We received this question on Twitter a while back regarding when to start writing grants, and wanted to post our comments here and expand on our thoughts.
Is it possible to start the grant writing process prior to actually being granted 501(c)3 status?
Writing your first grant
Our answer depends on what you mean by “starting the process.” If you intend to start the actual researching and writing of grants before you have your 501(c)3 status, that’s precipitous. The truth is you’re probably years away from writing your first grant. Unfortunately, most new nonprofits view grants as free, easy money, and plan to rely on them right out of the gate. Those people are setting themselves up for failure.
Preparations before you start
We define “starting the grant writing process” as preparing and positioning your nonprofit for grant success. This means building a strong, involved board of directors. It means beginning to evaluate your programs. You’ll also have to think about your long-term goals and how you will get there. It means hiring great staff who are experts at what they do. It means building multiple revenue streams for long-term sustainability. All of these things are essential for a strong grant proposal. We suggest having all these in place before looking into hiring a professional grant writer, researching grant prospects, and writing proposals. You’ll save yourself heaps of time and money.
Learn more about our grant writing services here.