Tips for First-Time Grant Seekers During the Pandemic
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!