Whether you're starting a nonprofit organization or joining one that's already in operation, you'll need to find creative ways to fund it to accomplish the work that supports its mission. The following information provides guidance that will help you work toward ensuring finiancial support for your organization.
The first thing that you want to do is prospect grants. Grants generally come from foundations, the government and corporations.Try seeking funding from foundations first. A good place to find foundation grants is Foundation Center. Foundations are designed especially for the purpose of philanthropy and generally give you all the information you need for a smooth application process. If you're ready to start looking at government grants, go to grants.gov or cfda.gov; they have many grants to search through. Corporate granting guidelines are usually on the website of the corporation, if offered. Check out the sites of some of the larger corporations in your area to learn what they're willing to support.
Once you've begun the prospecting process, prepare a database that will track your data. You should be recording the sources, contact information, grant amounts, deadlines, follow up and all other relevant information. If you have more than one person writing the grants, make sure you record that, too.
Once you've gathered information on all of your sources, you can begin to write. If you're not a skilled writer, hire a grant writer. They're expensive, but are worth the cost. If you feel comfortable writing the grant yourself, give it a try. It helps to have someone do the writing who is very familiar with the program and has a passion for your mission. Typically, the application is self explanatory. Complete all sections by providing the information requested. You may be required to provide information about the mission and goals of the organization, the population served, the benefits to the community and the organization's financial outlook.