Keys to Winning Grants for Your Nonprofit: Everything You Should Know
There are numerous nonfederal and federal grants for nonprofits ready for the taking, but do you have what it takes to be a grant success story? If you are just starting to research how to get grants for nonprofits, the amount of information can seem overwhelming or even intimidating.
The key is not to stress about it, do your homework, and always have a backup plan. Read on to find out where to find grant programs, how applying for grants with nonprofits works, the kind of grants available, and how to create a financial cushion while you wait for your grant money to come in.
Where to Find Grants for Nonprofits
Grants fall into two main categories:
- Federal government grants for nonprofit organizations
- Nonfederal grants for nonprofit organizations
Federal grants are one way the government “funds ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy.” Grants (including grants for nonprofits) help the economy and support a number of important initiatives and research. Predictably, most federal grants are awarded to businesses in the healthcare industry, but other categories such as education, transportation, and community services also get a share.
The two main types of federal grants are categorical and block grants. Categorical grants are for particular purposes or programs, while block grants can have broader goals, such as community development or crime control. Government grants for nonprofit organizations can be classified under either type.
Federal grants are listed in the Catalog of Federal Assistance (CFDA) which has recently been merged with the government website Sam.gov. In addition, listings of federal grants can be found in the Grants.gov database. Because of the large number of grants listed on these websites, the more specific you are in your search terms, the easier it will be to find the proper grants for nonprofits.
Nonfederal grant programs are also available from many state and local governments, corporations, community organizations, and private foundations. You can also find these types of grants listed on Grants.gov and in Candid.org’s Foundation Directory Online (FDO).
Grants for Nonprofits Applications
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to the specific grants you want to apply for, you should next check your eligibility. It’s a colossal waste of time and money for both the applicant and the grantor if you aren’t eligible for a grant, so make sure you check the requirements first. Every grant application comes with a complete description of legal eligibility requirements, so read the instructions carefully.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, your next step is to register your nonprofit with the database system (Sam.gov, Grants.gov, etc.). You’ll then be assigned a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which is required to do business with the government. You may also be asked for a “DUNS UEI,” which is a nine-digit Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number supplied by Dun and Bradstreet.
Although applications for grants for nonprofits vary by project, most follow a general format. They generally ask for information about your nonprofit organization, your mission statement, the names, and backgrounds of members of your board of directors, data about your objectives, your budget requirements, and a complete description of how the grant funds will be used. If there’s missing or incorrect information, your application won’t make the first round. Grant writing is a time-intensive task you may want to outsource to experts with years of grant-writing experience.
Once your application has been accepted, it’s a waiting game while the grantors review, award, and notify applicants of the results.
Examples of Grants for Nonprofits
If you’re looking for grants with a specific purpose in mind, you’ll find those are available, as well. Here are a few types of grants for nonprofits:
- Operating Grants for Nonprofits: These are general support grants to fund the objectives of the nonprofit organization instead of a specific project. The money is used as working capital to maintain daily operations.
- Grants to Purchase Land for Nonprofits: Nonprofits use land grants to acquire land and buildings to provide housing or establish economic development projects.
- Capacity Building Grants for Nonprofits: Building grants for nonprofits recognize that nonprofit organizations need funding to create management systems to operate efficiently and effectively.
- Technology Grants for Nonprofits: Technology grants can be for backend operational improvements within the nonprofit organization or can be granted to complete a technology-based project.
The Backup Plan: A Temporary Loan for Nonprofits
Although some grants for nonprofits can help a nonprofit improve its management systems or provide new computers to run the organization more efficiently, the reality is grants are one-time infusions of capital that can’t sustain the business for the long term. That’s why Financing Solutions created its Nonprofit Line of Credit Program which is a form of a temporary loan that nonprofits can use when cash flow is temporarily down.
Financing Solutions is one of the only alternative lenders that works with nonprofits. We started the company in 2012 knowing we wanted to cater to specific industries, and we carved out our niche, providing nonprofits with a much-needed small business line of credit. Financing Solutions is now the leading provider of lines of credit to smaller nonprofits throughout the United States.
A nonprofit line of credit is a fixed amount of money that a nonprofit organization can access for payroll, rent, or other essential expenses incurred by running a nonprofit. It’s an inexpensive financial backup plan to help nonprofits when cash flow is low. Cash flow at a nonprofit is often temporarily delayed when funding reimbursement is late or during a seasonal slowdown.
Financing Solutions specifically designed its line of credit program as a backup to grants for nonprofits. In addition:
- We have an excellent reputation—A+ rated by the BBB with 5-star-rated reviews
- No collateral or personal guarantees are required
- There’s no cost to set up the small business credit line and no cost when the credit line is not being used
- It’s easy to set up the credit line with a no-obligation 2-minute online application
- It features an online customer web portal to request funds, track payments, schedule payoff
- The credit line can be paid off in days, weeks, or months—whenever you like
- Even when funds are drawn, the small business credit line is inexpensive
- There’s no obligation to use the small business line of credit
- The business line of credit stays in place for 12 months and is easily renewed
- Simple documents are required to set up a business line of credit like IRS Form 990 and the nonprofit’s bank statements
Financing Solutions Working Capital Line of Credit For Nonprofits
Financing Solutions is the leading provider of lines of credit for nonprofits. The requirements are simple, and the line of credit is easy to get. Your nonprofit must have at least $100,000 in yearly revenue to qualify for these business lines of credit. Additionally, a board member or board officer must have at least a 650 personal credit score. As with all our business lines of credit, personal guarantees are never needed, and no collateral is required.
The nonprofit line of credit costs nothing to set up. And there’s no cost if the line of credit is not being used, making it an excellent backup plan to getting grants for your nonprofit. Plus, there aren’t any restrictions on how your nonprofit can use the line of credit. Most nonprofits draw on their line of credit while waiting for reimbursements or when funding payroll is due. As a nonprofit, you have various cash flow and working capital needs, and having a ready line of credit is a smart and cost-efficient financing option.
Unlike a traditional long-term loan, your nonprofit incurs no penalties for early repayment. You can pay back the money as soon as your government or other grants or donations come in—it’s your best option for short-term nonprofit financing.
We also make it easy to get your line of credit quote in record time. You just need to fill out the online application (it takes a mere two minutes), and we will send you a no-obligation offer for you to discuss with your nonprofit board. You are assigned a Relationship Manager from Financing Solutions who will go over the quote with you. If you decide you want to move forward, you’ll need to provide four months of bank statements, your most recent IRS Form 990, and a few other straightforward documents.
We are proud to say Financing Solutions is an A+ BBB and 5-star-rated direct lender and count hundreds of nonprofits among our top clients.
Therefore, in addition to searching for grants for nonprofits, make sure you explore all your options. An essential first step is to really identify your business’s unique financial needs. You should know your immediate needs and forecasted needs, so you can find a financing solution that really works for you. Financing Solutions can work with you to meet these needs and provide the option that works best for your business.
If you want the right source for 501c3 financing, look no further than Financing Solutions.