In 1986 there were 375,000 charities in the United States. In 2002, there are now approximately 850,000 charities. With such a huge surge in the number of nonprofits and the competition growing more fierce, foundations are having to make tough decisions about who they will fund. Charities at the same time are facing cuts in funding, and many are struggling just to keep their doors open. In the midst of this turmoil it is helpful to know what grantmakers ask themselves when reviewing proposals. So I sat down with a good friend of mine who has his own foundation and asked him just that and here are his responses…
· “We want to be sure that what we are giving will truly make a difference and can be validated with outcomes. We are investing in a program seeking results to make a difference now and in the future so we need you to demonstrate that to us.”
· “Is this truly a problem with hard data that substantiates it or is this the organization’s perception that this is a problem. Too many organizations are attempting to “fix” problems where there may be no problem. If it is found to be truly a legitimate problem will this grant affect the root cause of that problem or just put a Band-Aid over it?”
· “Does the organization have the ability, knowledge and resources to truly make a difference. Do they have the resources to make a difference in the community or to address a problem in society. How is the leadership of the organization, do they have a good strong active board.”
· “Be willing to work with us, let us into the process early before the actual proposal is written. Be sure you have done your homework and built a strong case for support that is documented. Then when the actual proposal is sent in we are aware of the project. By letting us in early we may be able to match your organization up with another one that is doing the same thing.”
· “How will you sustain the program once our funding ends? We can’t fund the same project year after year so you will need to demonstrate to us that you need our funding to start the program or make it stronger but how you will sustain it after our funding stops is crucial to us.”
· “Be open and honest with us. If something isn’t working like you thought it would, tell us. We are all in this together and we want to work together to fix it.”
· “Does the organization have the reputation, experience, and credibility in the particular area they are seeking funding for to make this happen. Lots of organizations have similar ideas but the money will go to the one that has proven it has and can do it.”
· “Keep us in the loop even after you receive the funds. We don’t want to manage the grant but we do want to hear success stories and know that we have made a difference.”
We will be adding a new page to our web-site which will answer frequently asked questions many of you have had. We want this new page to be a resource for you and fellow ministry leaders to help you get the answers to foundation and grant questions you may have. Since 1999, we have worked hard to provide ministries with valuable, relevant information. Our “Directory of Foundations for Christian Organizations” has the most accurate, relevant information for ministries. The directory currently has over 80 foundations that give to Christian organizations on a national scale, all foundations listed are accepting applications at the time of publication, and all have given in the past to evangelical Christian causes. Here are two key questions you should ask yourself before ordering a directory of foundations supporting Christian organizations…
“Is it relevant?” Meaning just because they list that they have 150 foundations listed when you receive the book will you find that most are not accepting applications? Or have no history of giving to evangelical Christian causes? Or don’t give on a national scale but just to a certain area? All of this will make these foundations useless to you and will make the directory of 150 foundations dwindle down to about 10 decent ones. The key is relevance and ones that are a good match for your organization.
“What is the expertise of the people producing the directory?” Remember you get what you pay for. If the people producing the directory have little to no expertise in grant writing but more importantly no experience in foundation relations the directory will be of no value to you.
If you would like further information about Christiangrants.com or would like to order the “Directory of Foundations Supporting Christian Organizations” please go to www.Christiangrants.com. Thank you for your time and I hope you found this month’s information helpful to you.
To read past Grant Alerts or to order your copy of the “Directory of Foundations Supporting Christian Organizations” go to www.christiangrants.com.
Timothy M. Boling
Issue: July 2003
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