Fundraising for your non-profit organization is one of the most time consuming aspects of community inspired work. There is however, a huge and largely untapped pool of funds just waiting for you to collect.
When you say the word ‘grants’ to many non-profit organizations it instills fear and trepidation. Often they don’t have a dedicated grant writer so it’s a matter of pooling resources and even then, no-one has direct grant experience or knows where to start.
The government, large companies and philanthropic agencies have to give you their money.It’s the law. Well not so much for the companies, but government grants and some philanthropic agencies are governed by mandates to return funds to the community and they are eager to comply. Unfortunately, or fortunately for you the fundraiser, the quality of some applications is not all that great, but they have to award it to ‘somebody’.
So where does this leave you? In a very good position to raise funds without baking one more cake, or selling chocolates.
Like most fundraising, it’s essential to determine your cause or project that you want the funds for. Then it’s a matter of finding a grant that will give you the money. Finding a grant can often be the most time consuming part but again, the government is there to help – seriously. They provide all the information. Check out Fundraising grants for all the grants you can stand.They also provide handy hints on how to apply.
Don’t worry about the paperwork, they make it seem worse than it is. The most important documents you need to support your grant are:
Copy of incorporation (or similar documents proving your status as non-profit organization)
Copy of last financial audited report
List of all executive officers, their titles, signed on organization letterhead
The Grant application.
The application form itself is not as daunting as many fundraisers think it will be. Your supporting evidence is the most crucial part. To give the grant credence, it’s wise to get letters of support from other community and non-profit organizations in your area who would benefit – the broader the benefit the more likely the grant.
If you want to raise funds for a landscaping project for example, take photos to show them what you want to do. Contact the government department directly, to discuss your grant, try to get a representative to come out and inspect the project for, example lighting for a sporting field. Even if you’re confident about your application it’s always better if the department or organization know you’re applying and what your project is about.
Fundraising will always be a part of the non-profit organization and in my view it actually strengthens that organization. Grants can give this a huge boost and provide funds for larger projects or even staff members to do nothing else but apply for more grants.