Tickets to the Superbowl…$800 dollars………..Pizza, Wings, Soda for the party…$100……having a foundation tell you what they look for in a grant…. Priceless.
To help grant seekers understand what foundations are looking for we approached a well known Christian foundation to ask them to share there thoughts about grant making, what they look for in a grant, why grants get rejected, and other valuable insights into the “other side”. If you’re pursuing grants, this type of information is priceless. Nothing quite like hearing first hand from a foundation about what they look for in a proposal. Here is some of the information that was shared…
This specific foundation has seven areas that they give too. Each area has its own committee that reviews the proposals.
When asked “what are some reasons why proposals do not get funded?” they replied that one main reason is organizations submitting “form letters” asking for funding. Foundations want to be approached individually and not as one of a dozen form letters that went out. It is ok to approach numerous funders for the same project but the proposal needs to be tailored and fine tuned to each foundation. A second major reason is unclear budget numbers. This foundation stated that if they can’t understand the numbers or they don’t make logical sense that will work against you in being funded. Remember these foundations receive more requests than they can fund so unclear numbers in the budgeting process only leads to confusion. Be sure things are clear and easy to understand. They want you to also be sure you have read over their criteria and are making requests that are within their grant size. In a nutshell, be professional and do your homework.
This specific foundation is willing to take a risk on small grassroots organizations. Organizations that are just starting up or are very small and who are truly sharing the love of Christ and meeting needs. When asked if they could share one thing to a group of people looking for a grant they said….be totally honest, be sure you are going to use the funds as you say you will and if something doesn’t work, tell us. This type of feedback is helpful. Also, don’t be afraid to try something new. Take a risk and branch out into some area to reach people for Christ. Be professional in your approach and strategic in your thinking. Looking to fund new, creative, innovative projects.
Commentary – as you can see from the above this is helpful information when approaching a foundation. Please remember that all foundations are different relative to what their priorities are but there are some overriding themes I believe you will see in all foundations and that is be professional and do your homework. What a shame it is to get excluded because you didn’t simply follow the guidelines. Keep it simple and easy to understand while making things as clear as possible. A good way of doing this is to write your proposal then us a test group to read it over to be sure you are clear and on target. I hope you found this information helpful…I know I did. This type of information is like the teacher who gives the students the list of questions with the answers that will be on the test. Priceless.
Note: As a courtesy to the funder we are keeping the name of the foundation anonymous so that they are not overwhelmed with hundreds of proposals. What is really important is the information the funder shared, not so much the name of the foundation.
Special Offer: For those who have ordered our “Directory of Foundations Supporting Christian Organizations” we will be sending a special Grant Alert to you next month featuring more interviews with Foundations, foundations that are looking for proposals, new funding initiatives available, and much much more!! So if you have not ordered your copy I would encourage you to do so today so that you can receive this information free of charge. Go to www.Christiangrants.com today to place your order!
Timothy M. Boling
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Issue: February 2004
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