Tips for Seeking First-Time Support

Nonprofits approaching a foundation for support for the first time often are asked, "Who else is at the table?" That's because foundations and corporate grantmakers are more likely to fund a program or project that others have deemed worthy of support. But as any grantwriter or development professional knows, it's not easy to get a funder to actually sit at the table. Here are a few tips designed to help you demonstrate to potential first-time funders that your project or program merits their support...


Throwing in the Towel

You know that foundation that never returns your calls? The one you keep sending proposals to that never responds? You've poured over the foundation's 990-PF and its Foundation Directory Online profile. You've scoured the Web for information about its staff and giving. And everything you've found gives you reason to believe that if the good people at the foundation would just read your proposal, they'd want to invest in your organization. But you're still hanging on the telephone. Before you throw in the towel and decide to invest your time elsewhere, here are some things to keep in mind

12 Tips for Filling Out/Submitting Online Applications

Trees everywhere are rejoicing as more and more funders switch from paper to online applications. But for some grantwriters, having to disrupt the flow of their narrative to accommodate character-limited text fields is both inconvenient and cumbersome.

If you're one of those grantwriters, here are some tips designed to make the online application process a little more enjoyable and productive:

Spice it up!

Does it feel like the grant proposals you're writing are getting old and tired?  Maybe you've been working for the same organization for a number of years and writing proposals for the same programs month after month. If you can recite from memory the first three paragraphs of the last grant proposal you wrote, it's time to spice things up!  Here are some tips for freshening up your writing and reinvigorating your passion for your organization's mission.

Managing Up: The Grantwriter's Dilemma

Good grantwriters have a unique perspective with respect to nonprofit organizations: We know what grantmakers want to hear and we know what we'd like to be able to put into grant proposals. But when conspicuous gaps begin to show up in proposals, what should you -- the grantwriter -- do? Here are six elements of a good proposal that often are missing or inadequate, and some resources to help you and your employer/client address the problems they might be hiding.

Six Ways to Make Your Volunteer Board Members Feel Appreciated

A new generation is making its presence felt, and its members are eager to give more than just their hard-earned money. They want to give their time and talent, to get down in the trenches and serve on boards. They want their ideas to be taken seriously, put into action, and reported back on with charts and graphs. Oh, and  they want to be appreciated and recognized for their efforts and contributions to your cause or organization.

What's that? You're too busy to let your volunteer board members know their efforts are appreciated? You might want to rethink that. Before you start planning your next volunteer appreciation event, run through this checklist of things you can do to show you care.

Dear Abby’s Advice to a Funder

As a grantwriter, I'm pretty sure my clients aren't the only organizations frustrated by the grant application process. Funders are, too. Over the last decade, many social and environmental problems have gotten worse; the number of nonprofits looking for funding has grown; and the stock and bond markets have subjected most portfolio managers to a ride they'd probably like to forget. I don't suppose many funders, harried or otherwise, turn to Dear Abby for advice. But if they did, here's what she might she say....