Nonprofit organizations are the driving force behind innovative research, human rights protection and other great causes that don’t necessarily make a good business model. Some types of nonprofit foundations and organizations can usually make enough to operate under normal conditions, while others have no income at all. Startup costs and expansion, however, pose a special problem for nearly all nonprofit organizations. While nonprofits may be able to come up with some of the needed funds through fundraising and donations, many need public or private grants to achieve their goals.
Government sources for grants
The biggest source of scholarships and grants for nonprofit funding in the United States is the government. You can find a complete list of U.S. grants that are currently open for nonprofits on their Web site. This wide array of potential grants are doled out by government committee to further goals for the improvement of the country as a whole.
Grants for students, businesses and charity organizations are also available through various government organizations. Some are funded by states, while others are funded by the federal government but decided by the state. These grants are focused on tackling a social problem that’s prevalent in a given state or at stimulating the local economy.
While government grants are the easiest to find and offer the widest range, bear in mind that they’re also in the highest demand. Expect strong competition for the money. To get a government grant for your nonprofit, you will probably have to hire a grant writer or learn how to write excellent grant proposals that stand out from the crowd. Rejections will be frequent, especially in a down economy, but a single acceptance could result in an appreciable amount of money for your foundation.
Private grants for nonprofit organizations
It is possible to avoid or supplement the tough competition of government grants. Wealthy individuals, educational institutions and large corporations often establish grants and scholarships. It may be a means of getting their name out into the market, furthering a cause that’s important to them or advancing a specific industry.
While private grants can be harder to find than government grants, they tend to have far less competition. The dollar amount for each may also be lower, but there’s often less work involved in acquiring a grant.
Considerations with nonprofit grants
Regardless of whether you obtain a grant through public or private sources, you will most likely be held to some agreed-upon performance standard. This may be in order to keep the funds you’ve already been given or to be eligible for any in the future. You will need to know how to write your grant proposals to get the grant and to apply for renewals, as well as what reporting needs done in the meantime.
Depending on the type of nonprofit organization, you may have a range of options for grants. Remember that applying for grants is a time-consuming process, so plan accordingly. Make a list of all of the grants for which you might qualify, including the requirements and dollar amounts. Determine exactly how much you need to achieve your goals, and then start applying!