Tag Archives: grant writing

solicitation compliant
Grant proposals are a great way to achieve the funding of your nonprofit needs. But before you submit a proposal, it’s important to read through the fine print carefully. Many states have charitable solicitation laws, which can hurt your chances of receiving a grant if not followed correctly. 

These charitable solicitation laws are often overlooked, and could get you in trouble if they aren’t abided by. In this blog, we’ll go over the fine lines of applying for grants without solicitation, and how to avoid these common mistakes. 

solicitation compliant

Are grants considered charitable solicitation? 

Yes, most states categorize foundation grants as a type of charitable solicitation. In general, you should consider applying for grants as part of your compliance strategy. There are a few states that exempt government grants, so we advise researching state and grantmaker requirements before you submit a proposal. 

If my nonprofit has an IRS determination letter, can you apply for grants anywhere? 

Many organizations are guilty of assuming that having a 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS is all it takes to fundraise without limits, which includes applying for grants. However 41 states require you to file a separate registration, where you’ll provide the determination letter and additional information regarding your leadership team, finances, other fundraising activities, etc. 

If my organization wants to apply for funding, where should we register? 

In general, you should register in whatever state your funder is located in. In fact in every state except California, you’re required to register before any sort of solicitation. With that in mind, make sure you’re planning your registrations and grant applications ahead of time, and allow yourself extra time for any fallback.  

When submitting a grant proposal, does my nonprofit need to submit proof of charitable registration? 

The short answer is yes. It might depend on who issues the grant, but it’s very likely you’ll submit an IRS determination letter as proof. Especially living in a day and age where anyone can apply in a digital world, it’s important to show proof to distinguish your application from a large stack of noncompliant applicants. It’ll show the funder that you’re credible and qualified!

Does the grant total amount affect registration? 

The only way the total would affect registration is if the amount is so big that your nonprofit can’t qualify for the exemption anymore. And even then, exemptions could take other streams of revenue into consideration, so you might have to register regardless. Make sure you’re taking all added costs into account.

What happens if my nonprofit registers but we don’t receive any grant money? 

Remember, applying for the grant does not guarantee you’ll receive it. And by registering to solicit in order to apply for the grant, your application might be turned down. So be prepared, as you may register to solicit and not get a whole lot back. It’s super important to budget out for compliance and apply for funding wisely (especially in other states). 

How does my nonprofit stay compliant? 

If you want to do the most, you can register in every state that has registration. It’s tedious, but it’s a proactive way of ensuring you’re complying without fault. Most nonprofits don’t have the budget for this, so at the very least, register in the states you do most of your fundraising. 

If you need help with your grant proposals, RBW Strategy can help! We provide a variety of services, from prospect research to overall project management. Visit our services page and contact us on LinkedIn today!

Stories are an essential part of every grant application, as they help the funder connect with your nonprofits idea, mission and overall goals. It’s the best way to set yourself apart, and there’s a much better chance your proposal will resonate with the reader. However telling your nonprofits story isn’t easy, even if you know the organization like the back of your hand. It takes organization and creativity if you want it done right. 

If you’re unsure where to start, think about your grant proposal like a novel. Every novel has five quintessential areas: a purpose, plot, characters, an audience, and great writing. So, how do you bring these to life in your grant proposal? Let’s break it down. 

Grant proposal

Step 1: The purpose.

Why does this story need to be told? And why is it important to tell it now? Every good story starts with a well thought out purpose, as it sets the baseline and guides you through the rest of your storytelling journey. You want the funder to know why your project is worth funding and what impact it’s going to have. 

Step 2: The plot.

This is what we call the “meat” of your story. When it comes to grant applications, this means incorporating any organizational information, budget details, supporting documents, etc. What can you provide that will show the funder how the problem should be addressed, what the approach will be, and the expected logical outcome. If your project isn’t well planned out and outlined, these outcomes won’t make any sense to the reader. It’s important to continually stress the steps that are in place from beginning to end, so it’s clear how their input will make a difference.

Step 3: The characters.

Every great story includes great characters. The question is, who are these characters relative to your nonprofit? It’s important to remember that the application is not about you as a writer — it’s about the project leaders and staff on your end, and those participating on the funder’s side. But more importantly, the main characters are the people and causes that your nonprofit is aiming to serve. Because at the end of the day, this is what your goal is all about — helping!

Step 4: The audience.

We hear it all the time: storytelling is about knowing your audience, and grant writing is no different. An application should only be submitted when you know that the funders objectives and mission statement is in line with your own. Storytelling helps build relationships, and you don’t want to tell a story they don’t want to hear! In the same respect, make sure you aren’t changing a story just to try and sit them. If you start feeling yourself doing that, the funder probably isn’t a good option for you anyway.

Step 5: The writing itself.

Keep in mind anyone can have a great story, but the delivery matters. To deliver your story well, the first step is allowing yourself enough time to prepare, write, and submit it. You’ll want to make sure you’ve answered every question and requirement by the funder, and have somebody else (or multiple people) proofread it before submission. If it helps, ask your proofreader to explain the project back to you. Because if they can’t understand it…neither will the funder.

And there you have it! We hope these storytelling tips will take your grant proposal to the next level and increase your chance of attracting fundraisers. Need help in your grant writing process? RBW Strategy can help! Visit our services page for more info.