Tuesday, February 8, 2011

3 Ways Non-Profits Build Trust with Grant Makers

There are literally tens of thousands of prospective foundations to sift through as you seek non-profit grant funding. Each foundation has its own timeline, guidelines, and fields of interest. All foundations have one thing in common, they look for evidence that your organization is trustworthy before giving you a grant.

New non-profits may find it hard to get their foot in the door with a foundation. Here are three key things to pay attention to that will increase your chance of building trust with foundations so you can secure grant funding:

1) Build it – Build a solid base of local support before seeking grants. I define support as donors, volunteers, and partner organizations.
2) Account for it - Establish an accounting system that would make a CPA proud and then conduct an annual audit to prove it’s as good as you think it is. If you can prove you are trustworthy with small amounts of money, someone might trust you with larger sums.
3) Prove it – By this I mean collect evidence - hard data and anecdotal – to show your programs are working and are appreciated.

If you serve undernourished sea turtles then keep records on how many turtles you take care of this year. A variety of data may be collected such as how many you turned away (if any) for lack of support or how many survive and return to the sea. Ask for written statements from volunteers, take a survey of the community, work with local marine organizations, talk to the media about what you do, join the local Chamber of Commerce, take pictures, and post videos online. Find a volunteer who is a scrap booking enthusiast and let them run wild. You goal is to build a portfolio of evidence that you’re active and effective. Don’t forget to put all this evidence online!

Finding grants for a non-profit organization is a lot easier when you can validate the impact of your programs and prove you are skillful in managing them.

Related Posts:

How is Your Organization's Governance Equilibrium?
Assessing Results: Are You a Quant or a Qualit?

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Woodland, CA, United States
Creative Resources and Research is a consulting firm specializing in grant writing, grant seeking, program evaluation and professional development training. We have worked with hundreds of clients including public and private schools, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations, and social service agencies throughout California, securing over $155 million from federal, state and private foundation funding sources over the past decade. Our primary grant writers and program evaluators have over 50 years of combined experience in the education and social services fields. At CRR we prefer a personal approach to the clients we work with; by developing long term relationships, we are better suited to match client’s needs with available funding sources. We provide a variety of services to help assist you, including grant writing, evaluation consulting, professional development opportunities, and workshops.