Grants for Nonprofits

What is a nonprofit grant?

A nonprofit grant, sometimes referred to as a fundraising grant, is a financial donation given to an organization. Grants are typically given by a foundation, corporation, or government agency. Many nonprofits are funded by grants that they receive throughout the year.

Grant organizations, also known as grantmakers, are the foundations, corporations, or government agencies that provide the funding for grants. They usually specify how their gift should be distributed. Rather than giving a lump sum donation that the nonprofit can use to support general operations, grant organizations may stipulate that they want the funds to be used to support a specific program or initiative.

How do nonprofits benefit from grants?

Nonprofits benefit from grants in many ways. The most obvious benefit is simply that, unlike with loans, you do not need to pay a grant back.

Because grants typically come from large, established organizations, they are often much larger gifts than those that come from individual donors. Large, one-time gifts like grants can give your nonprofit the push it needs to fund a much-needed program or purchase necessary supplies. This can bring your nonprofit into a new phase of growth, attracting increased attention and new donors.

Grants also build your nonprofit’s visibility and credibility. According to the Society for Nonprofits, once you receive one grant, you are more likely to receive others. In other words, once grantmakers see that other notable organizations have given to your cause, they are more likely to give to you themselves.

How do nonprofits get grants?

To secure grant funding, first you must know how to find them. This starts with performing relevant searches based on your organization’s mission and future plans. You’ll want to consider factors like geography, grant type, your cause, type of service, and your target audience. From there, it’s a matter of performing a search using state, general, and online resources.

Before you can receive a grant, someone must submit a grant proposal on behalf of your nonprofit. This person can be a staff member or an outside writer that you hire to write the proposal. Usually the grantmaker will have a list of requirements or documents that your nonprofit needs to meet or submit, as well as an application you must fill out. Your proposal includes anything required by the grantmaker and broadly lays out why you need the support and what you would use the funds for if you received the grant.

Once the grant proposal is written, you submit it to the grantmaker. The grantmaker then reviews and either approves or denies your grant application. If they accept your proposal, they will deliver the funds to your organization.

Who is a grant writer?

A grant writer is a person responsible for crafting grant proposals. Although these writers often have an educational background in English, writing, or communications, anyone can write the proposal.

In order to create the most compelling proposal possible, grant writers need to have a firm grasp on the nonprofit’s mission and the needs of the community being served. They also need to be familiar with the organization from which they are requesting funding so they can speak specifically to their values and interests.

Do you need to hire a grant writer?

Some nonprofits have employees who are skilled at writing grants while other nonprofits will contract outside writers to write the grants for the nonprofit. To determine if you need to hire one, consider your bandwidth and your budget.

In terms of bandwidth, ask yourself if someone on your team can take on the responsibility of researching and applying for grants. If not, you may want to hire an outside person to write the grant for you or consider bringing on a staff member whose responsibilities will include researching and writing grants.

In order to decide whether or not to bring on a full-time staff member, consider your budget. It may be more financially beneficial to outsource the job to someone on a contract basis.

If you’re looking for a grant writer for your nonprofit, we recommend reading CauseVox’s blog post on How To Hire A Grant Writer.

What is grant management software?

When it comes to grant management, grant management software is a type of nonprofit software that allows nonprofits to more easily manage the grant application process. These programs often include features to help workflow, such as task reminders and the ability to assign tasks to various users. The software may also allow you to store contact information of funders you may be interested in working with in the future.

Bottom line

A nonprofit grant is financial support given to nonprofits by corporations, foundations, or government agencies. They are beneficial for nonprofits because they provide the opportunity for additional funding that doesn’t need to be paid back and increases awareness of their organization.