5 ways to boost your grant writing strategy

With a strong strategy and the right knowledge, your charity has a promising chance at securing a grant. According to the Giving USA 2014 report, over $500 billion is awarded to different causes by corporate grants and foundations each year, which means there's a lot of money to go around. Nonprofits need to pursue this opportunity, and the only way to do that is by applying. However, developing a grant writing program takes time and practice - sporadic efforts won't get the job done. Here are 5 tips to boost your grant writing strategy:

1. Know the different options available
Project-specific funding, unrestricted funding, capital campaigns, operational costs and endowment funding are all available to your nonprofit through grants. Nonprofits tend to focus too heavily on funding certain projects and forget all the other potential opportunities. Additionally, some charities' most significant financial needs come from internal costs, and they mistakenly believe foundations don't support that area of an organization. Understanding the differences between all of these forms is important for planning and applying.

2. Don't put all your eggs in one basket
Grant funding shouldn't be your philanthropic organization's only source for finances. According to Nonprofit Hub, your funding should only be 20 percent based on grants. This strikes an effective balance in which grants won't make or break your foundation. Plus, most charities' first applications get denied. It is essential to have backup plans, such as fundraising events and an online donation form, in place in case this happens.

3. Hire a writer
Even minor grammatical errors can deter foundations from awarding you a grant. Consider hiring someone with experience in grant writing or training a current staff member from your editorial team for the job. A professional can also bring effective persuasion abilities to the proposal and tailor the application to address exactly what the foundation is looking for.

4. Do your research
Make sure you match all of the qualifications for the grant. If you don't figure this step out before applying, you could end up wasting time and money. Having a full understanding of the requirements will also help your writer be specific and deliberate in the application. Additionally, determine if the type of grant is right for your nonprofit. Perhaps you're applying for project-specific funding when you really need operational costs. Look into the real needs of your charity before putting effort into the grant proposal.

In addition to researching the type of endowment, nonprofits should also research the foundation itself. Ask your board members if anyone knows the trustees of the organization to which you're applying. Networking is a powerful tool in all industries, and it can certainly play a key role in securing your grant.

5. Have a solution ready
Many organizations may qualify for a grant, so you need to make sure your charity stands out. Have a plan outlined regarding how you'll use the money before applying. This proposal strategy will help showcase your qualifications. The innovative ideas and forward-thinking mindset will give you an edge over the competition.

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