When looking for a grant, you're faced with a staggering number of choices. More than 80,000 private foundations exist in the United States, and there are many additional government sources of grant funds, too.How to cut through this embarrassment of riches? Vetting will help. Although it can be time‐consuming, thoroughly examining potential grant sources to see which provide the best chances for success will save you time and boost your success rate in the long run, advises Lydia S. Howie, CEO of Howie Marketing and Consulting (Somers, NY).“The vetting process is very, very time‐consuming, but it is very important,” she says. “Your success rate will go up greatly if you really, really hone in and really target the right organizations. Just sending cold‐call grant applications is a waste of time.”Here's Howie's formula for success:Conduct an online search at the Foundation Center. Its premium searches can be expensive, but they are available free at many subscribing libraries across the country (www.foundationcenter.org/about‐us/locations). Use the Foundation Center's advanced search tools to find funders that are the closest fits for your nonprofit, looking at factors like subject area, target population, location and size and type of support offered.When you have found potentially good fits, look at their websites and their IRS Form 990s. You can find the latter for free at the Foundation Center and at websites like GuideStar.org. “A foundation's 990 is the single most useful tool when it comes to vetting for the right fit,” Howie says. “Seeing who they have funded is probably the number‐one way to vet.” If a foundation has funded a nonprofit in your region that has a similar mission, it will likely be a good target, she says.Examine each potential funder's website “cover to cover” to review its mission, geographic preferences, strategic plans or annual reports, list of recent awards and restrictions on grants. Look over its board list to see if you know anyone.Often, a website and 990 will provide enough information. When in doubt, call the foundation. Although building a relationship is less important when seeking grants than when making a major gift ask with an individual, calling a foundation can help answer any questions you have and potentially build rapport, too.Source: Lydia S. Howie, CEO and Grant Writing and Marketing Communications Consultant, Howie Marketing and Consulting, Somers, NY. Phone (914) 248‐1112. E‐mail: LHowie@optonline.net. Website: www.HowieMarketing.com
Successful Fundraising – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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