Oh yes, with a little work most of us can come up with a list of foundations that fund nonprofits, foundations that if they are not in our neighborhood, are at least in our region. But that’s not enough.
Pick one on your list. It could be just the right one for you. But maybe it is the wrong one. And for the foundation, maybe you are just the right organization to apply to them for funding, or the wrong one. The word is fit. Does the organization you represent and its proposed project fit with the kind of nonprofits and efforts they usually fund? If you are looking for money for your operating budget and they don’t fund operations, wrong! If you are a faith-based organization, and they fund faith-based organizations, well maybe there is a fit. What is your mission – youth, homelessness, global outreach, etc.? Does it fit with the kinds of faith-based organizations they fund? And what about your project as a fit with the kinds of projects they fund? Is it a capital project, program expansion, equipment request, or operating budget money?
It all begins with fit – the right foundation, the right organization, the right project.
The place to start is a careful examination of a foundation’s website. You should find out there whether or not there is a fit. If it is still a bit foggy, call the foundation. I did that the other day, not sure if they would fund a project for one of my clients. Was I a bit nervous – me, the former foundation program director? Yes, of course. Did I get my answers? Yes. Was there a fit? Yes. Did I write a proposal? Yes. Did we get funded? Yes, for $50,000. But on another try, our timing was off. By the time they would entertain a proposal, our project would be complete. Even timing is part of the fit.
So research is the key to discovering whether or not you have the right fit with a foundation. That’s where it all begins. Get started now!
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