I understand. Good business practice says that your organization needs to diversify your revenue. Having multiple streams of revenue strengthens your organization and makes it more sustainable in the long run. But, finding new funding streams can be challenging. So you’ve been tasked with the challenge of finding grant funding.
Knowing when and if your nonprofit is to begin seeking grant funding is the first step. The previous blog: Grantfunding: Expectations vs. Reality, will help you determine if you’re ready to take the plunge.
But what are the next steps? Where can you start looking for a grantmaker? How do you find an RFP for which your nonprofit qualifies?
Wonder no longer, and check out the resources below to begin your search. Here are three places to help you find grant funding. And, if that thought makes you concerned because you are confused as to where to begin, then you’re in the right place.
The first place to look for grants is within your organization’s current network of community partners. Does your organization already have a relationship with any foundations or potential funders?
If the answer is yes, then it is time to connect with them! Since you have already developed a relationship, your organization should be aware of their values, funding priorities, funding timeline, the way in which they select their grantees, and their fiscal capacity for awards. If you’re unaware of these answers, they are important to obtain.
If your organization has no relationships with potential funders, it’s never too late to start developing those community partnerships! Go to networking events, get to know leaders of local foundations and companies, and get your organization’s name out there.
**Best Practice: be cognizant of which events are a good place to have a conversation about your organization and which are not. You don’t want to create a bad reputation for your organization by taking the focus off the organization throwing the event. Poaching for new donors or funders at another organization’s event is never appreciated!
For example, an annual gala for another organization is a great time to buy a table and support others in your community, meet new people and show your face. However, it is a terrible time to have a conversation about your organization, or its need. Think about how your organization might feel if this happened at an event it had hosted. Even if asked directly about your organization by a potential funder, it is extremely rude to ignore the hosting organization. Instead, take this time to pass over a business card to have the conversation at a different time.
National Grant Database
If you’re not having any luck connecting with or finding local grantmakers who’s funding priorities align with your project, you can always check out the different National Grant Databases.
To get you started, here are a few different databases. This is not a comprehensive list, but rather just a place to get you started.
Also, I’m not going to go into full details now, but each database has its merits and limitations.
- Grants.gov – this database houses all federal government grants. These federal grants divide into three different categories: Categorical grants (Project or Formula), Block Grants, and Earmark Grants.
- Foundation Center
- Grant Station
- Foundation Search
- Grant Forward
- Grant Gopher
Other Places to Find Grantmakers
What if you’ve tapped out your previously existing partnerships and are not having luck finding RFP’s? What if you’re a new organization that doesn’t have strong current partnerships? Where else can you look for information on local grantmakers?
While this may not be an immediate solution to finding the perfect grant RFP, this research can guide you through the current nonprofit landscape. And, it can help your organization find others with whom you may want to collaborate or build partnerships. To find those relevant to your state, be sure to check out the links.
Another great option is to use Guidestar. First, if you search for your organization’s state or city and then search “Foundation.” This is more of a grassroots, guerrilla tactic. It may not be the most efficient but the database can help you to gain a solid understanding of the larger foundations in your area and could shed some light on the smaller foundations.
Mia is a committed, cause-driven consultant who partners with nonprofits to grow their impact, achieve their mission, and actualize their vision. She believes in the power of nonprofits and their ability to solve the most challenging problems if they have the right resources.