Foundation grant funding can play an important role in your organization’s overall funding mix. Do you have the necessary documents and components in place in order to be successful? Foundations look for proof your mission matters in your community, your ability to successfully manage a grant, and your history of making a difference.
Before you launch into the foundation application process, make sure you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:
- Do you have the following Documents?
- 501c(3) designation letter from IRS – or access to a fiscal agent
- Current registration with your local Attorney General’s Office and
- Current registration with your local Sec of State’s Office
- Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
- A list of governing board w/each trustee’s affiliations
- Current Annual Operating Budget
- Program or project budget (if applicable)
- Most recent Form 990
- Most Recent Audited financials
- Resumes of key staff of the agency AND key staff involved in the delivery of the project/program
- If requested for grant applications, can you obtain letters of support?
- Testimonials from the clients you serve
- Can you demonstrate the difference your program makes in the community? Explain why the difference you make is important.
- Do you have a clearly defined Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan for the organization?
- Has your organization operated “in the black” for 3-5 years?
- Do you have organizational goals and objectives?
- Do you have an involved, engaged Board of Directors? Is 100% of your board financially supporting the mission of the agency? If asked, can you report the total value of board contributions by year?
- What experience does your organization have that qualifies you to successfully do this work?
- List any special qualifications, certifications or accreditations your organization has that proves your credibility
- State your capacity to do the work and any history of implementing similar projects/programs
- Who are the personnel associated with the implementation of the project and, why are they qualified?
- What are the current sources of funding for your organization as a whole? Can you produce a list of major contributions by year, by donor and amount?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you are well on your way to being ready to pursue grant funding for your organization. If you can’t answer ‘yes’, you know where you need to concentrate your efforts.
As I mentioned earlier, foundation funding can be an important source of income for your organization but know that the competition is stiff. Do your homework; study their guidelines and follow them. Use the information you’ve gathered above to prove your organization is worthy of their consideration and their funding.
Foundation funding made up approximately 15% of all contributions, according to the 2014 Giving USA report. Organizations that prove they make a difference and have all the required components in place will be the recipients. Your organization can be one of them.