In today’s world of nonprofit grant funding, competition is stiff. Overall, available grant funding has greatly diminished and organizations must use every accessible resource to their advantage.
A grant writing service can assist you in obtaining grant funding, but you must do everything in your power to adequately prepare. Melanie M. Swift, MNM, Director of Nonprofit Services for CharityNet USA, has prepared a list of the top 10 things your nonprofit must have well established prior to the commencement of a grant funding campaign.
Mission- Know your mission in and out. Be prepared to describe your organization’s specific mission and know how you work each day to fulfill that mission. Be sure your mission statement reflects your purpose, your unique method of delivery, and your organization’s core values.
History- What inspired your organization’s founding? What have been the major milestones since? Has your organization received any recognition for its efforts? Be able to provide success stories to demonstrate your capabilities.
Funding- How have you sustained your organization thus far? Who are your major contributors? How do you fundraise? It is extremely important to funders that potential grant funding recipients be able to demonstrate past fiduciary responsibility.
Need- Can you show that there is really a significant need for your organization’s programs within the community you serve? Research statistical data on the problem you address as well as the degree of other efforts being made to combat the same problem.
Governing Capabilities- Are you able to promote members of your board or staff as responsible, knowledgeable, nonprofit professionals? Be prepared to describe their education and experience. Convince me that they are competent leaders.
Objectives- Know the difference between a goal and an objective. You must be able to provide targeted, measurable objectives! Identify objectives that are realistic and attainable, which is a necessity in order to receive grant funding.
Methods- Do you really know, step-by-step, how you will meet your objectives? Are you aware of everything and everyone that will be involved, down to the smallest detail? It is essential that the questions of Who-What-When-Why-How be answered for each proposed activity.
Evaluation- How will you evaluate the success of your proposed project? Take the time to develop a scientific plan for evaluation that describes who will be involved, at what intervals, and what costs will be incurred.
Sustainability- You must think past the grant award period. Exactly how will you continue to fund this project once the grant funding runs out? Funders seek out projects that will exist into perpetuity.
Budget- Learn to develop a precise line item budget. Know the difference between an operating budget and a project budget, and learn how to allocate your administrative costs within each program. This activity requires significant board involvement.
Luckily for you, there is CharityNet USA, an entire organization dedicated to solving your nonprofit back office needs. From initial incorporation and preparation of the application for 501 tax exemption, to strategic planning, grant proposal development, fundraising planning, and 990 tax filings, CharityNet USA can handle it quickly and efficiently. After more than 15,000 clients, CharityNet USA’s systems are fully tested and proven, and our pricing is far below the competition.