Here are five grant writing strategies that will give your nonprofit organization an edge in being awarded more grants during times of economic turmoil and make your nonprofit appear to be well managed. It is like a farmer who adjusts by the weather how he farms his crops.
There are five strategies every nonprofit should consider when writing grant proposals in today’s recession:
1. Make sure that your client’s goals and objectives are in tune with the grant maker’s initiatives. This is important any time but is crucial during times of tight money. If the foundation that you are writing has stated on their website or annual report that they intend to make a major impact on feeding starving children in Africa and you mission is to educate children in metro areas you might want to reconsider the foundation you have picked.
2. It’s also crucial to talk with and build a strong relationship with the program officer. The reason for this is to save time for both you and the program officer. Lets say you have researched well the initiatives of XYZ Foundation and your mission is very much right along the same line. Then you might want to discuss with the program officer for XYZ about how much money they would suggest you request as a first time grantee or find out if they would like to make a site visit and discuss your programs and philosophy. That way when you write the grant or Letter of Inquiry or other formal request that you both agree on its contents so there is not a lot of paper shuffle.
3. During bad economic times cut your request down. The size you should request of a grant during these trying economic times can be discovered when building your relationship with the program officer. Remember if you wanted $25,000, but the program officer suggest $10,000 is more along the lines they had in mind don’t ask for anything more then $10,000. You will create trust and respect from the program officer by relying on their advice.
4. You should research more foundations and corporate gifting organizations to make up the difference for smaller grant sizes. Utilize your community funding library and all the tools they have to initiate a broader appeal by spreading around the request to more funders so that no one funder feels they are totally at risk. Remember that there is safety in numbers both for the nonprofit and the funder.
5. Don’t ignore your individual donations and volunteers. Let the foundation’s program officer know about your plans to increase your individual donation base as well as receiving grants as a means to keep cash flowing in the door and your volunteer base growing. Program officers feel very warm and fuzzy when they know you are trying to also grow your donation base by say 20% this coming year. Once again it is a matter of spreading the risk around so that you make every one feel at ease.
If you follow these strategies and implement these suggestions you should see more grants awarded and your nonprofit should have no problem weathering the economic storm.