By Cassandra Lamberti
Receiving a grant is a colossal step in growing your NGO. An NGO is a non-governmental organisation. Typically NGOs are created to support or bring awareness to citizens regarding an international, developmental or social mission. Since citizens independently run NGOs, getting help financially without the government comes into play in creative ways. More often than not, NGOs rely on the public who agrees with the cause for donating. Whilst forming your own NGO, you may consider building a membership program, hosting events for private and potential donors, or applying for grants relative to your cause. Whatever the route you may take, it is imperative to receive some type of funding for your NGO to grow and sustain itself. If you are in the beginning stages of your non-profit, one of the most effective ways to begin funding is by applying for grants.
The grant application process can be intimidating if you have not done it before as it entails a few steps. However applying for grants is a unique way to make your NGO visible to larger companies and potential donors. Below are four structural steps provided to aid you in the grant writing process and ensure the best possible outcome for your goals.
Search for grants that align with your non-profit’s mission
Before researching donors, reflect on your organisation’s wants and needs. Think of the following: what is the main mission of your NGO? How much financial support is needed? When will you need the funding by? Once you have answers to these questions you can begin to narrow your search down to which donors match the needs of your mission. The more applications you fill the greater the chance is of receiving more funds. However it is imperative that these donors align with your mission. You can begin with a simple search online for relevant foundations, or you can visit fundssforngos.org which has a large list of grants to look review.
Review the requirements for a grant
After choosing a few organisations that suit your mission and goals, it is now time to take a closer look at each application and ensure the foundation knows why you have chosen their particular grant and to discuss your NGO in depth. Just as when you are applying to a job, it’s easy for employers to spot generic responses in cover letters and paraphrases, which is why it is so important to apply to each grant individually. When reviewing each application look at the questions they are asking, and notice why those particular questions may be meaningful for the foundation. Be clear with your mission and give as much information as you can (but also note if there is a word count).
Write and review an application for each grant offered
While there might be thousands of other applicants applying for the same grant as you, that should not be cause to feel discouraged. Each foundation reads thoroughly through the grant applications looking to support important projects. While you are writing each application be sure to include what made that foundation stand out to you and how it would benefit being a part of your supporters. Include what you hope your mission will accomplish and why it is so important to you. Since grant writing is a particular genre of writing, you can also hire or recruit volunteers who have grant writing experience to help draft and submit applications.
Cross your Ts and dot your Is!
Now it is time for the best part, submitting the application! At this stage, you have taken a further look into your mission and evaluated potential foundations you’d like to work with. You have reviewed their grant requirements and tailored each application per foundation. A good tip is to thoroughly review your writing and to make sure you have followed all of the requirements. Missing any requirements could result in a delayed response or negative result. After you have triple checked your work, peacefully submit your grant and allow some time for the organisations to get back to you. Typically a timeline of when you can expect to hear back is on their website on the submission page.
Building a non-governmental organisation takes an abundance of passion and patience. Although each step may seem overwhelming at moments, always go back to the reason that made you want to create an NGO in the first place. Applying to grants will help further your cause and spread the word about your non-profit. Fundraising maybe leave you exhausted at times, however persistence is key and will help you achieve your goal. Strongly said by philanthropist Marie Forleo, “the key to success is to start before you’re ready”.