As nonprofits continue to proliferate and competition for limited grant money runs high, consider staying with local foundations. Applying for grants from local foundations—especially as a new nonprofit focused solely on serving one community—serves a number of purposes.
Why should you apply locally?
It’s easier to get your foot in the door with a small, local foundation than it is to try and break into a massive, national funder. You’re more likely to get the attention of a foundation working on a local level. It’s more realistic to set a meeting and shake their hands. It can be much more difficult to get face time with a much larger, more sophisticated foundation.
Larger foundations operating on a national scale will naturally receive more applications than the foundations that focus on a smaller geographic area. You’ll face less competition, which increases the odds of receiving the grant.
The power of connections
And locally, you’re more likely to find connections between your board and the foundation’s trustees, staff, and board. Those connections can go a long way, and may mean the foundation is looking at your application more closely. As much as we like to think that all competitions are entirely merit-based and that everyone is on a level playing field, that line of thinking ignores the inherent politics of foundation grantmaking. Let’s be honest: foundations have friends, and those friends are often first in line for money.
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