Steps to grant success: a series

There are more than a few ways to improve your agency’s or non-profit’s grant success. Today I am going to address a few of the first few ways to “scrub” a funder prospect to determine if they are worth pursuing. There’s no sense wasting your time applying if you don’t meet these basic requirements!

STEP ONE: Assess mission match
Mission match is:

  1. Philosophical – ask yourself: do you share the same “philosophy” in terms of constituents served and needs addressed, AND ALSO do you share how you accomplish your goals? Is it through education of service providers, research, direct services, scholarships, seeding new program, or continuation and building of existing programs? [This list is not comprehensive.]
  2. Aligned award size average – there are large — HUGE — foundations (The Ford Foundation comes to mind) that award in excess of $1,000,000 to a non-profit. While this may sound awesome, if you’re needing $10,000 or $20,000, you should not bother with these huge foundations. Look at your prospect’s average gift size and see if your ask is in line with their awards. Remember also that most funders frown on being asked for 100% of a program’s costs.
  3. Geographic – there are exceptions, but if their focus is on Tuscarawas County and you serve Utah or one of the Mid-Atlantic States, then you are likely not a good match for this funder.

How do you find out about their philosophy, average gift size, or geographic focus? Here are some places to look:

The next installment of this series will discuss 990’s and the goldmine they can unearth. Stay tuned!

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