There is grant money available for nonprofits of all kinds, but you have to do some homework before you start applying for the grants. Tomorrow we’re hosting a FREE webinar featuring grant writing consultant Betsy Baker and she is here today to share some tips to get your nonprofit “grant ready.” ~Kivi
Guest Post by Betsy Baker of Your Grant Authority.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all we had to do was dash off a quick note to grant funders very politely asking them for their money, thank them profusely when the check comes in and then move on to the next “target?” Well, of course, but that’s just now how it works.
There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that nonprofits must do before even thinking of applying for grants. As a matter of fact, it makes sense for organizations to get a few very important points clear before asking for money at all – whether that’s through a grant application or not.
Anyone that’s asked to financially support a cause or mission should have a peace of mind about the soundness of their investment. They should, without a shadow of a doubt, feel comfortable in the fact that the organization doing the asking has done everything in its power to ensure fiscal responsibility, social responsibility and personal responsibility.
But exactly how can you assure potential donors and grant funders that an investment in you is a good decision? Getting clear on these points will provide a very good foundation in every ask you make:
Get clear on why your services are needed in your community. Go back to the beginning – why was your nonprofit formed to begin with? Was there a certain need or problem that your organization was created to help address? Provide concrete data to funders that proves your nonprofit’s services are needed. Data can include your organization’s own tracking system of clients you serve, county or community reports, quotations from respected authority figures and other relevant data. Gather plenty of evidence to prove that your need exists. The most important question to be able to answer about your organization is this: What would happen if we ceased to exist?
Get clear on the clients you exist to serve. You can’t be all things to all people. Your organization was created to specifically serve a group of people (or animals, or tracts of land, or wildlife, or water sources) whose needs weren’t being met elsewhere. Be able to get specific about your target population– who they are or what they are, where they are and how their need relates to your organization’s mission.
Get clear on your benefits to the community. Learn to think about what you offer to your community in terms of benefits rather than features. For example, a benefit that you offer to the community isn’t that you provide health screenings. The health screening is simply a service. The benefit that you’re providing through the screening could be that you’re reducing the risk of death due to skin cancer. See the difference? Unfortunately, most organizations state their benefits in features instead of benefits.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to doing what it takes to get your organization ready for an ask which is why you’ll want to join me for my f.r.e.e. webinar with Kivi Leroux Miller tomorrow, June 6th. You can still register here. I’ll be covering much more in-depth what I’ve discussed here along with a few other very important points. You don’t want to miss it.
Also, if you’re looking a little sad in the grant funding department, why not sign up for my free weekly newsletter? I would love to give you step-by-step instruction to help you win grants. Each week I share the exact same methods I use that have helped my clients win more than $10 million in grant money. I also have a little bonus gift for you when you sign up.
Betsy Baker is President of YourGrantAuthority.com. She has a Master’s in Public Administration from Auburn University and is an author, trainer/coach, public speaker and grant writing consultant raising $10 million in grant funding. She is dedicated to demystifying the grant writing process and encouraging fund raisers to write winning grant applications. She also coaches fellow grant writers in becoming grant writing consultants and has recently launched Coach with Betsy, a program dedicated to training nonprofit consultants.