Grants can provide a substantial amount of money either to hire a new staff person, help fund the construction of a new building or provide a financial infusion for nearly any other project. This, however, is not a single task. Grants have to be part of a long-term fundraising plan rather than a means for instant gratification.
If you are not yet a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, you need to do the work to become one, or identify a 501(c)(3) that will work with and sponsor you.
Reasons to proceed with grant writing include the following:
- The amount of funding available. More than $50 billion are awarded each year through foundation and corporate grants. You just need to know where to look.
- Grants are available for just about any type of nonprofit. This means that new nonprofits aren’t necessarily ruled out of consideration. It’s just a matter of doing the research to connect with the right funders.
- Grants can fund many kinds of needs. Grants do not have to be project-specific. Grants can fund operations costs, capital campaigns and endowments.
Grants should not be your sole source of funding for the following reasons:
- Applying for grants is not an overnight endeavor. You need to do your research, and then some. You cannot write one generic application and then fill in the blanks and send it to multiple resources. After all the work is done, and even if you’ve done everything correctly, there is no guarantee you’ll get that grant.
- There are usually strings attached. Generally, there is no unrestricted funding. It does exist, but it is highly unusual.
- If a grant falls away, so can your organization. It’s recommended that approximately 20 percent of your funding be grant-based. If you lose your funding and it’s more than 20 percent, your nonprofit runs the risk of failing.
Though it’s tempting to sit down and write a grant without any training, it is not recommended. You could end up investing a huge amount of time for absolutely no return. It is always recommended either to find a qualified grant writer or invest in training an existing staff member. If a grant makes sense for your nonprofit, give us a call. We can make an intimidating process a lot less scary and a lot more successful.