A grant is a monetary donation; it is free, but not easy money. Nonprofit organizations devote time, human and financial resources to find the right founders and get the resources they need for their programs. Your nonprofit may be eligible for a grant, but it takes planning and preparation to get it.
Searching for Funds
Evaluate your eligibility. Having an excellent project is not enough to get grants from foundations or other institutions; according to the article "How to Find Grants for your Nonprofit Organization" published by Enoch Pratt Free Library, your organization should be registered with the State, be recognized by the IRS as exempt from Federal income tax (501 c 3) and charitable work.
Research other nonprofits. Go online and look for nonprofits that share your interests or have a similar mission; if your organization is dedicated to empowering women internationally, search those words online. Your search will bring up websites of nonprofits that have at least a program devoted to that purpose. If a nonprofit matches your interests, become familiar with its website information and take a look at its donors list.
Search for foundations online.Type the name of a foundation that you think might support your mission. Accessing a foundation's website will give you valuable information such as its vision, objectives and even the steps to apply for a grant online; for example, if you directly access Ford Foundation or The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, you will have access to the information regarding their grants priorities, deadlines and application processes.
Subscribe to a foundation database. Access a foundation database online such as Foundation Center or Guidestar. If you are interested in issues related to poverty, at Foundation Center click on 'Gain Knowledge' and click on "Global Issue- Poverty". You will access information on what is being done to solve that problem as well as the top 25 foundations that give grants to solve it. At Guidestar you may search foundations by name, city or state.
Search for Government grants. Go to Grants.gov under "Find Grant Opportunities," click "Basic Search" and write down a keyword such as "Peru"; you will find grants available to assist people in that country, the full grant announcement and even the application. You may also go under "Search by Category," which will give you access to grants in education, health, energy and community development, among others.
- Apply only for grants that match your mission and programs.
- Plan in advance and be prepared to accept grants that will not pay for expenses in advance but will reimburse you later.
- Make sure you are accountable for the money you receive. Keep track of how the grant is being spent.
Items you will need
- Copy of tax-exempt letter from the IRS
- Copy of bylaws
- Written description of programs
- Form 990
- money money image by Valentin Mosichev from Fotolia.com