The time has come to get your nonprofit in gear for grant opportunities. We know every penny counts in your budget and extra funding can go a long way in helping you achieve your mission. But where do you start? How do you make sure your organization is prepared when the time comes to apply for grant opportunities? Follow these five steps to get your nonprofit ready for grant opportunities.
1. Review Your Mission and Goals
The first step is to review your mission and goals. What is the main purpose of your organization? What do you hope to achieve? Be as specific as possible. Once you have a clear understanding of your mission and goals, you can start to identify areas where additional funding would be beneficial to help you carry out your mission.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Who do you serve? What are their needs? When you know who your target audience is, you can start to develop programs and services that address their specific needs. These programs and services will be directly helping the target population that you have identified but it also will make it easier for funders to understand who this potential grant money will be serving.
3. Develop a Budget
Now it's time to develop a budget. It is important to identify how much money you will need to implement your nonprofit’s programs and services. This process might take some time but it will help you and your board to make realistic yearly projections on growth and funding needs. Having an established budget is a good sign to funders that your nonprofit is structurally sound.
4. Compile the Data
Every year thousands of grants are applied for and granted to nonprofits. However, there is one very important metric that funders are looking for when reviewing your applications - the impact you are making! We see so many hard-working nonprofits focused on the day-to-day efforts each year and making the people they serve a priority, but they forget to track all the progress they are making. Be sure to capture this data, it will increase your chances of the grant proposal being funded.
5. Develop a Timeline
The more you understand the financial needs of each of your programs the more impact they can make in your communities. Developing a timeline around each program’s needs can help you align your requests with the various funders giving cycles. For example, if you have an annual winter coat drive each year, you would need additional funding for those items in the fall.
6. Practice Writing
Writing your grant proposal in-house? Many Executive Directors are tasked with this responsibility even when many times writing is not their strong suit. We encourage you to dedicate time each month and practice your grant writing skills. These practice runs will get you prepared for when the real-time arrives to write your grant proposal. Learning to research the various grant guidelines, documentation needed and proposal specifics will get you acclimated with the process.
Want to learn more about our grant writing services?
Magic Lamp Consulting solely serves nonprofits with strategic consulting and grant writing services to help stabilize these important organizations that serve our communities. Connect with us today to chat about your nonprofit's organizational or funding needs.