When applying for grants, you might feel the same stress of a high school senior applying to an Ivy League university; hoping that out of the thousands of applications submitted, yours will shine through as superior and secure you a place in the small percentage of people who get that big envelope in the mail.
But just as high school students can bulk up on extracurricular activities and get SAT tutoring, you too can increase your organization’s chances of receiving a grant to help your cause.
In a session titled “Grant Writing 101: All the Questions You Are Afraid to Ask” during the recent Bridge to Integrated Marketing conference in National harbor, Md., Diane Berry Love, consultant and executive coach, and Jenny Akagi, nonprofit arts fundraising professional, explored some methods to increase your foundation portfolio:
* Grants are highly competitive. With more than 1 million nonprofits compared to fewer than 100,000 private foundations, you can’t simply crank out the same proposal over and over again.
* Research each foundation as a unique entity. Seek keywords or institutional phrases and cross-reference these in your proposal.
* Be sure to follow each foundation’s guidelines for proposals and ask for an appropriate amount. Proofreading before sending and including all requested attachments are also essential to a successful proposal.
* Following up after each proposal, funded or not funded, helps engage with the foundation for future endeavors. If not funded, call to learn why your organization was not chosen and what you can do to improve your chances in the future.
* Having a well-organized filing system with go-to budgets, financials, and other organizational documents streamline the grant application process.
* Foundations are individual and unique; when you know a foundation, you know one foundation.