Is Your Organization Ready to Apply for Grants?

Here are 5 milestones to hit before winning grants…

Grants are an important way to diversify your nonprofit’s funding sources and can really boost growth and sustainability for your organization. However, before applying for grants, it’s important to understand the necessary milestones that need to be achieved in order for your organization to be successful.

Understanding the Landscape:

If it’s one thing funders hate, it’s duplicated services.

Assuming that your overall mission and purpose have been established and the need within your community is clear and measurable, what unique differentiators does your organization offer that other nonprofits do not? Having an idea of what other, similar, nonprofits exist and filling in their gaps through your mission will help position your programming, and impact, for future grant funding success. 

Breakdown Your Needs:

You (The E.D.) cannot wear all of the hats. Operating this way will ensure burnout at a very quick pace. 

Your nonprofit must build an infrastructure that can sustain its mission.

This is everything from subject matter experts (finance, legal, human resources, programs), to securing and raising funds. 

Knowing what your needs are and what they might be in the future will help guide you in the decision-making process when it comes to getting the right people in place. From your board members to employees, build your internal pipeline to maximize success.

Prioritize Relationships! Streamline Processes That Support Your CRM (Customer Relations Management):

Assuming that your board members are in place and align with your mission, tap into THEIR networks to garner future support. Are they connected to any potential future funders? 

Also, be sure to reference your CRM while doing grant research to identify any potential crossover where a strong relationship may already exist. Make a plan to get to know the decision-makers before applying for a future grant. 

The Ultimate Goal for Ultra Successful Funder Relationships:

The goal is to build a grant pipeline of warm (relationship in place before submission) and hot (invite-only opportunities) leads to maximize your resources and increase the likelihood of awards. Cold outreach is a strategic approach to building a new relationship but you want to ensure that your pipeline doesn’t lean too heavily on cold leads as they tend to have lower conversion rates and are more of a long-term strategy.

Hint-hint…You cannot rely on Excel spreadsheets as an efficient way to collect donor data and/or grow your relationship pipeline ????. Be sure to research and demo potential CRMs that suit your growing needs as an organization or work with a partner (like us!) who can build and manage your funder database so you can focus your efforts on relationships and (most importantly) programming!

Share Your Impact:

Running a nonprofit requires both a heart full of compassion and a soul full of data. Internally, it’s important to create evaluation systems that can measure the success of all your activities. Having simple systems in place to measure, collect, and share the impact of your programs in addition to tracking donor data, will be super helpful when you’re deciding to apply for grants.

Prove You Are Grant Ready:

Being competitive for grants requires your nonprofit to have sustained at least two (sometimes three) years of operations and have the tax returns (and ideally audited financials) to prove it. 

Grantmakers expect that you’re able to show financial viability and cause area impact so it’s smart to have all of these documents in one place. Ideally, this is not housed on a home computer or flash drive that can easily get lost. It’s smart to hold these types of documents in a secure, cloud-based folder. This will save you a ton of time when your organization is ready to apply for grants.

These are some of the most important milestones to achieve that will position your organization to apply for grants and further your mission and goals. 

Don’t have the subject matter expertise or bandwidth to identify your needs that sets you up to achieve your organizational goals?

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We’re experts in the field of making your lives easier by empowering the decision-makers of your organization with the necessary tools and strategies to get things done. ????



Don’t miss out on grant funding opportunities!

You don’t have to be distracted from changing the world simply because you don’t have the time or resources. We have worked with hundreds of nonprofit leaders over the past two decades to develop a successful grants program. Let us help you!