Last updated May 25, 2017
Receiving generous sized grants on a regular basis is every non-profit’s dream, but just because it’s what you want – doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll get. When writing your next grant application, you might want to consider the following:
1. Funders are Not Giant Cheque Books
They are real people making real decisions. As unbiased as they try to be, there is not a magic formula. You will win some and lose some – try not to take it personally and don’t work yourself up about it.
2. You’re Not the Only One
Funders either have to (by law) or they have chosen to (by constitution) to distribute funds to the community, but they do not have to distribute funds to you and your organisation. Make sure you let funders know that you appreciate the gift.
3. What Goes Around Comes Around
Funders have very strong networks, both within the community and amongst other funders. If you spoil your reputation with one funder, don’t expect to be able to pick up and move on to the next one. Funders talk about both the good and bad.
4. Be Grateful
Having all your costs covered is undoubtedly the preference, but even a small amount of funding is better than nothing. Instead of complaining about the piece you missed out on, practice being grateful for the piece you received.
5. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Completing a funding application can take a lot of time, but when you consider the amount of money you could potentially receive, the hourly rate isn’t so bad! Treat every grant application like a job application and put your best foot forward.
6. The Bigger Picture
A good track record is an important part of securing funding, so don’t underestimate the importance of regularly telling your story. Make the most of the media to highlight your projects, programmes and successes throughout the year. That way, when a trustee is reading your application, they will have some background information already tucked away in their mind.
7. Have a Plan B, C and D
You can no longer rely on grant funding to keep your organisation afloat. Take time to develop a Sustainable Funding Plan that does not rely on just one income stream. Grow your donor base, investigate sponsorship options or set up a social enterprise. Become so passionate about your cause that you will do whatever it takes to keep it going. Passion is contagious.
Kerri is a Facilitator / Trainer with Exult and has over 20 years experience working in and for the community sector.
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