3 Best Practices for Securing a Nonprofit Grant
Funding is a vital part of any nonprofit organization. While nonprofits strive to take on fundraising initiatives—big and small—that will help them reach their mission and goals, they are constantly seeking funding opportunities to help them support these fundraising initiatives.
If a nonprofit is embarking on a large fundraising project, such as a capital campaign, that will require a significant amount of money, applying for a grant might be the best option. Grants can be given through private foundations, corporations and the government, so if your nonprofit is looking to apply for a grant, the first step is doing the research to ensure that the funder you choose fits all the needs of your nonprofit.
When in search for your grant, the research and application process may be tedious, but the hardest part of the process is making sure your nonprofit secures that grant. The only way to have a leg up in the application process is ensuring your nonprofit does its homework, understanding what the funder is looking for in terms of grantee, ensuring that your nonprofit checks off all of the funder’s boxes and ensuring that the funder checks off all of your nonprofit’s boxes.
To shed some light on a few best practices for applying for grants, we had an exclusive interview with Madeline Duva, CEO of Fluxx, a leading provider of nonprofit solutions.
Do Your Homework
I touched on this a little earlier, but you really have to do your homework when it comes to grant research. You can’t apply to every funder you find because, first, filling out an application and writing a grant proposal is not that easy. It takes a lot of time, effort and concentration and, with everyone’s busy schedules, it would be very difficult to do. And secondly, it’s important that you find funder that connects to your nonprofit’s mission and supports it wholeheartedly.
Duva explains that nonprofits need to do their homework and understand the audience that they are going after. One important question nonprofits should ask themselves is, “What’s the likelihood of this funder funding my project?” And if you truly believe your nonprofit’s likelihood is high, then you’re on the right path to grant success!
Focus on Your Ask
Nonprofits need to focus on what they’re asking of funders and convince the funder that their organization is the perfect candidate for the grant. The most important question funders will be asking is, “How will your nonprofit use this money?” And if you don’t have a good answer to that question, then it’s time to start from square one. You need to be able to explicitly explain how your nonprofit will use this money and how will the overall end goal make an impact on the world.
Because if you really tell your story—your beautiful story of the social impact that you’re making to change people’s lives—then the funder will see the authenticity of that, and you have a higher likelihood of securing that grant! And to help bolster that, your grant proposal needs to be clean, easy to read and organized because it’ll reflect the professionalism and accountability of your organization.
“If you're not using the right tools to get that [grant], if you're super disorganized, it kind of undermines [your nonprofit’s] creativity. So you really want to do your homework, focus on what your ask is and use the right tools,” Duva said.
Use the Right Tools
Technology has revolutionized our sector in a variety of ways, changing and streamlining the way the sector does its day-to-day tasks. Implementing a technology solution for the grant-seeking process helps nonprofits become more effective and more efficient at what they do.
If you’re a nonprofit that applies for numerous grants throughout the year, a grant management solution could be the way to do because it eases the process for both grantee and grantor. In fact, it helps nonprofits communicate and collaborate with the funder better, as well as helps your team stay on the same page about what stage the organization is at in the grant-seeking process.
Nhu Te is senior content manager at Fundraise Up, the AI-powered online donation platform for enterprise nonprofits. In her work, she focuses on helping nonprofits create more impact through personalized donor relations, digital fundraising and thoughtful use of technology.