An Insider’s Guide to Finding Foundation Funding – Part 1

A Brief Introduction

For eighteen years I had the opportunity to work in a national foundation. During that time I read over 6,000 grant proposals and participated in awarding over 2,500 grants. This means that I have seen good proposals, bad proposals and ones that should never have left the writer’s grasp. It also means that I have spoken with hundreds of grantseekers about their work and their potential for funding.

Finding Funding

Whether you are a grassroots activist group, a social service provider or an educational institution, there is a good chance that you will spend time attempting to raise funds from a foundation. Truthfully, there are no secret stores of knowledge that will enable you to become a successful grantwriter. There are, however, a variety of commonsense steps you can take to increase your chances for success.

A thorough approach to finding appropriate grantmakers requires a clear focus on the particular needs and goals of your organization.  In addition, grantseekers need concise information about potential funding sources, basic steps to follow when researching and applying for grants; and suggestions on how to contact grantmakers.

As a grantwriter, following these three guidelines will enable you to determine which foundations are the best match for your needs and what approaches you should use when applying for funding:

1. Do your research;

2. Identify prospective funders; and

3. Contact the funder before you apply.

Will following these three simple steps guarantee that you will find funding? Of course not! But they will definitely increase your chances of success and give you a better grantseeking road map to follow.