Author Archives: pinkdogdigital

How to Make the Most of Your Donor Prospect Research
How to Make the Most of Your Donor Prospect Research

Donor prospect research is no easy task, and takes a lot of time and effort. Selecting the right donor(s) are important, as their contributions are a direct reflection of your organization’s mission and goals. Prospect research is a great opportunity to learn more about potential or existing donors’ personal backgrounds, history of giving, indicators of wealth, their philanthropic motivations, and so on. You’re able to get a better gauge on a donor’s ability to give, and if they align with your nonprofits objectives and values. 

What is the best way to find prospects?

There are three main ways you can conduct your prospect research:

  • DIY. If you feel like you can find the right prospects using your own search methods, then go for it! This method won’t cost you any money, although it is a long and tedious process. Especially if you’re a one man show or doing research with a small team, there’s only so much information you can sift through between all the social networks and government and private databases. 
  • Use a consultant (hint hint, us)! Consultants have the knowledge and resources to find you the best prospects. They can also help train your staff on prospect research, develop research strategies, and build relationships in prospect relations.
  • Hire a prospecting company. If you’re looking to be almost completely hands off, then hiring a prospecting company is the way to go. They’ll be able to handle everything from start to finish, so you have more time to focus on other tasks. 

How do you know which prospects to screen? 

Each prospect will be unique in its appeal to you. But the first factor to consider is how large their past donations have been, as it’s a good indicator for what they could donate in the future. If the donation amounts don’t seem to align with your organization, give it a pass. Also, look to see if there are any personal or business contacts at the organization you can reach out to. A little networking never hurts anyone, and it’s a great way to start building a relationship with your prospects. You’ll also want to look out for consistency. How often is the organization donating? Is the amount they give consistent based on the nonprofits size? 

How do you utilize the research? 

Once you have the research, there are a few steps you want to take in ensuring you’re utilizing it properly. 

  1. Create an organized, centralized place for your research. Whether it’s Google Docs, spreadsheets, a project management app, etc, make sure you’re conducting research in a way that is organized and easy to reference. 
  2. Dissect the research. What factors are most important for your nonprofit when considering donors? Maybe it’s the amount they’re willing to donate, or their organization’s mission statement and values. 
  3. Make a plan to reach out. Once you have a prospects data, how do you plan to reach out? What does your timeline look like, and what methods of communication might work best for each donor?

Does your nonprofit need help with donor prospect research? RBW Strategy has you covered! Using a proven approach for success, we can help by performing detailed research to determine potential foundation, government and/or corporate funding prospects. Visit our services page to learn more!

multi-channel fundraising
Nonprofits can no longer rely on one or two channels to generate revenue. Your audience is in more than one place, so you need to be too! In this day and age, it’s hard to get your message in front of (and heard by) donors and supporters. We live in a constant media whirlwind, and our messages have a tendency to get lost if we don’t position them correctly. But with more media outlets than ever before, we have endless opportunities to experiment and optimize with our marketing efforts. Queue, multi-channel fundraising! 

multi-channel fundraising

What is multi-channel fundraising? 

Multi-channel fundraising is exactly how it sounds — spreading your message across multiple channels and utilizing tactics that will reach your ideal audience, at the optimal time. We live in a time where we’re fortunate to have so many avenues of communication; from direct mail, email, social media, phone, etc. 

It’s important to note that while you should utilize a variety of channels to get your message across, this doesn’t mean you should blast it. Messages should be strategic and cohesive across all channels, and tailored to each specific outlet. 

So, how do you make the most of your multi-channel fundraising efforts? The following tips will help set you up for success, and execute your multi-channel fundraising efforts efficiently. 

Step #1: Establish your fundraising goals. 

Before you get started on the leg work, make sure you have a clear goal and vision for your campaign. Set realistic expectations for your target number, and create milestones to help you get there. In addition, know how much you can realistically expect from each channel. For example, if you are experimenting with social media fundraising for the first time, it’s important to know that only 0.7% of organizations raise more than $100,000 through that channel. Be very conservative when you should, and risky when you can.

Step #2: Develop your campaign goals and messaging. 

It’s important to note that your campaign goals are different than your fundraising goals. Campaign goals are what you’re looking to accomplish through your fundraising efforts. So for example, you might ask yourself, “What will we achieve by raising $100k for my local foundation?” Putting X and Y numbers out on the table will help keep you on track to achieve your goals, just like any other campaign. 

Step #3: Define your messaging. 

Messaging should be optimized for each channel, as each channel has a different premise for how it’s used. Think about the different social media channels as an example. Instagram is used as more of a visual space, where Twitter is designed to be straightforward and concise. Think about the way messaging is different on each platform, and use that to your advantage. Regardless of the channel, make sure you’re telling a story that is captivating, and explain how their donation will benefit the organization, the program, and those sered. Donors should be able to see what tangible impact they’re making, and will be more likely to donate if it’s clear. 

Step #4: Identify where your donors are. 

Think about where you’re most likely to capture a donor’s attention. Depending on the industry and demographics/psychographics of your donors, some channels may be more beneficial than others. For example if you’re looking to capture donations from an older generation, you might benefit from email more than social media. If you’re looking to capture donations from a younger generation, social media might be a good route. 

Step #5: Create a timeline. 

A calendar is the key to project management! Creating dates for milestone completions is a great way to help keep your multi-channel fundraising efforts on track. Make sure you include time for drafting, editing, and executing your messages, and include enough flexibility for when inevitably, speed bumps will occur. 

Need help overseeing your multi-channel fundraising efforts? Project management is one of our specialties here at RBW Strategy! We’ll take the reigns and ensure your project is completed on time, within budget, and in the most stress-free way possible. Visit our services page to learn more!

donors
Donors are an essential part of your operations, and they deserve meaningful thank yous. While all nonprofits know the importance of saying thank you, we often neglect adding personalization. And unfortunately, our thank you’s tend to be a one and done deal. Relationship building is crucial in the nonprofit world, and it’s time we start doing more than the bare minimum! There are so many fun and creative ways to show donors your appreciation. If you’re running out of ideas, here are a few options to explore. 

donors

  1. Send food from a local bakery or restaurant

    Think about some of the best gifts you’ve ever received. Chances are, they were the ones where a lot of thought was put into it. Do some research to see if you can find a local bakery or restaurant near the donor’s headquarters — one only the locals would know about. Or alternatively, send them some goodies from a local restaurant or bakery near your nonprofit headquarters. One thing to be weary of with this tactic is allergies, so make sure you take note of any dietary restrictions before ordering.

  2. Record a video message

    Nonprofit teams are typically crunched for time, which means it’s all too easy to resort to a simple thank you email. If you really want to stand out, go for a video message! There are tons of formats you can experiment with. Maybe you can showcase a way their donation is being used, or do a compilation video of everyone at the company saying thank you. They’ll also be able to use it in their marketing efforts — a big bonus! 

  3. Send greeting cards (but go the extra mile)

    If you’re going to send a thank you card, don’t leave it generic! Make sure it’s handwritten, addresses specific people, and discusses how the donation has improved your funding efforts. Instead of sending a one off card, we recommend celebrating continuous milestones. So for example, make a note on the calendar of the day you received the donation, and send them a greeting card on an annual basis. You could also keep tabs on personal milestones and send thank you cards for those — like if the donor was recently married or had a child. 

  4. Incorporate the donor into your marketing efforts

    Make sure you’re showcasing the donor on social media, email newsletters, annual reports, etc. This also helps build up your nonprofits marketing efforts, and facilitates continuous conversations online. We’ve seen a lot of nonprofits do donor spotlight blogs, webinars, and other interactive content as well. 

  5. Send some swag

    Everybody likes free stuff right? Consider sending the donor some customized company items that you have on hand, like a tshirt, coffee mug, or bottle opener. Encourage them to share pictures utilizing the swag and tag on social media. 

  6. Visit them in person, or offer them a tour at your headquarters

    Unfortunately, the pandemic makes this one a bit tricky right now. When operations resume in the future, consider inviting the donors to take a tour of your headquarters, or make a point to visit them in person if you’re near their headquarters. Even a special Zoom call could make someone’s day.

 

What ideas do you have for thanking and engaging your donors? We’d love to hear from you! And if you’re looking for funding help, we’ve got you covered. RBW Strategy specializes in services like prospect research, grant writing, grant review, and more. Contact us to learn more today.

diversity and inclusion
diversity and inclusion

In response to the prevalent racial injustice matters going on worldwide, many organizations have taken proactive measures to update their diversity and inclusion policies. In an effort to provide relevance and credibility, many organizations have released these initiatives quickly — but are not considering some key issues. 

Topics of diversity and inclusion are complicated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy for leaders at an organization to make assumptions about the root cause of their employees’ problems, rather than putting in the effort to conduct proper research. The last thing you want to do is make false promises or provide surface level statements that cannot be backed up with specific actions. 

The success of diversity and inclusion programs will come to do the work of upper management (and we don’t just mean HR). Successful programs like these should be backed by measurable goals and targets, and consistently re-evaluated and adjusted by the leadership team. 

We’ve taken some time to evaluate diversity and inclusion policies of nonprofit organizations and found a few common areas that can be improved. 

  1. A lack of data collection.

    As we stated above, it’s easy for leaders to make assumptions on the root causes of employee dissatisfaction, rather than taking actionable steps to gather employee feedback. We highly recommend sending out employee satisfaction surveys on at least a 6-month basis. In fact, A UK report shows that evidence-based hiring practices are the most effective approaches to better results in diversity and inclusion initiatives. Having anonymous surveys will allow employees to open up more and admit their concerns more candidly. As the saying goes: numbers don’t lie! Employee satisfaction surveys are the most fair and credible ways of gathering employee feedback.

  2. Bias in the hiring process.

    In some cases, there seems to be a disconnect in the “quick fixes” an organization releases and their hiring process. For example, an organization may send out a list of diversity and inclusion resource groups, training courses, etc to their employees, but avoid those practices in the hiring process. It has to come from the top down! The best way to leave personal bias out of the hiring process is to ensure that hiring personnel don’t get to irrelevant personal details, like age, gender, ethnicity, and so on. 

  1. Using the “cop out” method when hiring leadership.

    It seems logical to hire a person of color into a leadership position to help address diversity and inclusion issues. But despite the beliefs of some organizations, that’s not enough. The leadership team as a whole should be diverse, not just one person. True diversity comes from having a unique set of backgrounds, and that can’t fall onto one person. It’s important that diversity is a part of the talent pipeline throughout the company, not a one time deal. And that process will require careful and thorough change in the talent acquisition system.

  2. Diversity and inclusion are important — but don’t oversell it.

    The last thing you want to do is set overly ambitious targets without a real plan in place. Internal targets your organization creates should involve managers, executives, employees, and other stakeholders so that the initiatives are owned, not thrown upon them. 

What steps has your organization taken to ensure diversity and inclusion policies are implemented properly? Leave us a comment below! 

If you’re a nonprofit applying for grants and need help conveying your organizations diversity and inclusion policies, we can help! Visit our services page for more information. 

crisis management
As fundraising consultants at RBW, we can safely say there’s never been anything like COVID-19. We’ve helped our clients with crisis management over the years, but nothing can compare you for a situation as drastic as a pandemic.crisis managementSince the outbreak began, we’ve been working with clients to help them transition into this new reality, while simultaneously trying to maintain fundraising momentum. Some organizations are going through a survival crisis, while others are working to raise additional funds needed to match the increase in demand for their services.

At RBW, we’re using a combination of past crisis management experience and creativity to help organizations navigate through these troubling times. Below are some important lessons we’ve learned during COVID-19.

  1. Communicate regularly. This is the perfect time to create effective donor communication strategies and reach out to donors who have given to you this year. Say thanks for their support,and inform them about what your organization is doing during this time. Make sure you’re utilizing a variety of channels, including email, letters, virtual webcam meetings, etc. You also want to make sure your direct donors know how to get to your online giving emergency fund, and your supporters should be aware of the COVID-19 stimulus package if they aren’t already. And when it comes to your staff, consider creating employee rallies, checking in with them regularly, and holding regular board meetings to keep them informed and engaged in fundraising efforts.
  2. Follow the plan. You can’t plan for everything, and saying things are uncertain right now is a bit of an understatement. But having scenarios identified and creating actionable steps in the event of a crisis can help a ton. Even though the world is changing rapidly, don’t feel like you need to update your crisis plan every 5 seconds. As long as you have a general outline for how to handle crises, you’ll be ok! At the end of the day, those who plan ahead will be ahead of the curve when this crisis is over.
  3. Good leadership is critical. Troubling times like these require top-down direction from leadership. It’s important that leaders are able to act quickly and decisively, and have a good handle on short term and long-term plans. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hard choices to make right now, and leaders need to be confident in their decisions. During this time, leaders should be evaluating revenue streams, bottom lines, minimizing cost, and maximizing effort where needed. Leaders should also be speaking transparently, opening up the floor for employees and donors to express their questions, concerns, and challenges.
  4. Don’t forget your mission. Particularly in times of stress, it’s important to re-establish your mission statement and values. After all, this guides your decision-making and communication processes! It’s hard to excuse your values during troubling times, but it’s not impossible. This will show donors your organization is strong enough to weather the storm.

It’s important we keep these crisis management lessons top of mind as we move forward in this unprecedented business landscape. That way when the pandemic dissipates, nonprofits are able to help people recover and sustain our communities.

If you need tips, advice, or additional resources, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our services page for more info. You can also check out the blog for other related topics.

grants lifecycle
grants lifecycle

The grants lifecycle refers to the entire process of a grant—from planning, to opportunity, to implementation, to closeout. The lifecycle of a grant has three major stages: pre-award, award, and post-award. The recipient and grantor both have unique tasks within each stage. 

Phase 1: The Pre-Award Phase 

The pre-award phase includes the grantor announcing the funding opportunity all the way through the application submission and review of grant applications. 

Here are the steps included in the pre-award phase:  

  1. The grant-making agency plans and develops a funding program based on its mission, the Administration, and congressional initiatives.
  2. The grant-making agency announces the funding opportunity and advertises it to applicant communities. They will also publish details of the funding opportunity on Grants.gov.
  3. Potential applicants will utilize Grants.gov to find funding opportunities by using the search tool. 
  4. Once an opportunity is identified, potential applicants will register with Grants.gov. and check for any additional registration requirements. 
  5. The applicant will spend a few weeks filling out the application. Note: it will take a lot of time, but you can download the PDF form and save the fields as you go. Once the application is complete, you submit it through Grants.gov.
  6. The application is then screened for compliance by the grant-making agency. If it passes, it then goes to the appropriate agency program for consideration. The applicant is notified via email if this happens.
  7. Applicants can then track the status of their application by communicating with the grant-making agency.
  8. The grant-making agency will continue to review the application. 

Phase 2: The Award Phase

The award phase is the shortest of the three phases, and starts taking place when the federal agency sends the Notice of Award (NOA) to the successful applicant and the grant becomes legally binding.

Here are the steps included in the award phase: 

  1. Once the application is reviewed, the funding agency notifies the applicants whether or not they have been awarded a grant. The agency also starts working with the award recipient to go over the legalities of the funding agreement. The funds are then dispersed. 
  2. Now the applicant will begin their project. The award recipient is responsible for meeting the administrative, financial, and programmatic reporting requirements of the award.

Phase 3: The Post Award Phase 

The final phase is the longest phase (despite fewer steps), as it includes the implementation of the grant program, along with all the reporting, audits, and closeout processes.

Here are the steps included in the post award phase:

  1. After an award has been granted, a grants management officer at the funding agency oversees the reporting compliance. This process involves reviewing reports submitted by the awardees. Representatives from the grantor agency might perform on-site visits with the project director and implementation staff. Oversight can vary based on the type of auditing done. 
  2. Award recipients submit two types of reporting to the funding agency: financial reporting and programmatic reporting. These reports are submitted regularly, and are helpful to the agency as they provide information about the overall financial status and program performance of the grant project. 

The grants lifecycle is complicated, and given the competition for funding, the process is often daunting to many nonprofits and government agencies. That’s where we come in!

RBW Strategy can help by telling you where to start with the grant seeking and writing process, how to best obtain funding, and how you can ensure you have the capacity to manage grants. Learn more about our services, or contact us via the contact form at the bottom of our website. 

For additional information on the grants lifecycle, please visit the Grants.gov page.

image including diversity equity and inclusion
image including diversity equity and inclusionAt RBW Strategy, we will forever stand behind and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has been an incredibly uneasy, confusing, yet powerful time to make a change. While times are turbulent, it is often these unsettling moments that open our eyes and kick our brains into high gear. As we support nonprofit space, it’s our focus and duty to advance social welfare by accepting responsibility for implementing effective management practices and holding each other accountable to our communities.

We believe actions speak louder than words, and the first step in those actions is acknowledging intersectionality. But how do we turn those acknowledgments into conversations? And how do those conversations become deeply rooted morals and core values that your organization lives by? Based on our work with nonprofits and their work with diverse populations and people of color, we want to reiterate some of their best practices.

  1. Know that every space is not your space. It is important for those who are privileged to understand that not every space is their space to occupy. People of color need places where they can gather and be free from the mainstream stereotypes and disempowerment that take over other societal spaces the privileged occupy. Fostering and respecting spaces for people of color, LGBTQ, and disabled people to be with others who share their identity and unique challenges, is an important responsibility if you are committed to equity. These group spaces are not segregation; they’re solidarity. In the same respect, it is important that these groups feel comfortable talking freely, transparently, and candidly with everyone in the organization.
  2. Put the right people in place to make a change. As organizations begin their journey towards greater equity, they must think carefully about leadership, and who will work best together to create positive outcomes. In organizations that are majority-white, executives will oftentimes hire a person of color to address the organization’s lack of diversity. Although this can be incredibly beneficial, it can also be daunting, as this person is tasked with changing deeply rooted norms and practices with little authority or training. Directors, CEOs, and Presidents alike should be conscious of the dynamics of oppression in the organization and be equally as committed to making change.
  3. Strip the hierarchy and make room for feedback. Most organizations are structured in some sort of hierarchy. These structures are helpful for streamlining the flow of communication and putting decision making power in the hands of those in specific roles. However, in the case of improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, new models of leadership that share structural power have proved to be a fundamental step in decision-making. In other words, collaborative leadership means including your beneficiaries in decisions that impact them. In addition, your organization should have concrete tactics for gathering and listening to all perspectives in the workplace, as people might not always be apt to come forward on their own to share their opinions.
  4. Educate yourself. Especially in the convoluted media world we live in, it’s easy to surround yourself only with those who are like-minded. In the same sense, social media tends to reinforce those viewpoints, therefore extending our bias. To counteract this way of thinking, start finding town halls and allyship trainings in your area. If you cannot find in-person trainings right now, see what you can find online. As humans, we become too prideful. We become closed off to new ways of thinking because it’s uncomfortable. Go forward with a willingness to learn, and accept that your viewpoints will be challenged.

The journey towards great diversity, equity, and inclusion is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t have a fixed end point, and obstacles will occur at every turning point. But the results are not intangible. It is incumbent on nonprofits to demonstrate a real commitment to diversity and inclusion by ensuring their board members and leadership teams reflect their local communities and the populations they serve.

 

Additional Resources:

funders
COVID-19 has forced us to think outside the box when it comes to fundraising. In a time where face-to-face interactions are unsafe, it’s essential for fundraisers to adopt new strategies for engaging donors and potential supporters. While virtual Zoom meetings or phone calls aren’t ideal, there are still plenty of ways to build and maintain relationships with your funders and donors.

In order to navigate these changes, it’s important you know your donors well, and use that understanding to help shape your approach. Here are a few steps to get you started.

Show genuine empathy. Check on your donors like you are checking in on your friends and family. Ask how they’re coping with the situation and let them know you’re here if they need anything. These small but meaningful interactions can go a long way. In a time where we’re all trying to ‘figure it out,’ you never know what ideas you might be able to brainstorm together. While we’re all trying to maintain our businesses, this is also a time to take a step back and connect with others on a human level; because we all need it.

Have leadership communicate with funders. Funders / donors want to hear a president’s or CEO’s perspective on the crisis and what their plans are for moving forward. In that respect, it’s also important to consider what channel your leaders are using to communicate, and how you’re framing your message on each of those channels. For example, email is typically used for more formal communications, while social media serves a more human to human interaction, where you can reach people quickly and take immediate action. Bottom line is, be clear and concise with your messaging, and leverage each channel effectively.

In addition to ensuring you’re maximizing your channels correctly, you may also want to create separate messages for separate groups. For example, if you have major donors or prospects that you’re looking to capture, you may want to craft a more in-depth message and ask for their thoughts or reactions. You might also consider hosting investor calls with smaller groups or donors and friends to update them on how you’re responding to the challenges at hand, and add in some reassurance about the long-term goals to come.

Highlight your expertise. A great way to stay close to your donors and prospects is to show them how their donations are helping to support COVID-19 efforts. Nonprofits often hire experts and create resources that are only possible with support from a donor. So if you can show how their donations are helping support COVID-19 efforts, you’re more likely to gain the support, respect, and action by donors.

Stay hands-on with content. It’s important during this time to keep the conversation moving in any way you can. Consider holding web conferences, hosting webinars that facilitate conversation, or asking thought-provoking questions on social media. If donors can tell you’re actively participating in the conversation and staying on top of trends doing COVID-19, your credibility will improve drastically.

We know this is a tough time and it seems like the pandemic will never end. But it won’t last forever, and we encourage you to keep the momentum going with donors by crafting clear and thoughtful plans.

Need help receiving support from donors? RBW Strategy can help! We can assist with prospect research, grant writing, grant management, and more. Find the contact us form at the bottom of our website, or visit our services page for more info.

virtual fundraising events
COVID-19 has forced local and national governments to restrict in-person events. But the show must go on! Organizations all over the world are trying to figure out how to host virtual fundraising events that are effective and engaging. If you’re struggling to pull together one of these events, you’re not alone. Even large companies like Salesforce have transitioned to virtual events. While virtual events pose its challenges, there are easy and practical ways to make sure it’s successful. Here are some tips and tricks we’ve gathered to help you make a confident step into virtual fundraising events.

Create a clear vision

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the internet is saturated with online events; which means it’s harder to stand out. Separating your organization from the rest all starts with the “why.” What is the purpose behind the event and why is it important? How does your event relate to your mission? How will it resonate with your audience? Ensuring your messaging is clear, concise, and consistent will give you a good head start to attract your audience (and hopefully inspire donors to partner with you financially)!

In addition to creating your event vision, you will need to map out a budget, timeline, measurable goals, and an event page for registrations and donations.

Do a test run

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a love/hate relationship with technology. How many times have you been on a Zoom meeting and the connection cuts out? Or you’re unable to see video or hear audio? Hosting a virtual fundraising event comes with its challenges, and it’s important to prepare for any technological mishaps that could occur. Make sure the conferencing platform works, run through all your content, and do everything exactly as you plan to on the day of the event. This will help you iron out any details, and also help your team get comfortable with the format. In addition, consider logistics like lighting, aesthetics, etc. to make the event more visually appealing.

Facilitate participation

One of the biggest challenges of virtual events is engaging the audience. We want to be talking with our audience, not at them! Don’t be afraid to get creative when planning your content for the event. Content like Q&A panels, surveys, quizzes, and polls are great ways to engage your audience during a virtual fundraising event.

Capture the data

One of the benefits of a virtual fundraising event is how much data you’re able to capture. You can see how many people attended, how long people stayed, and other data points. So make sure you are capturing the attendees’ contact info before the event starts so you can follow up if necessary! You can even send a short survey afterward to ask attendees for feedback. This information will help you improve future events and give you some intel into what content your audience is interested in.

Leverage the content

One of the many reasons we love online content is because there are endless opportunities to leverage it. That’s why we recommend recording your virtual fundraising events to use for future content. For example, you might create short, bite-sized videos from the conference and use them on your YouTube account or social channels. Or maybe you turn the key points from the event into a blog post or mini-podcast episode. Whatever the case, make sure you’re keeping these virtual events top of mind when it comes to creating a content strategy.

And there you have it! What tips do you have for creating a successful virtual fundraising event? Share with us in the comments!

RBW Strategy gives you the tools to take hold of the world around you. Consider how much more your organization could do with additional funds and increased capacity. Learn more on our services page!

first-time grant seekers
In an emergency like the COVID-19 crisis, it’s time to step up your grant efforts; not back away! History shows that foundations maintain — and increase — giving during the most difficult times. First-time grant seekers may feel intimidated during a pandemic, but with the right steps, you’ll be able to navigate your nonprofit through the storm. 

Search for emergency non-profit grants

In the last few weeks, thousands of foundations across the country have launched emergency response funding to assist organizations impacted by COVID-19. In many cases, grants are being given to organizations that are pre-selected, but this is not always the case! We recommend checking the eligibility requirements for emergency funds in your area. 

In addition to foundations implementing response funding, individuals and businesses have also contributed to emergency funds that are open to nonprofits across the nation. Contact your local community foundation or United Way to see if emergency funds are being granted. You can also check out our list of COVID-19 first-time grant seekers resources

Focus on grants your organization is more likely to win

Each foundation has specific requirements and priorities that determine who receives their grants. Make sure you read the fine print with these, as some of these guidelines might not fit with your mission or funding needs. Even if you find 15 grants that seem like a good fit, time constraints and manpower might hold you back from submitting quality proposals. If you’re struggling to determine which ones are right for you, take these few factors into consideration: 

  • The goal. Does the funder have the same mission as your organization, or can at least relate to or understand your mission?
  • The location. Does the foundation give grants to your target geographic area?
  • The history. Has the foundation previously given grants to organizations similar to yours?
  • The relationship. Is there a personal connection you can make with someone at the organization? Maybe another co-worker of yours is connected to someone at the foundation. Whatever the case, see if there’s a way you can network to give yourself a leg up.

Prepare a killer proposal

Remember, quality over quantity. What’s the point of submitting 20 proposals if they’re not all 100%? Just like resumes, the good clear, clean, and concise ones are the proposals that will stand out. A well-written proposal should be persuasive, but not pushy, and tell a good story. In your proposal, include the reason your organization’s work is important, what makes your organization unique, and how the grant will meet an urgent need. You should also include a snippet that covers how the organization’s mission relates to yours.

Expand your skill set

As COVID-19 has us cooped up inside, there is no better time to hone in on your grant proposal skills than now! We recommend taking some time each week to read philanthropy blogs, watch some webinars, and connect with others in the space. You can access a variety of training opportunities through Nonprofit Learning Lab and Foundant/GrantHub.

If you’re in need of support, we’ve got you covered! At RBW Strategy, we can help you through every stage of the grant writing process, from preparing detailed proposals, letters of inquiry, foundation and corporate applications, federal applications, and more. You can visit our services page for more info or visit us on LinkedIn. We look forward to hearing from you!