Fundraising is not always easy. Some causes more easily tug on donors’ or funders’ heartstrings more than others. I am sure you can picture the TV commercial with sad music and malnourished children urging you to donate just $2 per month to help feed them. As a mother, I feel physical empathy for mothers of infants who do not have enough formula, diapers, and clothes to care for their children. Causes like this produce a warm, fuzzy vibe that you just cannot say no to. Not all organizations naturally evoke such strong emotions. In some cases, the emotions may be negative and that can make fundraising tricky. What if your cause (or organization) is the big elephant in the room blocking funders from seeing the impact you can/do have? Perhaps you are part of a national organization involved in a scandal, a school district that has recently failed accreditation, or a local nonprofit perceived to serve only wealthy people. Each of these situations can make it challenging to raise the money needed, because donors and funders may be blinded by the media or personal bias. How do you overcome that hurdle?

March Madness is in full swing, and all this talk about competition and brackets makes me think about how grant writing relates. Grants, much like professional sports, are competitive, and increasingly so. We can’t come in on gameday and put together a proposal without any preparation and expect to win big. To be competitive, your grant team must train and prepare to advance through the rounds and win awards. So, while building out/reviewing your bracket for college basketball, consider how these strategies can help your grant team gain a competitive edge.

Diversifying a portfolio of funding opportunities can be more than seeking foundation and federal grants. In the current funding landscape, organizations have the capacity to add legislative affairs to their ongoing activities in the pursuit of additional funds to achieve their mission. Did you know that nonprofits are eligible to pursue Congressional Directed Spending and/or Community Project Funding?

Nonprofits and not-for-profits share many similarities and, in practice, the terms are often used interchangeably. The key similarities and differences between these types of organizations are nuanced. Nonprofits and not-for-profits are mission-driven organizations with a shared purpose of serving the public or charitable needs. They are...

Looking to re-submit a proposal that didn’t get funded last year? Applying for a new funding opportunity? Or re-applying for a highly competitive grant? If this sounds like you, listen up! Grant proposals are denied for so many different reasons and sometimes, unbeknownst to us. In the best cases, you get reviewer feedback, but more likely you are left wondering where your proposal went wrong and what could be done differently to set it apart from the flood of other applicants. Fear not – here are some tried and true, back-to-the-basics ways to improve your proposal and elevate it from the competition.  

In a recent post, my colleague Michele Ryan gave a library of great data sites to bookmark and pull fresh data from. In this post I challenge you to look internally at the data you already collect within your organization or for your grant proposals and consider how to freshen it up a bit by making it more recent, more relevant, and more specific.

It’s normal and often encouraged to seek multiple funding opportunities for a single program, often referred to as braided funding (see Braiding Funds without Getting Tied Up In Knots – Approaching Budgets with Pre-Award and Post-Award In Mind by Julie Alsup, GPC). You might even request more funds than you need to run a program with the expectation that one or more proposals will fall through. As nonprofit organizations that belong to and are supported by the public, we should always be looking for new funding streams in case an existing source should dry up. But what if you ask for more than you need, and all the funders decide you shall receive?

What to Expect When You’re Prospecting Or: What to Know About Working with a Consultant A scenario: your small nonprofit organization has been in operation for several years now, thanks to the generosity and trust of individual donors and supporters. You have generated some promising outcome data from your programs, have a clear direction, and are making a positive impact on your target population. You feel you’re ready to move on to the next step in your organization’s growth: diversifying funding streams by adding in some grant dollars. But you’re busy running programs, your board is stretched thin, and you’re just not sure where to start. Choosing to seek outside assistance from a grant professional is a big step for an organization. The combination of a very small staff (or perhaps even a one-person shop), a small pool of invested donors and volunteers, and the amount of time, energy, and resources spent in getting a nonprofit off the ground can make this a deeply personal decision. An outsider consultant who suddenly asks lots of specific questions about your policies, competitors, and finances might feel a little intrusive (at best) or downright offensive (at worst). But wait! That consultant means well. They’re likely trying to gauge your organization’s grant-readiness and capacity for managing different types of funding opportunities to determine the most effective and efficient next steps. Here’s what to expect as you enter this new relationship.

FindingYourBestMatch.com Determining if a funder is right for your program If you happen to be in the dating “scene” in this highly digital age, it can be hard to determine from just an online profile whether you and a potential mate are going to be compatible. Or perhaps a friend or acquaintance has someone they want you to meet and claims they’d be perfect for you. As a grant writer, you might find yourself in a similar situation when you’ve found a funder online who seems to be a perfect match for the services at your nonprofit organization.