I was recently asked to help a nonprofit organization that was located in an affluent city and that was continually rejected by grantors when it sought funding to supplement its other revenues. The organization’s staff figured that potential funders had perceived the nonprofit as being as well off as the high-median-income city in which it was situated.
How many times have you diligently researched what you assumed was a potential foundation or corporate funder only to read these words, “Unsolicited proposals not accepted”? Yes, it’s frustrating when we only have a handful of funders on our prospect research list and any one of them publishes this statement. So how can you approach grant makers that are not accepting solicitations?
Contingency fees or percentage fees are commission-based payments issued to professionals only if there is a favorable result from their work. In the case of grant writing, it means that a grant writer is paid based on a percentage of the grant awarded.
What is your organization's biggest grant funding challenge? Of the answers eCivis receives, the most common response is Finding and winning funding.
What are we to think about the availability of grant funding in and for the state of Indiana? It's a broad question best approached one grantor category at a time: foundations, state agencies, and the federal agencies each take a slightly different grant seeking strategy.
In 2010, the state of Florida received some of the most generous funding amounts of any state from the federal government in the form of direct expenditures, including grant support, as it has for quite some time. But it never seems to be enough (in spite of the many calls for cuts to federal spending coming from state politicians, including many of Florida’s). Its citizens are repeatedly told that there isn’t enough money for things like education, infrastructure, housing, and so forth.
Economic challenges and increased competition for dwindling resources is motivating many nonprofits and public agencies to take a closer look at collaboration as a means of ensuring sustainability. Organizations are increasingly leveraging resources by forming partnerships with other agencies. Funders welcome strong collaborative efforts that include joint grant seeking that will result in strengthening organizational effectiveness, expanding reach, and implementing best practices in a cost-effective manner.
In my work, I have occasionally addressed the question of what the ROI of hiring a grant writer is. I always turn the question around and ask what the cost of not hiring a grant writer would be for an organization. Money spent hiring a grant writer is not money taken away from the bottom line when you consider the return that grant writers provide in the way of grant funding. Hiring a grant writer may in fact result in significant savings over doing the work in-house.
It goes without saying that the competitive grants game has gotten fiercer—certainly at the federal level, where funding has been hit by sequestration and budget trimming. The solution, in part, is to get more competitive. But to do this, sometimes we have to take a step back and get back to basics. Practice our scales, so to speak. Make sure we're hitting all the notes.