Grant Writing for Nonprofits – Overview
Do you have a nonprofit organization having financial issues? It’s quite common to happen.
2011 USA reports even show that 48% of nonprofit organizations were facing financial issues due to low cash reserves. In such cases, grants may be the best choice.
Grants are the most common way for nonprofits to continue serving their communities. That’s why they go for grant writing for nonprofits.
A grant writer seeks financial assistance from an institution, typically a charitable foundation or government funding, and must employ specific strategies to do so.
Nonprofit organizations benefit communities, and they must receive consistent financing to function.
It’s because these organizations do not profit from their vital services. They must seek outside funding to help them maintain their day-to-day operations.
Why is Grant Writing for Nonprofits Important?
As grant writers prepare to assist their organizations, they realize that most awards are merit-based rather than needed.
For example, even if a nonprofit organization is experiencing financial difficulties, another organization would be awarded a competitive grant sooner if it submitted a higher-quality application.
The Grantsmanship Center, a grant-writing organization, has provided context for how to grant distributors avoid giving based on requirements.
A grant is a resource that nonprofit organizations can use to address critical issues in their communities.
This logic stands to reason that charitable organizations tend to give more money to nonprofit organizations to help the community more effectively or otherwise raise awareness of a local or national issue.
Grants effectively fuel nonprofit missions and impact the organizations to which they are distributed. In addition to that, they have a more significant impact on the communities that the nonprofit seeks to support.
As a result, when nonprofit organizations apply for grants, they must be clear about how the funds will benefit their communities.
As organizations prepare their application materials, they should consider establishing community needs in various ways.
According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, Nonprofits should strive for measurable, realistic, and actionable outcomes.
They provided more context for this practice by illustrating how a river-cleaning nonprofit organization would detail its achievable stream of goals.
They say that as a river cleans up, more people will be enticed to go swimming and, boating, fishing, and consider buying property along the river.
Because the objectives of the hypothetical river cleanup project would have measurable, community-changing benefits, these outcomes would entice a gift-giving committee.
Grant Writing Techniques
Grant writing for nonprofits is a distinct genre with its own rules.
According to the Forbes Nonprofit Council, grant writers should employ several tactics to improve the level of their writing before submitting the grant proposal.
Overall, they argue that grant writers must express their organization’s needs clearly and convincingly.
If writers use field-specific or higher-level terminology, they must also explain those terms to gift-giving committees. In summary, the Forbes Council advised writers to:
- As they communicate, they should think outside the box.
- Write after carrying out research.
- Create application materials that can be used throughout the process.
- Create a narrative and storytelling progression to build a case for an organization’s needs.
- Finally, consider the impact on the community.
These general grant writing principles for nonprofits apply to every genre, but they are critical to grant applications.
The National Science Foundation, a federal agency that funds various nonprofit programs through grants, has expanded on how groups can create compelling application materials. The following are their recommendations:
Access You Capabilities
The funder’s interests should align with the objective of your organization, and your proposal should adhere to the funder’s requirements.
Then explain how and why your organization matches those standards in your bid.
Tell The Story
With a compelling story about your organization’s effect, you’ll stand out among the sea of bids.
In addition, storytelling offers a humanizing element to your proposal, which may persuade potential funders of the value of your work.
You can share stories by focusing on those who benefit from your organization’s services and those who support it—from staff to contributors to volunteers.
Interviewing a range of people who have benefited from your nonprofit’s work is a terrific method to produce storytelling content.
These interviews can be used for various purposes, including grant writing for nonprofits, yearly reports, marketing materials, and your nonprofit’s blog.
Answer Correct Question
The below-mentioned concerns should always be addressed in your grant proposal:
- What community needs does your NGO address?
- What sets your organization apart from the rest?
- What impact will your nonprofit have?
Be precise once more, with specific activities outlined in the application. How will you continue your program after the grant funding has been spent? First, double-check your application; else, your reliability will be questioned.
Create A Personal Relationship With Potential Funders.
Before sending your application, please get to know them by speaking with them on the phone or in person.
The more personal you can get with potential funders, the more your chances of receiving a grant. It is essential to mention you must send a thank-you note after each chat you have.
Grant applications are complex and time-consuming, but they are well worth the effort to be done right. Grants are an essential part of a well-rounded fundraising strategy that may make or destroy a project.
It would help if you got prepared with the resources to write a convincing, solution-oriented proposal with simple language and, at the very least, establish a relationship with a possible sponsor with excellent research and an engaging story.
Furnish A Clear Sense
One of the most common blunders a nonprofit can make is believing that a donor is aware of its objective.
Thousands of NGOs apply for project financing from significant national grants. Even if a nonprofit is well-known, grant foundations should never assume they are familiar with its objective.
Grant writers have a unique opportunity to communicate their organization’s message and mission in a fun and engaging way.
Propose Community Project Goals And Objectives
Grant writers should not focus on how the money will benefit the organization when seeking funds for a nonprofit organization.
Instead, NGOs should have a plan for a project that will help the community.
Writers should emphasize how the project will be completed and how the donated funds will make a difference in the grant application documents.
Carry Out Appropriate Research
In grant writing, relevant research goes a long way. For example, gift-giving foundations can better comprehend how their money can fund a worthwhile project when grant writers for nonprofit groups use data regarding a community problem or need.
Though grant applications without researched materials can be successful, a grant writer who uses credible information in their proposal will most likely have an easier time convincing the relevant board to grant to their organization.
Learning from professionals who have helped develop and shape their community is one of the best ways to effect positive change in yours.
In addition, you will apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world experience before and after graduation as you learn how to secure funding for nonprofit organization projects through proficient grant writing for nonprofits.
A grant is a monetary gift given to an entity to help it achieve a specific goal or purpose. Two types of funders typically award this money:
- The government (city, state, and federal).
- The foundations (community and private).
Find Out Where To Look For Grants
If you suggest a new revenue stream to an executive director, they’ll want to know where they can get access to it. So the question is, where does one go to find grants?
Consider your network. This is a simple thing you can do. Who is your banker, electric company, insurance company, and so on? Is there a grant program or a foundation in place? Then, inquire about the application process.
Draw the Attention OF The Funders
However, using a grant database is the quickest way to find grant opportunities. There is a time and place for Google searches, but relying solely on Google to find grants is ineffective.
A database can do what would take you days, and it’s a much easier way to organize and track grant opportunities visually. But which database am I going to use? That’s an excellent question.
Instead, please read this blog post to learn about ten databases and our final recommendation.
Spend Adequate Time With The Grant Application
Even a brief application from a small community foundation necessitates thought and planning. Even an “easy grant” that you are confident you will receive takes time.
Tough love: by rushing through the application, you are not doing yourself, your organization, or those you serve any favors.
Slow down and recall the fundamentals of good writing—complete sentences, story craft, persuasion, and so on.
Seek assistance in writing; for example, delegate portions of the grant application to a Board member, volunteer, intern, or other staff member.
There is no shame in seeking assistance when you require it. Instead, it draws attention to your personality.
You are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You recognize others’ strengths by soliciting their expertise while putting everything together into a single, coherent message.
It would be best if you were confidently focusing on the proper grants in the first place and preferred to write higher-quality applications rather than throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.
Get A Third Person Review
As per best practice in grant writing for nonprofits, it is always recommended to review your grant application independently before submission.
An outsider will notice gaps in the narrative and things you unintentionally overlooked. You could even team up with another reputable nonprofit organization.
Perhaps you could exchange final drafts for an independent review.
Plan Victory Before Starting
Before applying for a grant, make sure you have everything you need. Spend some time getting grants ready before diving into grant prospecting and certainly before tackling your first proposal.
Grant readiness can refer to various things, but it generally refers to being financially and organizationally prepared for the program/project and organizational levels.
In other words, before applying for funding, your organization’s back end should be in good working order.
Of course, you will still need to work through application-specific details, but the process will go much more smoothly if you are well-prepared.
Here’s a short, non-exhaustive list of essential documents you’ll most likely need when applying for grants:
- IRS Form 990
- Letter of Tax-Exempt Status
- Board of Directors
- Strategic Plan
- Organizational Chart
- Audited Financial Statements (If any)
- Annual Report
- History of grants received
There will be much more, depending on the size of your grant!
You’ll also need a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number and a SAM registration if you want to apply for federal funding.
Proper planning will make the grant writing process go smoothly. Make sure you have all of the above documents available to start when it comes to grant writing.
Take a deep breath if all of this is too much for you! It’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds. It all comes down to being highly organized to find the information to write grants efficiently and effectively.
Grants do not only benefit nonprofit organizations. However, on the other hand, grant writing assists them in bringing about urgent, positive, and long-term change in communities.
To summarize, the top 10 tips for grant writing for nonprofits are:
- Recognize what grants are and are not.
- Understand where to look for grants.
- Establish contact with the funder.
- Investigate the funder.
- Collaborate with other nonprofits.
- Spend some time working on the grant application.
- Recycle content with care.
- Allow an outsider to read the grant.
- Prepare grants before applying.
- Invest in professional training.
The suggestions mentioned above are intended to assist you in making the best use of your time in creating a careful, strategic application for grant funding so you can win grants to serve your community.