Grants 101: How to Earn More Grant Dollars for Your Nonprofit Organization

When securing critical funds for nonprofits to carry out their mission and implement their programs, many organizations include grants in their development efforts.

Grants are an invaluable source of funding for all types of nonprofits. A robust grant-writing program improves your chances of obtaining funding for your programs, projects, and equipment. They ensure that your nonprofit has the resources it needs to achieve its goals and fulfill its mission.

But grants can be intimidating and frustrating, especially if you’re just getting started.

What exactly are Nonprofit Grants?

Grant dollars refer to funding from foundations, corporations, government agencies, or community organizations. These can range from providing in-kind services to monetary awards.  

They are generally classified according to the type of institution that provides the funds: government grants (federal, provincial, or municipal), foundation grants, and corporate grants.

Essentially, it’s money (restricted or unrestricted) that could help fund your nonprofit’s next big project. Many nonprofits rely on grant funding to launch new initiatives and even to cover basic operating expenses.

Most grants are designed to support a specific function or project rather than an organization, so specificity is essential!

The Secret to securing grants for your nonprofit

The better prepared you are to submit grant proposals, the more likely you are to receive funding. Launching a grants program can be time-consuming and tedious. The following suggestions below can assist you in understanding, preparing for, and launching a successful grants program.

  • To apply, you must meet all the grant qualifications.

This question may appear insignificant, but it is one of the most critical factors in submitting a successful grant application. Winning grants will require meticulous attention to detail.

If you ignore a grantor’s qualifications, you could spend hours writing an application only to discover your organization does not fully meet all of the requirements. If you apply for a grant for which you aren’t qualified, your request will be denied.

Before you begin writing, ensure your organization aligns with the funder’s priorities. If you have any queries about your eligibility, don’t hesitate to contact the grant officer! Foundations are there to help and will respond to your email rather than decline your proposal later.

  • Checking the qualifications

With so many types of nonprofit funding available, how do you know which ones to apply for? Unfortunately, closing your eyes and pointing at your options will not suffice.

Investigate which types of funding are appropriate for your nonprofit’s mission or goals. Corporations and foundations will fund various projects, including general operating grants, program-specific grants, capacity-building grants, endowments, and capital campaigns, among others.

Once you’ve decided on the type of funding you want to pursue in your proposal, make sure you’re prepared to put that money to use.

When you need unrestricted funding for operations, concentrate on grants that are willing to fund those costs. Know what you require and express it clearly in your proposal.

  • Diversity in the fundraising plan

A single grant will fund your program only for a designated amount of time. That funding may not be renewed, making it necessary for you to research other grants or find an individual donor.

It is critical to maintain a diverse and robust list of grant prospects, as well as to prospect for new funders and submit applications constantly.

Expect a maximum 25% return on grant proposals (meaning one will be submitted for every four you submit). Try to have grants account for only 20% of your overall organizational funding. You will be financially secure regardless of what happens to one grantor or funder.

  • Data that speaks of your work

Most grants ask for very specific verifiable data about your organizations work and finances. It is critical to compile accurate data before attempting to write the application. Even if you have a fantastic grant writer, sloppy data can prevent the grant writing process from getting started.

It’s fair to say that solid data wins grants or proposals. Data that is well-organized and easy to understand is essential for winning grants. Having your data organized makes grant application writing much easier and more fluid.

Finding, entering, and analyzing data scattered everywhere is a nightmare. A grantor wants to look at your data and see that your program does what you claim it does.

  • A writer that knows it all

Grant writing is a highly specialized field. It is critical to have someone who knows what they are doing. At its core, grant writing is really only 25% writing; the remaining 75% is project management. Understanding the grant application process can make or break your application. Even sending an existing staff member to a grant writing boot camp will be well worth it.

Keep your basket full of eggs!

Fundraising can be exhausting. It may appear that there always needs to be more resources to fund the incredible work that your nonprofit organization does. Grants should only be used as part of a broader fundraising strategy that focuses on a wide range of donors.

When done correctly, grants are an effective and worthwhile way to ensure that your nonprofit can continue to carry out its mission and serve its beneficiaries. However, it is critical to adequately prepare for applying for grants.

The more time you devote to planning and research, the better your results will be. Then you’ll need to be persistent and tenacious. Grants require planning, preparation, time, and resilience (for all the rejections you may receive along the way), but it will be worth it once you get that grant you’ve been working for!

Car Credit is proud to support the work of Nuevo en US – welcoming newcomers to the United States with a strategic group of nonprofits devoted to serving their needs.