A client approached us with an interesting question: Is it worth my while to go after small grants (around $1,000 to $10,000) if it’s going to cost me $500+ to have them submitted? She wondered if that money might be better spent on other fundraising streams that bring in more money.
We argued that even small grant awards are worth her money, and not just because we’re the ones getting paid to write them. Here’s why:
1. For new and small nonprofits, small grant awards are realistic goals. Generally, the larger the grant award, the more complex the application, the bigger the funder, and the greater the competition. Start small and get a few under your belt first, then work your way up as you grow.
2. Even small grant awards can leverage other funders, thus multiplying their “worth.” No foundation wants to get on board with a nonprofit unless they see other foundations making the same investment. It makes the overall investment more secure — and more convincing. So if you have a list of a handful of foundations supporting your nonprofit, even with small awards of around $5,000, more foundations will want to jump on board.
3. Get your foot in the door with a funder with a small grant award. Then, go back the next year and ask for more money. If you demonstrate in your grant report that you achieved your goals and ran an outstanding program, you will be in a good position to see your grant award grow year after year.
4. Smaller grants tend to be proportionally less complex, so they’ll likely take the grant writer less time to complete — thus costing your nonprofit less than a bigger ask on a more complex grant. There are certainly some exceptions to this, but generally your investment in grant writing services is proportional to the ask amount in the grant application.
So going after small grants are not a waste of time. As with any form of fundraising, grant writing can grow over time to include bigger funders and larger grants, but it takes time to get there. And you have to start somewhere.
Interested in learning more about our grant writing services? Contact us.