Rolling out a grants program is never easy. Unfortunately, most nonprofits think writing and getting grants is not possible and let go of a valuable source of funds. Some try once, but after they face rejection, they give up trying to apply for a grant again. While some think if they can get grants from usgrants.org, they become financially successful. However, all these extremes are incorrectand myths people create. Nonprofits can secure grants, but they should not depend on them as the only source of income. Grants come from a foundation or government. Below are some myths nonprofits should stop believing about grants.
- Getting grants solves all money problems
Charities should keep grant funding in perspective. According to research, foundation funding is just a drop in a large income bucket for nonprofits. 80% of the income nonprofits get is from other sources. The competition for winning grants is intense, hence why grant-seeking does not happen once. Plus, grant proposals face rejection more often than acceptance. Grant seeking is long, and it takes time to pay off. Also, charities in danger of failure or new ones think winning a grant will solve their monetary issue. So, if you are a new nonprofit, grants should not be your first option at fundraising. Most grants will not fund startups or help organizations in financial challenges. But, they are other ways you can develop charity until you are ready to seek grants.
- In tough times, foundations cut back on funding
Sometimes funding can go up and down, depending on your country’s politics and the current economy. However, foundations are likely to step up funding in challenging times just as they can cut back. Thus, do not be discouraged by the ups and downs of funding. You have to start somewhere seeking funds. Similar to the stock market, investing in grants programs should be through thick and thin, and it will pay off eventually. Also, it can be a year or two before a grant starts rolling out. Thus, anticipate the lag time and study different funder grant cycles.
- No large foundations will fund us
Funders available are both large national foundations and smaller foundations too. The difference is large foundations have name recognition and most publicity. But right where you live, you can get local funders. For these reasons, look for small foundations for funding if you have a small or new venture that serves a particular area. Every area has a few of these, and they fund small local charities than large foundations. To find these connections talk to your board, other donors, or your local community foundation. Importantly, community foundations have classes on grant writing and its strategies.
- Grant writers are too expensive
Someone to write your grant proposal can be someone internally, a volunteer, or you can hire. But hiring someone does not mean it is an instant solution. Notably, do not pay a grant writer the percentage of your grant funds as their payment. It is unethical. If it is the first time your organization is applying for funding, you can decide to contract a grant writer to educate your staff, and for future grants, you move your grant writing in-house. Still, even after hiring a grant writer, note that it will still take a lot of your time. Professional grant writers have various fee ranges, and you can always decide on how to work. For instance, per the hour, retainer, and any other as your organization gains experience and sets up systems.
- It is too complicated to write a grant proposal
It is not complicated writing a grant proposal. The problem is grant writers do not follow the funders’ guidelines. Also, to understand better, you can read sample grant proposals, sign up for webinars to learn more about grant writing. Instead of a full-blown proposal, foundations prefer you send a letter of inquiry. You can find out quickly whether your ideas fit with the foundations’ mission. If it does, the funder will ask you to submit a full proposal. In other situations, the letter of inquiry will be enough to secure your organization a grant.