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8-Step Plan Ensuring Your Nonprofit is Grant Worthy

The last two weeks we wrote a series on planning your grant writing campaign (part one, part two).  Some feedback we got: What if you aren’t even sure you can write a grant? What do you need to do beforehand? What are some good spot checks to have at your annual planning meeting?  Our answer, thanks to Laura Beth Tucker:

8 Steps to Ensure Your Nonprofit Is Grant Worthy

#1 Choose funding sources whose interests and priorities are a good match with your organization’s programs and clients served.

  • If possible, call or email the funding source to gauge their interest in what you want to propose for funding.

#2 Do your research on what foundations are funding by reviewing their 990’s.  

#3 Develop an annual organizational budget that shows source and use of funds.

  • Where are revenues expected to come from?
  • What expenses are expected?

Develop balanced budget to show fiscal soundness and good planning.

#4  25/75 Rule

  • 25% Administrative expenses
  • 75% Program Services expenses

Demonstrates that CLIENTS – not staff- are recipients of majority of funds.

#5 Prepare Budget Narrative

  • Show your work! Show how line item expenses were calculated.

#6 Have your numbers ready and easily accessible:

  • Tax ID#
  • 501c3
  • DUNS
  • CCRC
  • User #
  • Passwords

#7 Establish program outcomes that measure actual changes (improvement or decline for clients served).

  • What can you measure – i.e. After-school program: change in grades, attendance, discipline, standardized scores)

Funders want more than quantity served (process); they want measurable outcomes that make sense.

#8 Encourage strong board members who:

  • devote time
  • contribute money
  • cultivate relationships
  • serve as advocates for your organization

While not necessary, grant funders look at the organization at a whole – if the people closest to the organization aren’t advocates and don’t believe in the mission, they’ll ask why.

Follow this 8 step checklist to determine your readiness and worthiness for the grant process. You’ll be good to go!  Still need more? Don’t worry, we’ll be writing again soon about what grant funders look for, what you can do if your proposal isn’t funded and tools for your entire staff.

Questions? We’re always here to help, Email Us and we’ll get back to you lickety-split.

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