How to find grants for 501c3 organizations

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1 How to find grants for 501c3 organizations

2 First Step: Prepare Your Organization for Success Many people think that finding money is the first step in starting a nonprofit. But there s a lot more to raising money than just having a good idea

3 First Step: Prepare Your Organization for Success Since nonprofits and foundations exist in order to benefit the public, there must be a need for your organization and its work in the community.

4 First Step: Prepare Your Organization for Success After you ve established that there is a need for your project, you also have to convince donors and funders that your organization has the ability to carry out what it says it wants to do!

5 First Step: Prepare Your Organization for Success Here are some of the most important things to consider: Clear mission and vision, goals, and objectives Committed board members Capable management, staff, and volunteers Legal standing to do business in your community Appropriate tax status Accounting systems Programs that are vital to the well-being of the community Fundraising plan, which seeks support from many different sources Facilities, equipment, and maintenance

6 What is a grant? Using the words of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, a grant is a financial donation given to support a person, organization, project, or program. It is typically awarded to a nonprofit organization from a foundation, corporation, or governmental agency.

7 Grants are typically awarded to a nonprofit organization for a distinct program or purpose. A grantmaker generally focuses its giving on: A specific population (such as children or organizations in Maryland) Certain types of nonprofits (such as churches or environmental groups) Particular types of support (such as program development or funding for equipment)

8 Many people think that grants are an easy way of getting funded, because grant money is free. In reality, even though you do not have to pay a grant back, you do have to invest a considerable amount of thought, effort, time, and money.

9 In addition to doing what you do really well, you need: An in-depth understanding of the needs of your community in order to develop an effective solution (program) to meet the problem

10 Knowledge of the available resources of your organization, so that you can ask for the right type and amount of assistance The ability to match your program and needs to another organization s priorities and criteria for giving

11 Language skills for writing an effective proposal Enough cash flow to run your organization and its programs until the grant funding comes in After winning a grant, you will have to monitor income and expenses, measure the successes and failures of your program, and report back to the funder

12 Before you look for grant funding, you need to get your house in order. Make sure that you have the capability (knowledge and expertise) to carry out a program, before you ask for support for it.

13 Once you ve established your nonprofit organization, you ve figured out your project s goals and funding needs, and you ve read up on the world of philanthropy, you may feel ready to look for grant opportunities. There are two major grant sectors to research: Private sector: foundations and corporations Public Sector: federal, state, and local government agencies

14 Foundation and Corporate Funding A foundation is a type of nonprofit organization that exists in order to give money away for charitable purposes. There are several types of foundations and related types of funders, including ones that are run by family members, members of the community, and corporations.

15 Foundation and Corporate Funding If you know the name of a particular foundation (i.e. independent, corporate, community, operating, or grantmaking public charities), you can use: The Foundation Center s Foundation Directory Online (FDO) Free to find an independent foundation s web site, current contact information, a brief description, and a link to a recent 990-PF form GuideStar, a directory of nonprofit organizations in the United States (registration is free) National Center for Charitable Statistics, the national repository of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States

16 Foundation and Corporate Funding Other places to find the foundation and corporate funders: Orange County Public Library Downtown (ocls.info) Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Center at Rollins College (ebi.rollins.edu)

17 Foundation Directory Online Professional Covers approximately 120,000 foundations and corporate giving programs in the United States Allows you to search by: grantmaker s name and location geographic focus (where the foundation gives its money) type of support (the kind of help the grantmaker provides, such as seed money or funding for buildings and equipment) subjects

18 To find out the latest funding opportunities, visit: The Foundation Center s Philanthropy News Digest/RFP Bulletin The Nonprofit Times: Grants

19 When you are looking at the funder's record in these sources, compare your organization and its programs to the funder s priorities. While you are researching, you might want to keep track of your prospects on a worksheet. Pay special attention to the funder's: Purpose and activities Limitations (which types of nonprofits or projects the foundation DOES NOT fund) Application information (including deadlines and preferred method of contacting the funder)

20 Once you have identified some funders that might help, it s important to see if they really give to organizations or programs like yours. Do they have a history of giving to your cause and to organizations like yours? To find out more details: Visit the funder's Web site. If the foundation has a site, it will often include application forms, news, reports, and other information Read the funder s annual reports, newsletters, and publications Contact the funder

21 Since funders interests and priorities can change, it s a good idea to keep tabs on grantmakers in your region. You may also want to follow the news, to find out about new foundations and corporate funding programs.

22 U.S. Government Funding If you are looking for government funding for your organization or project, you need to research opportunities on three governmental levels: Federal (U.S.) State (e.g., Florida) Local (e.g., Orlando)

23 U.S. Government Funding Some federal agencies award funding directly to nonprofits these are sometimes called discretionary grants most federal money is distributed to state, county, or city governments, who then decide which local charities get funding.

24 U.S. Government Funding Some parts of the process are similar, there are some key differences between foundations and government funders:

25 U.S. Government Funding Tracking a new federal funding opportunity can be a long journey. Typically, once the legislation has been signed into law by the President, the agency implementing the program publicizes a notice of funding availability (NOFA), which offers nonprofits a chance to compete for funding to provide the services Congress has mandated.

26 U.S. Government Funding How well your program addresses the legislative intent of the law is very important and is often one of the criteria that your proposal will be evaluated upon. Your program will need to comply with all federal laws and regulations, too. You can research relevant U.S. bills, laws, and regulations on the Internet, or at a federal depository library near you

27 U.S. Government Funding If you are a faith-based organization, the U.S. government can offer funding, but there are numerous guidelines they must follow because of the separation of church and state

28 U.S. Government Funding Some federal programs require cost sharing or matching. This means that your organization may be required to put up cash, in-kind donations, or staff time needed for the project without being reimbursed with federal funds

29 U.S. Government Funding The U.S. government requires financial reports and recordkeeping on a regular basis and has the right to audit federally-funded operations at any time. Programs that receive more than $300,000 in federal funding must be audited

30 U.S. Government Funding Another key difference between foundation and government grantseeking: it s usually much easier to find information about federal grants for free on the Internet. Here are three websites that notify the public about funding opportunities: Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. This is a listing of all the U.S. Government s grants, loans, and benefits programs, including opportunities for nonprofits, businesses, state and local governments, individuals, and families Grants.gov is a one-stop shopping center for grantees. Two helpful features are its list of grants that have been posted in the last 7 days, and the ability to sign up to receive funding notices through USA.gov for Nonprofits, by the U.S. General Services Administration. This provides links to relevant information for nonprofits from the IRS, U.S. Postal Service, and many other federal departments and agencies

31 Other Funding Options Remember that grants are only part of your fundraising strategy. There are many other tactics you can use to acquire funding: Asking for donations from the general public through direct mail, telemarketing, and the Internet Membership programs Major gift campaigns Marketing partnerships with corporations Partnering or getting sponsorship from a larger nonprofit organization Planned giving/bequests Special events Selling products and services

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