When working to obtain foundation and corporate financial support, building a relationship with the prospective grant maker is half of the work. This is essential, especially if you are applying online, which has become standard. If you haven't created a relationship, it is likely your application won't get more than a glance during the review process, no matter how good it is.
The other half of the work is thorough research and preparation of a comprehensive, tailored proposal. It’s not enough just to have a good cause. Nonprofit status, program measurements, qualified staff and volunteers, a track record, and excellent management are all critical when approaching possible funders:
· The applying organization must be verified as a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) IRS tax-exempt status.
· Organizations should have a sound, well-planned program, competent leadership, and demonstrate an ability to show the results of your program.
· For all funded grants, a program measurement component that reports results at the end of the grant period will be required.
· Funders want to see the program budget, and data showing how your agency used the funds previously raised, and how much of the funding benefits your constituents and your critical mission in the community.
· Funders have specific philanthropic interests in mind. Do not apply if yours do not match theirs.
Remember that grant makers are seeking to fund like-minded, competent organizations that will use their money to make a difference. Research and create relationships for much success.