Grants are a fair amount of work. You don't want to spend hours and hours writing a grant that won't be considered. Here are three things that are essential in being considered for a grant award and hiring us for grant writing .
(a) do you have a 501(c)3
(b) have you had the 501(c)3 for at least four years?
(c) is your income more than $100,000?
All grants need a lot of consideration by your nonprofit. Too many times nonprofits will chase the money, not knowing the full breath of the grant and invariably hurting their chances for future grants.
Does the grant fall squarely within your mission? What is the reporting like? Do you know all the terms? Grants are more than money, they are responsibilities to who you serve.
The staff at the Nonprofit Marketplace are ardent researchers and seekers of grants! We have familiarity with the foundations, timing, and limitations to maximize the grant writing process for you.
The process of applying for grants is long and grant writing is often based on the size of the award. A $1,000,000 federal grant will take a lot more time than a $10,000 corporate grant, in most cases. Here is the thing you need to know upfront: you are going to have to trust the grant writer and give the tools they need to succeed for you. By "tools", foundations ask for information to be uploaded to them such as the most recent audit, your current budget, the project budget, a list of board members, last three sets of minutes from board meetings, your 501(c)3... there's a lot required and that you will need ready.
Grants are not instantaneous. Before you qualify to apply, many grantors require a letter of interest or LOI. Many grantors accept applications for up to a year. Then their boards meet four months later to decide, then a month later you get the award/denial letter. All applying organizations need to realize that grants are a slow and intentional process. If your organization needs a kitchen to feed the hungry, know that you probably won's start on the kitchen for a couple of years after you begin the grant writing process.
Grants from state and federal entities are entirely different animals. The process for receiving governmental funds involves massive research and justification for the project; often times, governmental grants are hundreds of pages long. Additionally, the reporting required will take hours of your time with elite accuracy. This is not said to talk you out of a governmental grants, often times that are exceptionally large, but you will need the infrastructure to fulfill the terms and as previously mentioned, grant writing is a long process.
The Nonprofit Marketplace sees grants as a bonus to your budget and special projects. They should never be the major source of your income. Grantors might reduce the amounts they give annually. They might have a down year from their funders, or they might just change their direction for giving. Heck, your grant writing specialist might have written the best grant in the world and you don't get selected because judging is subjective. Do not RELY on grant monies in your budget. Use grants as compliments to your budget.
The Nonprofit Marketplace recently worked with a client that had no grasp about how grants work. If this was in a court, my own client would be a "hostile witness". Why? Because foundations ask for a lot of stuff, personal stuff about your business (actual itemized budget, your 501(c)3, articles of incorporation) and my hostile witness didn't want to give any of it up. Know that if you plan to have successful grant application, as the grantee, you will have to give up some of your personal info.