Q & A’s About the Grant Application Process

This article is dedicated to all the nonprofit organizations that are a bit unclear on the details of how the grant process actually works. I've taken some time to create a quick question and answer guide to provide you with some clarity on how grant writing and the grant application process works. All answers are gathered from our professional grant writers. 

As the coordinator for GrantWriterTeam.com, I have the privilege to hear the hopes, dreams and financial needs of a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, each day. Additionally, I am in frequent contact with our knowledgeable team of dedicated grant writers who are eager to assist in the grant process. I want you to know that grant writing is not as easy as 1,2,3. 

The Only Grant-Writing Book You'll Ever NeedCan you guarantee that I will get the grant? 

NO! Absolutely not. No one is able to guarantee that you will be awarded a grant.

When you hire a grant writer from GrantWriterTeam.com, you'll be working with a professional that is trained to best articulate the needs of your nonprofit. However, that advantage does not mean they can make any guarantees regarding grant approval. Grant approval can only be confirmed by authorized representatives of the funding source.

Will I have immediate access to funds?

Whoa! After your proposal is submitted to the funding source, their committee weeds out the unqualified candidates. This process generally takes 2-3 weeks. If you do not hear anything back within a month, it may be a good sign that you are still in the running.

When you are awarded the grant, the funding source will most probably do a more careful review of your proposed budget.  They will let you know when the check will arrive and/or if there is additional paperwork required to receive the funds. How long this takes varies greatly from government agency to foundations.  We have seen less than thirty days to as long as a year.  There really is no rule of thumb, but patience is a virtue because the money is generally not immediate.

If you are looking for a snap your fingers, ASAP way to receive money for your nonprofit for urgent expenses, grant writing is not the route. 

What can I do to raise funds while waiting on a grant approval? 

To raise funds that support your nonprofit, there are a few options available. You can go to your Board, have a fundraising event or crowdfund your campaign on Uhelpfund.com.

The Uhelpfund.com platform is part of our family of grants websites with a dedicated crowdfunding mentor who is tasked with helping nonprofits launch of their crowdfunding campaigns,

Crowdfunding :  A Guide to Raising Capital on the Internet

"Seeking and applying for grants combined with crowdfunding is a great two pronged approach to obtain funding!" – Libby Hikind, Founder & CEO

About the Author: Tracy is a Coordinator for GrantWriterTeam.com.

3 Steps to Funding Your Nonprofit

So, you have a mission. You've defined a charitable cause or goal to work towards and have assembled a tight knit group of like-minded peers ready to work with you.

Great job! Now it's time to get funded.

As with all valuable things in life, nothing good comes easy. This reality certainly holds true when it comes to funding your nonprofit. However, with careful planning, hard work and research, you will discover a variety of funding options. Grants for nonprofits and crowdfunding campaigns are a few ways you can obtain funds to support your charity. Start by following these 3 steps. 

 

1. Get Organized

While grants for nonprofits vary in terms of eligibility, one requirement remains consistent: BE PAPER READY

For your nonprofit to qualify for grant funding, it is vital that you have all necessary documents properly filed and convenient to reference. Most importantly, your organization must obtain 501(c)(3) status. Before you seek funding opportunities, always reference this documentation and confirm that your 501(c)(3) status is still active. This is crucial because many grants are exclusively available to nonprofits.                                    

Organized documentation will make the entire grant seeking process more cohesive. When you hire a grant writer to find funding opportunities, your documents will also be their reference to quickly determine eligibility. Get organized to save valuable time and money for your nonprofit, allowing your team to focus on the mission of your charity instead of searching for paperwork.  

2. Get to Work                       

Establishing yourself as a 501(c)(3) is the most important step to getting funded, but the work is far from over. When applying for a grant, rest assured that your nonprofit will be in competition with other qualifying organizations. Be ready to show documentation that communicates your achievements and the positive impact your charity has made.

Hosting fundraisers, sponsoring events, volunteering and raising awareness about your cause are just a few ways your charity can establish value and earn funding opportunities.

When applying for grants for your nonprofit, be sure to provide documentation of the accomplishments your nonprofit has made as a 501(c)(3). All positive community presence is noteworthy and will help you stand out from the competition. Funding sources want to know their grants will be carried out by capable and dedicated nonprofits. Documentation that summarizes the socially responsible contributions of your charity can better your chances of grant approval.  

An article published on GrantNews.press describing your program, will establish your credibilty. Become a guest blogger to spread the word about your nonprofit 3.

Get Funded

Now that you've verified 501(c)(3) status and gathered documents to summarize your accomplishments, it's time to find funding. Set aside some time to make sure this research is done effectively. Utilize a funding resource like GrantWatch.com to find and apply for grants. GrantWatch is a highly effective and user friendly grant search with listings that include federal, state, local and foundation grants for nonprofits. For a minimal subscription, you can research the current grant listings for your nonprofit all on one website.

If you are unable to dedicate your time to the research required in finding available grants, another resource to consider would be hiring a grant writer. GrantWriterTeam.com has grant writers with years of experience available for grant composition, as well as research assistance. Streamline your funding search with a grant writer for optimal results! 

With organization, hard work and dedicated research, it's just a matter of time before you find funding for your nonprofit. Stay focused and stay positive. The GrantWatch family believes in you!

About the Author: Lianne Hikind is a Staff Writer for GrantWriterTeam.com and Affiliate Sites.

Do Small Business Grants Really Exist?

If you're a small business owner, there may be grants available to you. While many grants are only offered to nonprofits, there are funding sources who provide grants for start-ups and growing companies. These grants are a bit more scarce than those available to nonprofits, but they certainly do exist. Don't miss the opportunity to have your dream funded. Be sure to search the available grants that your small business may qualify for on MWBEzone.com

Why are grants more preferable than small business loans?

Capital is possibly the most common reason hindering SME’s from launching out. Small business owners spend months trying to acquire loans from banks often with little success and when the money finally comes, it’s becomes surprisingly difficult to keep a rein on spending all of it. –Huffington Post

To search the grant listings specifically for small business, simple go to MWBEzone.com and click on the "Small Business" category listed on the right side of the page. The page will refresh with listings for small business grants currently available. If you don't find a grant in your first search, be sure to return and search again in a few days. New grants are added to MWBEzone daily. 

small business grantsAs a Coordinator in this field, I understand the need for small businesses to receive funding. Forty percent of the grant writer jobs posted on GrantWriterTeam.com are for small business owners. This is further proof that grants for businesses and entrepreneurs are out there!

Searching for funding can be a dauting task. In addition to browsing available grants, I urge you to research different avenues to assist with the finacial burden. Crowdfunding can be a great strategy to raise funds for your small business or startup. With a crowdfunding campaign, you can raise the capital you need while building a network of emotionally invested followers.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also a helpful source for small business owners, helping business owners create, build and expand.

These are just a few of the ways to help you locate the funding for your small business. I am here to cheer you on. Do not give up! Stay encouraged and know that there is always a way.

Oh, and now that President Donald Trump's goal is "To make America great again!" economically, who knows how many new small business grants he will be releasing, Stay encouraged!

About the Author: Tracy is the Coordinator of GrantWriterTeam.com and shares the knowledge that she receives from both grant writers and business owners.

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Become a Grant Winning Organization

To be awarded grants and become a grant winning organization, you need to focus on perfecting grant seeking and grant writing skills. To do this, first learn where to look for funding and what the funding sources themselves are looking to award money for. 

You can choose to write a grant yourself or to hire a contract grant writer from GrantWriterTeam.com. The consultant from GrantWriterTeam can fully write the grant for you or direct your grant writing team on which grants might be appropriate for your fundraising needs.  

So, before you sit down to write a grant, you must first locate a funding opportunity. Meet with your associates and ask, “What local funders have provided us with funding in the past five years? How is our relationship with them? Can we approach them again?”

One of the best places to search for grants is GrantWatch.com, the affiliated grant search engine of GrantWriterTeam.com. There, you will find grants listed from federal, state, or local agencies and foundations and corporations.

You may not have considered this in the past, but networking with other grant writers may be a way to go. Comment on our Facebook posts or blog and see who joins in the fray. Reach out to successful grant writers and ask them what works. They may have advice for you, depending on the funding source. They will also provide you with pointers on how to organize and write the sections of your proposal. They may tell you to emphasize certain programming and leave out others.

A great grant writing consultant can be found at GrantWriterTeam.com. Just request a grant writer.

In addition, get the word out about your organization. Write and disseminate press releases, go to events to hand out business cards and call your congressional team members. Then, go to your city or county economic development agencies and call your governor’s office to ask about what funding is available for your organization. Sometimes, funding sources are more likely to fund a recognizable name.

It takes a lot to be a winning organization, but with some effort, you could be one too! For help with grant proposal writing, contact GrantWriterTeam.com at (561)249-4129. Through GrantWriterTeam, you could be linked to successful grant writers with knowledge, expertise, and leadership skills. 

What Belongs in Your Agency Grant Seeker Portfolio?

How lucky will you be if you are still searching for a required document on the grant deadline date? What type of information will a grant application require or will your grant writer need from you to start preparing your application?

Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWriterTeam.com (561 249-4129) recommends,

Organizations should maintain an up-to-date computer and hard copy grant seeker portfolio in a loose leaf binder with sheet protectors,  The portfolio should contain all the documents you might need to apply for a grant.  Locating and perfecting these documents is more time consuming then writing the grant, itself.

Do not wait –  Start gathering documents today. Be ready to apply for grants!

When and if you realize you are missing a document, don't put it off until later. Immediately notify your grant writer or your in-house staff to start preparing or obtaining the document. One of our grant writers will be happy to assist you in the preparation (if it is required by the funding source). Don't procrastinate!! 

Here is a list of copies of original documents you should place in your portfolio to prepare for the grant proposal application process:

  • 501c3 IRS Determination Letter
  • Incorporation Papers
  • Special Government Licenses Needed 
  • Board of Directors List
  • Organizational Chart
  • W9 Form Signed by The Executive Director
  • Current Organization Budget
  • Recent 990 Forms (For the Past 3 Years)
  • Copy of Most Recent Audited Financial Statements
  • Non-Discrimination Policy
  • Business Continuity of Operations Document or Disaster Plan
  • List and Description of Any Current Programs of The Organization 
  • Promotional Materials or Articles Previously Written About the Organization.
  • Previously Written Grants
  • Copies of Measurement Tools Like Pre/Post-Tests
  • Resumes, Biographies of Key Staff
  • Statistics, Articles, Photos, Surveys Documenting the Community Need for Your Program

With all of this information, a grant writer will be able to whisk through the grant proposal process. 

Inform your GrantWriterTeam.com grant writer of which documents you have and which documents you need assistance with compiling. Every application has different requirements. The grant writer will tell you specifically what each application requires.

You will provide your documents to the writer, on an as-needed basis (do not automatically transfer your entire file). For example, some grants may require a copy of your insurance certificate. He/she will ask you for it to include in the proposal. 

Your time and that of the grant writer has value.  Don't waste it on scrambling for documents, when it could be used to prepare a compelling application.  Start preparing the portfolio today, concurrently while searching for grants on GrantWatch.com.

About the Author: This article was written by a GrantWriterTeam Staff Writer in collaboration with Libby Hikind, CEO and Founder of GrantWriterTeam.com.

Preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When completing a grant application, the name of the game is preparation. For help writing and preparing grant proposals, contact GrantWriterTeam.com where you will be linked with an experienced contract grant writer for hire. Here are some words of wisdom when preparing your grant proposal.

  1. Be sure to request all necessary information from the funding source. This may include guidelines, annual reports and other documents. You will have access to this information through GrantWatch.com’s grant details page.
  2. Stay local. If you’re a local organization, seek local funding. This is because national foundations are more likely to fund programs that can be replicated nationally.
  3. If you are applying for a grant from a local foundation, check to see if your Board is familiar with some of their trustees. Sometimes, they know each other and a single phone call, describing your need, may increase your consideration for the grant.
  4. Do not wait until the last minute to write your grant proposal. An application prepared in a hurry, looks like it was prepared last minute.
  5. Try to not send more than what the grant application requests or allows. There are some things that may put your application over the top like newspaper clippings of the success of your programs or need in your community, but don’t send what is not allowed. Exceeding page limits can disqualify your application. 
  6. If you are awarded the grant, KEEP IN TOUCH with the funding source. This will cement a relationship and future funding.
  7.  Some grant applications identify required page length, page margins and typeface. Follow the directions.
  8. Verify the required submission method (online, mail, FedEx, fax, DVD, thumb drive, etc.).
  9. If there is no application format, check if your funding source uses the “Common Grant Application.”
  10. Was there a mandatory letter of intent or mandatory attendance at a conference required?  If the dates have passed, do not apply.  

For an experienced grant writer, request a writer at GrantWriterTeam.com. He/she will create a thorough grant proposal and follow all these suggested guidelines to ensure a great impression of your nonprofit or small business.

Our grant writers are winning grants for clients every day. Become a winning organization, too!

Successful Grant Writing

Follow our 3 steps to engage in successful grant writing. Everyone wants the ability to pursue as many grants as possible and win them all! But, you must consider the value of your time and understand that there are many nonprofits, small businesses, or individuals applying for the same grants. Go to GrantWriterTeam and hire a grant writer to help you.

Steps for successful grant writing:

  1. Determine if a grant is a good match for you
  2. Research past winners of the grant, compare and contrast their needs with your own
  3. Hone your writing skills. Take a formal grant writing class. You can sign up at GWI.education and stay tuned.

First, determine if a grant is right for you. Do this by reviewing the size of the grant and eligibility criteria. If you require $10,000 for your programming but the grant is worth $50,000, don’t apply for it. On the reverse side, if you require $50,000 and the grant is for $10,000, apply for a few grants to be able to complete your project.

If a grant requires a 501(c)3 status but you don’t have it, don’t apply for it. That would be a waste of your time and the time of the funding source.

Next, go online! Research past recipients of the grant and consider their programming and goals. It is good to compare your programming with theirs. You might find a pattern in the funding source’s awarding behavior. The funding source could lean toward a method of programming or a goal. For instance, a funding source may say they provide relief to “under-funded” areas but have historically stuck to inner-cities. This would mean if you are in a rural under-funded area, you most likely will not get the grant.

Last, take a formal grant writing class. A good course will teach you some of the following:

  • Research and find grants
  • The fundamentals of a grant proposal
  • Similarities and differences of proposal formats
  • The roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board of directors and management team
  • Establishing the need for your proposal
  • Writing, editing, proofreading and completing the final proposal document
  • Preparing a budget

For upcoming courses from experienced and world-renowned grant writers, sign up for Grant Writing Institute at GWI.education.

After completing these 3 steps, you will be well-prepared for applying for grants. And if you need help, consult a grant writer at GrantWriterTeam.com. 

10 Grant Writing Pointers

Grant writing for your nonprofit; Easy peasy, right? Well, not really!

You can write the grant in-house with your staff and hire a grant writer for review or hire a grant writer to lead the project and make your ideas come to fruition. Either way you should follow these: 

10 grant writing pointers that will help you win!

1. Research! Get help! Don’t try to write ALL PARTS of the grant yourself. Seek expertise for your response to each question or section from an expert in that area. A grant writer from GrantWriterTeam can also offer valuable direction and input into your proposal. 

2. Gather copies of all previously funded grants, grant applications, and any print materials about your organization. Having these documents to work from means you don’t have to start from scratch. Create a digital file and a hard copy folder containing the organization's:

  • Executive Summary
  • Organizational Background and Description
  • Existing Programs and Resources
  • Board of Directors List with their Expertise, Background and Affiliations
  • Staff Resumes and Staff Budget
  • Financial Policies and Current Management 
  • Facilities Lease, Blueprints and Insurance 
  • Licenses
  • Inventory of Equipment
  • Policies and Procedures Handbooks
  • Current Annual and Program Budgets

3. Talk to your Board. Have as many eyes as possible on your grant proposal. A board member may be able to give valuable additions to a narrative or may possibly be familiar with the funding source.

4, Keep learning about your topic. Continually seek articles and resources of best practices that will back-up and provide evidence for the need, viability and future success of your proposed program.

5. Review your mission statement with your Board before including it in the narrative. A nonprofit’s mission statement is pivotal to the grant proposal and should be updated to represent the scope of what you do.

6. Send a thank you note after every interaction with the funding source. Send the note to the attention of the individual contact at the funding source after you discuss your programming and eligibility and most definitely after receiving a grant. Stay in touch throughout the grant application process and beyond!

7. Write a personalized grant proposal. If space is not an issue, include anecdotes and photographs that demonstrate the need for funding and your expertise. 

8. Give the responsibility of grants to seasoned professionals. Don’t dump it on volunteers. Volunteers seldom have the technical grant writing skills needed. Survey your staff to see who has previous grant writing experience or hire a grant writer from GrantWriterTeam. Regardless of who writes the grant, you need a lead person in the organization to review section by section as the grant is prepared.

9. Apply for grants within your financial management capabilities. This speaks to the funding source's confidence in your organization's ability to mange large funds and your financial management policies. Apply for manageable grants.

10. Share and collaborate to provide services. If your grant application also requires a provision of service beyond your expertise, call up a highly respected neighboring nonprofit and develop a memorandum of understanding (for the provision of those services). You should also forward your emails about upcoming grants from GrantWatch.com, so they can apply and include you in their applications.

Remember, if you need help applying for a grant, request a writer at GrantWriterTeam.com, today! 

About the Author: Libby is the Founder and CEO of GrantWriterTeam and has been writing grants for over 20 years. This article was written with contributions from Sabeen Faquir.

Competitive Nonprofits

What can nonprofits do to be competitive in the grant process? Let GrantWriterTeam.com walk you through the process. 

Let’s face it. You’re not the only nonprofit applying for a grant. There are hundreds upon thousands of deserving nonprofits out there. How do you make yourself stand out? First, focus on name recognition. To boost recognition, create a consistent visual brand. This means get a logo. We suggest that you keep it simple with a symbol and the name or abbreviation of your nonprofit. Put your logo out through social media and make it a part of every staff member’s email signature. 

Here are some sample logos featured on GrantWatch.com's testimonial page:

 


    
If you’re interested in placing your logo on GrantWatch.com, become a subscriber. We welcome new subscribers that give us their logo, through our facebook and other social media pages. We are happy to help get the word out! If you contact us through GrantNews.press, we will also write an article about your nonprofit’s work. This article can be added to the appendix of a grant application.

Write about how your nonprofit benefits the community. What are your interventions for apparent problems in your community? List of all your past, current and future programs. Think about your measurable outcomes. For example, if you are a nonprofit clinic, consider what services you will offer and how outcomes can be assessed. You may have clinicians on staff who can prescribe medicine. In addition, you may have a dispensary that provides free or discounted prescriptions. In these ways, you offer healthcare. Outcomes can then be measured through health outcomes. Did the rate of disease lower? Are there more people who are being treated for their conditions? 

After listing your programs, start thinking about previous and future fundraising events. Uhelpfund is a great place to start a crowfunding campaign and demonstrate to the foundation or government agency how you engage the community to support your programs.

There are many additional great fundraising ideas for nonprofits. Some of them include raffles, recreational tournaments, auctions, yard sales, bake sales, networking dinners, community events, fairs and much more. Remember to display your logo at these events and generate interest in your work through informative flyers, volunteers, and fun giveaways.  

Remember, to be meticulous when completing a grant application. The funding source wants to know that their money is going toward an organization with the capacity to administrate community interventions. Funding sources want to fund sustainable programs. 

For support on grant writing, get a grant writer from GrantWriterTeam.com. They are professional, experienced, and knowledgeable about the nonprofit world. Request a writer and wait for bids to be emailed to you from a GrantWriterTeam specialist. 

A Personal Touch


Did you know grant proposals can include quotes from interviews about your nonprofit? Before scheduling an interview, think about what you want to convey to the funding source. Is it that your interventions helped the community? Is there a need for new programming at your nonprofit? Or, something else. 

If you're a nonprofit looking for a grant writer, select Request a Writer. 

According to Lincoln Arneal of Nonprofit Hub, be sure to talk to more than one person. Sit down with multiple people and get multiple angles of the story. Don't allow for general blanket statements that don't really say anything. Remember to ask probing questions, too. If a question you didn't script arises in your mind, ask! 

Finally, send thank you notes after the interviews. This will keep a lasting relationship and make a good impression for your nonprofit. 

Tell Me a Story: How to Use Interviews to Enhance Your Grant Proposals

By Lincoln Arneal, Nonprofit Hub

James was a grant writer for a nonprofit that worked with children. Passion fueled his work because he knew the work his organization did improved the lives of hundreds of children every year. He applied for grants to help his NPO expand its reach, but lately, he’s run into a bit of a snag. He’s heard “no” a few too many times, and had a major case of writer’s block to remedy the situation. Until he started using more storytelling with his grants.

Storytelling is a great way to liven up your grant proposals, capture your readers’ attention and add more emotional connection to your cause. There are several ways to collect these stories, but the best way is to conduct interviews with people that have benefited from your nonprofit’s work. As a journalist, interviews are a necessary tool to every single story I wrote. They support the angle I was writing about and provide perspective to points made in my article. The same techniques used to get quotes for a newspaper story can be used to enhance your grant requests.

Before you get started, you need to know what you want from the interviews. What story do you want to tell? Are you after emotional stories that demonstrate the impact of your organization? The impact your donors have made to help your mission? How your volunteers have changed the community? The outcome of the stories will change what questions you ask and who you select to interview.

Most of the time you know who has been positively impacted by your organization, but feel free to put out a call for volunteers to assist you with your project. These can be not only people who are on the receiving end of your services, but also those who work and volunteer with your NPO. Try to find a good balance of subjects that have experienced your nonprofit in different ways or through different programs. Make sure the participants know how you plan to use the interview. Have them sign an acknowledgement that allows you to use their stories in your grants and perhaps promotional materials.

Don’t just settle for interviewing one or two people. Try to interview a half dozen to get a good variety of stories and perspectives on your services. Also, avoid providing them with specific questions before the interview. You can give them the topics you want to talk about, but if they don’t know the exact wording of the questions it will help their answers come off as more real and honest.

Mark Goldstein of Communication Mark outlines three questions you should ask every time you interview someone about your NPO:

What need brought you to our organization?
What services did we provide to you?
How did the service improve your life?

These questions will provide a good baseline and starting point to elicit useable answers. They cover the how, what and why for your organization. Plus, these answers will directly apply to what you are going to write in your grant proposal. You will need to ask more probing questions, and figure out how to get them to tell a story on how your nonprofit really benefited their lives. It might not come out on the first question, so be patient.

Those shouldn’t be the only questions. Brainstorm questions that fit the outcome you seek. Don’t stick to a script though. Let the interview flow like a natural conversation. Ask follow up questions and try to keep probing if they make broad, vague statements—but at the same time, don’t be too pushy.

While phone interviews will work, you should do everything possible to do them in person. It allows you to have more control over the interview, read the interviewee’s nonverbals and make a better personal connection during the interview. Listen to what they are saying and adapt the course of the interview based on the subject’s responses, and don’t let any vague statements slip by. It also helps to record or videotape the interview for accuracy and use later.

After the interview, be sure to send a note of thanks to the participant. They were the ones who gave their time and helped you out, so be grateful. A simple note can go a long way to reinforce their positive experience with your nonprofit.

Once you sit down and start writing, you should put these quotes in the ‘needs’ or ‘project goals’ portion of your proposal. By showing how your organization helped the cause indicates the need is real and you have the ability to make a difference. These stories will get beyond statistics and attach a name and story to your cause. If the stories are too long and you can’t bring yourself to cut them down, consider including them as an attachment to your grant proposal.

So get out there and start talking to people. Interviews, if done properly, can make your grant proposals stand out and humanize the work you are doing. You don’t just have to limit using your stories for grant proposals. You can add them to your donor drives, promotional materials and annual reports, but again, make sure your subjects know how you plan to use their stories. Next time you find yourself in James’ situation and stuck with your grant proposal, try using interviews to enhance them. They might just be the story you’re missing.

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