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Insider Advice – Winning Grants For Nonprofits: Nonprofit MBA Podcast 2.3

Foundations are required by law to distribute at least 5% of their funds each year, including grants for nonprofits, yet many smaller nonprofits do not submit grant applications. With the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as some dwindling funding sources, many nonprofits are now looking for new ways to raise funds. Winning grants for your grants for nonprofitsnonprofit could become an important lifesaver. 

In today’s Nonprofit MBA Podcast with Margit Brazda Poirier, M.S., GPC from Grants4Good, we will be covering why these excellent funding opportunities are being overlooked and what your nonprofit organization can do to start a grant writing program. 

Summary: 

  • Why nonprofit organizations are not applying for grant opportunities 
  • How to greatly increase your odds of winning funding opportunities 
  • Recommendations from Margit about grant writing/grant seeking 
  • Three ways to move forward with grant writing 
  • What types of foundations have grant funds available 

Guest: Margit Brazda Poirier, President, Grants4Good 

Margit, President of Grants4Good, brings over 25 years of nonprofit management and grants experience to her clients through her company. She holds the GPC certification from the nationally accredited Grant Professional Certification Institute and is one of only 20 nationally approved trainers. Margit has written and received over 20 million in grants from federal, state, private foundation, and corporate sources. She has the unique perspective of understanding both grant seeking and grant making, given her experience leading a prominent foundation that issued over one million dollars in grants annually. 

Host: Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions 

Stephen Halasnik is Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is the leading provider of Lines of Credit to nonprofits. The nonprofit line of credit costs nothing to set up and is an excellent cash backup plan for smaller nonprofits who have yearly revenue of at least $200,000.  Learn more about the nonprofit line of credit. 

Why nonprofit organizations are not applying for grant opportunities 

Many executive directors and board members would like their nonprofit to apply for grant opportunities but often the challenges for many small nonprofits are limitations of time, Grants for nonprofitsresources, and knowledge. While teaching grant writing webinars, Margit mostly hears the following four reasons why nonprofit organization have not applied for grants: 

  • “The whole process for funding opportunities seems like a lot of work.” 
  • “Our small business has too much on our plates already to submit grant proposals” 
  • “We are scared of the highly competitive nature of grant funding” 
  • “We are not even sure where to start” 

Take a step back and learn about grant writing 

In Margit’s experience, a person applying for a grant who has no grant application process experience will only be successful with 1 out of 10 grant applications. Those odds greatly improve with the knowledge you gain by using the Grant4Good formula of smart project planning matched with finding the absolute perfect funder for your work. 

Those odds become even better when you plan far in advance to win a grant and you do the research to make sure the grants you are applying for are worth the effort. 

The last part of the formula is that foundations are formed for a specific purpose. You must first understand the foundation’s purpose before your nonprofit decides to apply to them for a grant. 

Recommendations about grant writing/grant seeking 

Learning how to win grants would be a great investment of your time during this recession 

  • Winning grants is an important part of fundraising efforts that is often the most overlooked 
  • Grant Writing can be fun, strategic and can help a nonprofit in other ways 
  • Your nonprofit might be further along in developing a grant writing process than you think 
  • As your nonprofit gets bigger and bigger, having a grant writing process will become even more important 
  • Make sure you are ready to start applying for grants before you make a commitment 
  • If you dedicate 5-10 days learning about grant writing you will be more successful 
  • Creating common answers to the questions you will often see will help with 75% of all new grant applications 
  • Grants are not perpetual so you will need to have a constant pipeline 
  • If one is considering a pivot from their career, grant writing consulting is a booming field 
  • Learn from other nonprofits in your space and see where their grants are coming from 
  • The #1 way to learn grant writing is to just get started 

Grant writing, Finding grants, Grant makers; 3 ways to move forward 

Types of foundations out there 

There are 87,000 corporate and family grants in the United States, which equals PLENTY of grant opportunities. 

Community Foundations 

Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities. 

Too many nonprofits, community foundation operations are shrouded in mystery. You should know that foundations want to build strong and effective relationships with grantees.  Foundations want to acquire new knowledge and insights into issues and to test and scale those innovative strategies uncovered. 

Corporate foundations 

A corporate foundation is a type of foundation. This means that it is a nonprofit organization, different from the company. It is part of the private foundation family. The characteristic of this one is that the majority of the funds are coming from one source. Google.org is an example of a billion-dollar corporate foundation whose mission is to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges. 

Government grants and federal grants 

Government grants are financial awards given by the federal, state, or local government agencies for a beneficial project of some sort. It is effectively a gift. Over 26 federal agencies administer more than 1,000 grant programs annually to provide funding for the arts, the sciences, and educational institutions. Government grants help fund ideas and projects that provide public services and stimulating the economy.  Government grant announcements can be found at grants.gov. 

Family Foundations 

A family foundation derives funds from members of a single-family. Foundation Center and Guidestar provide a list of all the family foundations by state throughout the United States. 

Conclusion 

Each of us has a lot on our plate and learning something new isn’t always a high priority. However, learning something new can also invigorate an organization and you personally. Learning about grant writing and building a process for your nonprofit organization will pay great dividends in both short and long term.  

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