Grants available from trusts and foundations, local councils and the state and federal government are a potentially profitable fundraising income stream that charities often put into the ‘too-hard-basket’.
Complex, in-depth application forms.
Time-consuming coordination and follow-up.
Yes, grants can be time-consuming. But follow these simple tips to make sure the return on your investment becomes more than worthwhile.
Treat trust and foundations like major donors
Potentially, trustees and executors for charitable foundations are considering donating significant funds to your charity. Like any major gift, the decision-making process will be influenced by how well the applicant relates to them. Take the time to build a relationship as you would with any other major donor to increase your chances of funding success.
Always display genuine gratitude towards trustees and foundation administrators and acknowledge key dates and milestones just as you would with any other significant donor.
Make direct contact before applying for a grant
Those involved in dispersing funds for trusts and foundations are passionate people and will most likely welcome a phone call to discuss your potential project. Not only will this give you a chance to start building a relationship, but it’s also an opportunity to discover if yours is a project suitable for funding. They can (and almost certainly will) also give you tips for your application.
Keep a record of all contacts in your database so anyone in the fundraising team can view their contact history and refer to it in future conversations to offer a higher level of donor service.
It’s important to note here that if the application specifically states not to contact, that you follow this instruction.
Keep accurate records
Trusts and foundations are like any of your individual or corporate donors, and accurate records must be kept in your CRM to increase your chance of funding success. SupporterHub allows you to keep a record of all previous applications and the outcomes, reasons for funding not being approved, important dates, invitation history and notes of what types of projects may resonate with the funder. Referring to these relevant details in your covering letter or application forms will show the funder you’ve paid attention which will likely increase your chances of funding success. If not today, then certainly into the future.
Say ‘thank you’
As with any donation, it’s critical that you acknowledge the trust or foundation manager for the contribution. This is often overlooked as many believe the acquittal process is enough. Set up automatic receipting to send a customised thank you letter once the donation has been received referring specifically to the funding round and project.
Meet the selection criteria
Failing to read the selection criteria or applying regardless of whether you meet it or not is little more than a waste of everyone’s time. Regardless of how compelling your application, if you’re applying for funding for a project that doesn’t meet the purpose of the fund, you’ll be unsuccessful. Focus your energy instead on finding an opportunity that is suitable and relevant to your project.
Deliver your obligations
It’s likely you’ll have a long list of obligations if your funding application is successful. This may include social media exposure, acknowledgement on your website, commemorative plaques or a simple mention in your newsletter. Whatever your obligations, to increase your chances of funding success in the next round, make sure you meet these promptly. Set reminders on a calendar before these are due, so you don’t ever miss one of your commitments.
Thorough research and preparation are fundamental to success for grant applications.
There’s nothing worse than realising you don’t have all the information you need (for example, a letter of support or reference), right at the last minute. If you’re applying through an online portal, don’t forget the trust administrators can see when the application was started so beginning an application just before the due date may also display a lack of organisational skills which could impact your chance of being trusted with significant funds.
Prepare a grants calendar well in advance to make sure you’re aware of upcoming opportunities and can give your application the time and dedication required to prepare thoroughly.
SupporterHub is an online portal that can help you keep accurate records of funders and their donation history. You can also create a project library, diarise important dates regarding applications and acquittals, and personalise communications to potential and existing funders. To get started with a FREE trial, (no credit card required), get started