every grant that you’re applying for. Different grants will ask for different kinds of data, or they may be more likely to be granted to organizations with certain goals in mind. Tailoring your proposals—just like tailoring your résumé—makes it more likely you’ll get a positive response.
Commit to the Long Haul
It’s important that you understand that the majority of first-time grant applications are rejected. This can be hard to take if you’re a new non-profit, and it can be easy to get discouraged. But don’t give up! Grant writing works best for the non-profits that can commit to the long haul and understand that “No” is really just the shorter way of saying “No for right now.” Reapply for the same grants every year, and keep perfecting your proposals. Eventually, those funds will start coming in.
Writing grant proposals takes a lot of time, research, and organization. When you’re applying for dozens of grants, it can become a little overwhelming to juggle all of those proposal forms and letters—especially since each funder can have their own unique application form. It’s important that you stay organized throughout this process, so while you’re gathering data and writing all those unique proposals and filling out all those applications, make sure you’re keeping all your documents within easy reach.
Reliable document management software like eFileCabinet will help you to always have the latest version of every application right at your fingertips, so you can work on it from anywhere and get your proposals in quickly. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about how eFileCabinet can help you to stay organized and improve your chances of getting those grant funds you need.