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Easy Tips for Acquiring Nonprofit Startup Grants

Easy Tips for Acquiring Nonprofit Startup Grants

The beginning of a nonprofit organization is often a whirlwind of excitement. Every member is excited to change the world in his or her own way, and is full of inspiration and planning. The tough part comes when members of a nonprofit realize just how much these plans will cost. Turning to grants is one of the most common ways to secure funding, but it can be a daunting experience. But what exactly entails fundraising for nonprofits? There’s a great TedTalk about it on Youtube, that you may check out before reading on.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you begin this adventure.

 

Treat Them Like Friends and Family

If you’re in the fundraising process for a nonprofit, it’s very likely that you have already opened investments to friends and family. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to pay attention to your pitch, in order to see what works and what doesn’t. Use meetings with friends and family as practice, and as a chance to critique yourself. When you’re ready, start meeting with members of granting organizations in informal ways, if possible. You can never go wrong with meeting someone for a cup of coffee. Keep in mind that granting organizations will want reassurance that their money will be spent wisely and in contribution to eventual success, just like any other investors. Be prepared to answer their questions, but do consider that building a relationship is equally as important in this arena than in any other.

 

Use your Letter of Intent Wisely

Speaking to the matter of building a relationship with potentially helpful members of a granting organization, use your letter of intent as a means to begin a mutual foundation. Those who work at such organizations will see these letters in all forms, and are often more than willing to offer feedback on your letter of intent before your submittal. One individual from a grant foundation could be of great help with the structure of your letter, and this will help him or her get to know your nonprofit foundation just a little better. The feedback you receive may be incredibly valuable, and the process taken could help develop a personal relationship.

 

Know which Grants are Right for You

It can be a long and difficult process to apply for any one grant. When you factor in just how many grants are out there, the time investment you put in for grant applications will likely seem overwhelming. Ensure that you are using your time wisely, and don’t forget that your time is valuable to your nonprofit as it grows. Know which application process are worth it; for example, government grants can be exceptionally difficult and require many complicated qualifications. On the other hand, you have a higher chance that local foundations will not only relate to your cause, but will be more eager to help their own community.

 

Understand Restrictions

It cannot be stressed enough that your time is valuable. Applying for any and every grant may work out in some cases, but most often it is more comparable to “throwing everything to a wall and seeing what sticks.” Learn what foundations might be available to you, and then verify to see if your nonprofit would be automatically disqualified based on restrictions set in place. If at all possible, develop relationships with local grant foundations in any way you can. The ideal scenario is to build upon these relationships until you find that one organization is interested in developing a personal connection with your team. If you stay the course, you may find a grantor that will work with you, investing in your cause and helping each other along the way.