Most individuals who are considering starting a nonprofit organization, or who have started new nonprofit organizations, have the same question, “Where’s the money?” Well there are other elements that need to be in place, before one considers applying for grant funding.
- What other funding options have you considered, or currently have in place? There is a common misconception that grants are the next step after establishing a non-profit. Grant funds should never be an organizations first dollar coming in the door.
- What is your Board of Director’s contributing to the organization? One of the major roles of your Board of Director’s is fundraising. Your board should be setting fundraising goals, be donors of the organization and make connections with individuals that do not know about your organization.
- What are your Organizational and Project Budgets? I am always surprised when organizations either want to seek funding, but do not have a budget in place, or do not know the difference between organizational and project budgets. How can you seek out funding or explain your funding needs to a potential funder, if you do not know how the funds plan to be used? (Project Budget-how much is allocated for particular goals of a program over a specified amount of time. Organizational Budget-outlines the organization’s financial and operational goals).
Nonprofits should not rely on grants to save them. Nonprofits should only consider grant funding when they are established and are able to sustain themselves. Grants help for new programming, or to expand existing programing (Just an FYI grant applications or proposals will usually want to know how you plan to sustain your program outside of grant funding).
Grant funding also is not guaranteed nor is funding granted quickly, so you may find yourself waiting months to hear you did not receive the request or months to receive funding if your request is approved. In other words if your organization requires funds tomorrow, applying for a grant will not solve your problem. Grant funding should be considered for any nonprofit, but an established nonprofit knows self-generated income sets the foundation for success.
If you are a non-profit that is seeking to learn more about grants download her helpful grant guide here.