We often hear from new nonprofits that have only been around for a year or so. They’ve asked good questions about how they can secure grant money for their start-up.
But here’s the thing. While there are some things a new nonprofit can do to be competitive in the grant process, the vast majority will benefit more from focusing on building name recognition, setting up programs, holding fundraising events, and just becoming sustainable. Funders will want to see that their money isn’t going to be wasted on a nonprofit that might fold before that money has a chance to make an impact.
Grant applications can be extraordinarily detailed. The funders want to know everything about how you plan to make the project sustainable over the long term, what measurable outcomes you expect to see, even the qualifications of the people involved in implementing the project. They may ask about the start dates of the program, what community partners you have on board, and your rationale for starting the program.
Sometimes these are things that new nonprofits haven’t begun to think about–or if they have, they haven’t thought of how to articulate them clearly.
New nonprofits should not rush into grant writing. But there are some things they can learn just by looking at some grant applications. We suggest you take a look at some applications as you’re developing your programs, so you know what details to build in before you ever start writing grants.
Still want to write a grant for your new nonprofit? Check out my advice for first time grant seekers.