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10/20/08
Five Most Helpful Tips For Grant Applicants
Filed under: PROGRAM DESIGN
Posted by: Jon @ 6:58 am

On November 15th, more than 125 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in National Philanthropy Day® (http://www.nationalphilanthropyday.org/), a special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy – and those people active in the philanthropic community – have made to our community. This year marks the 23rd anniversary of this special day.

While Americans give approximately $300 billion to nonprofits and charitable causes each year, this year’s National Philanthropy Day will also be the springboard for many nervous discussions about how current economic downtrends will negatively impact giving and the ripple effect it will have in the nonprofit sector.

Nonprofits are impacted in four ways.
1. Endowments and foundations that award grants to nonprofits rely on interest compounded from their substantial financial reserves. Depending on the source, annual interested earned by these funds is down 15-30%.
2. Fundraising events rely on individuals writing checks. Who do you know now that is not in recession-mode and cutting back their personal expenditures?
3. Most nonprofits also rely on some form of competitive government grants. Those governmental funding agencies are also looking for places to cut and many intend to cut back on the quantity and amounts of grants they issue.
4. For nonprofits, while trimming back budgets and options is standard operating procedure, the demand for their services is on the increase.

I’m getting three times the usual number of phone calls and emails from both established and upstart nonprofits. And this time they’re not just looking for funding opportunities they are fighting for survival. There is no doubt that the business of giving is going to undergo a systemic shift. Competition for grant funds will be more fiercely competitive. Those who work with and for charities and nonprofits need to be braced to react to those shifts. Here are the five most common tips he gives to those preparing a grant proposal :

1) REMEMBER THAT MOST GRANT PROPOSALS ARE LOST BEFORE THE ACTUAL WRITING BEGINS

Program design – that is, doing your homework about the funding agency and the critical need for the program in your area and then strategically planning a competitive and compelling program – is the first, and most overlooked, step that needs to take place before the actual writing of the grant occurs. This program design process takes a good or above average grant idea and structures it into an excellent program design that wins grant money. Those applying for grants need to retool their gray matter; that is reverse engineer the way they’ve applied for grants in the past. They need to get it right, before they write.

More about this in my new book RIGHT BEFORE YOU WRITE: The Groundbreaking Process Used To Win More Than $385 Million In Competitive Grants.” www.SandyPointInk.com.

The second of the five most helpful tips I give grant applicants will appear here tomorrow.

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