Lesson #9 – Foundation Grants and Corporate Contributions

Greetings from GrantLessons!

I hope this post finds you enjoying your summer. I am lucky to be in Birch Bay, Washington today enjoying a boat ride on a friend’s boat. Just taking a few minutes out to let you know that if you have gotten your team set-up you are ready to start the next process which is to evaluate foundations and corporations that are trying to find nonprofit organizations so they can give them a percentage of their income so they can maintain their tax status with the IRS.

Now that we have established a team, we need to determine which of our programs would be a good match for seeking foundation grants or corporate contributions. There are several things that need to be considered including the chapter’s location, the characteristics of the chapter’s program, whether or not the chapter has previously received funding from a grantor or corporation previously  and the tolerance the members have for failing.

Chapter Location

If your chapter is located in a large metropolitan area your chances of finding a match between your chapter’s programs and a funder are significantly better. However you must assess your community. You may be in a smaller community and find that a director of a large foundation lives in your community and therefore your city has been singled out as the only city in the country that can receive funding.

Chapter Program Characteristics

The team must evaluate their program for which they desire to ask funding. A well established program with evaluations done regularly will provide substantial information for the writer to present a case statement. Essentially, founders want to know their funding is going to a needed program in the community. The funder wants to know that that program is not duplicating services. They are interested in the chapter being able to sustain the program in the future. They like seeing that other foundations support the program.

Funding Sources

It may not be entirely apparent to us why founders ask the questions they ask. Many funders will ask if they gave money to your chapter the previous year. They may desire to provide funding every other year. The funder may want a long term relationship with a nonprofit they trust and therefore seek out repeat funding opportunities. The important point for us as applicants is to answer all the questions that the funder asks to the best of our ability. If funding has been received previously, it is important to maintain the established relationship with completing reports and/or sending out justification letters annually.

Ability to Fail

A tolerance for failure will help the team be successful. When starting to write applications there is nothing like getting funding for the work done. However, because one gets a denial on an application is still a success. With every application written one learns from it and becomes more familiar with the process. As the confidence of the team grows, they will eventually find success in funding for an application. So one just has to continue to fill out applications because without doing that funding will never be obtained.

Catch me when you can and I will catch up with you soon! Sandie




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