Thoroughly Research Grant Opportunities to Increase Your Benefits



If you find that grant funds are highly competitive, insufficient to meet your needs, pay on an irregular basis, and subject you to sometimes unreasonable reporting requirements, Nolo of Berkeley, California, offers free articles and templates to help individuals, nonprofits, and corporations summarize and prioritize their needs, research grants, evaluate grant funds and their sources, and apply for grant funds. By downloading Nolo's free online grant evaluation kit, you can begin researching grants in your local community foundation library or online at the Grantsmanship Center or the Foundation Directory online.



Prioritize Your Needs



Before you begin comparing foundations, create a critical needs assessment. Describe the population you serve in detail and your greater goals. Explain what you hope to accomplish and determine the minimum amount of money required to reach your objectives. Detail your geographic area, restrictions on the use of your funds, and the amount of matching funds required to satisfy the terms of the grant. Your grant proposal must be executable.



Community Foundation



Our Community Foundation “connects people who care with causes that matter to improve … the community where we live.” One Community Foundation awards $9 million dollars in grant funds annually. It offers you opportunities for growth through free or low-cost events, training, and resources. They offer you opportunities to collaborate with donors.



Optimize Your Grant Opportunities



For each opportunity, create a fact sheet and update it as you consult or work with each donor or organization. List the:



• Name of the organization and the specific fund
• Name, address, and mission of the organization
• Board members and staff contact



Complete several fact sheets, attach grant guidelines to them, and compare the opportunities they represent. Eliminate the least favorable sources, and keep your fact sheets current with important dates and information.



Eligibility



You must take the time to determine whether you are directly applicable for the opportunity. You waste your time if you write grant applications to organizations that have no interest in most of your mission. If you can, look at the grant applications for previous years and compare funds awarded. Compare the offerings of corporations in your geographic area. Did the grantor fund only a small portion of the application changing the direction of recipient's project?



Mutually Beneficial



Foundations, corporations, and donors work with innovative nonprofits, churches, or individuals that accomplish their missions. Gannet Foundation hopes to help communities thrive by awarding funds to advance journalism and to cover the operating budget of community building organizations and their projects. What is to be gained by applying to the specific fund or foundation? Does winning a mini-grant open the door to future stakeholders, lead to larger grants, or simply meet a one-time need for technical equipment? Federal Express grants its expertise and funds to small businesses to help them grow, improve, and market their products.



Questions to Ask Yourself



Does the initial grant lead to additional funds, or are you prohibited from applying in subsequent grant cycles? How much money does the foundation tend to grant to individuals or nonprofits? Is a query letter required, or do you begin with your initial application? When do the directors meet? When will the winners be announced?



Local Corporations



Walmart opens with their millions of employees are your neighbors and friends, and Walmart strengthens communities through corporate giving. In 2019, Walmart awarded $42 million in $250 to $5,000 grants to local animal rescues, senior services, and neighborhood improvement projects in the United States. Walmart's collected $75 million to stock Feeding America food banks and projects since 2014. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit corporation that builds decent affordable housing through financial and in-kind contributions. Habitat for Humanity works with nonprofit organizations and volunteers throughout the United States.



Application Process



Read the organization website to learn about working with the foundation. Your application must meet the organization's application guideline to be considered. An advance query letter will tell you if the foundation is interested in your intended project. While the evaluation portion of the grant application may be worth less points in the total application process, no organization grants funds for projects that are not measureable and executable. The evaluation section of your application shows the grantor that you thoroughly understand your proposed project and know exactly how you will measure your success.



Which grants benefit you, or your organization, the most?



Grants that benefit you the most are grants that offer the greatest return on your investment of time and money. Grants that benefit you the most offer you an opportunity to develop working relationships with your actual stakeholders who genuinely care about your goals and objectives. You hope to work with stakeholders who value your work.






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