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Your Fundraising Plan—More than Grants

posted Jun 24, 2013, 9:43 AM by Rebecca Baumann
Many new clients ask if I write grants.  The simple answer is, “Yes.”  The best answer is, “How does grant funding fit into your overall fundraising plan?”

Foundations are required to give away five percent or more of their net investment assets in order to avoid paying excise taxes.   However, they can decide the conditions and purpose of their grant disbursements. Grants are not a guaranteed source of income; even if you believe you match their guidelines perfectly.  Grant funding is slow and generally requires six months to a year to obtain funding.  There is no guarantee if you do receive funding that you will receive the full requested amount, and repeat funding may be prohibited.

You should, however, be aware of foundations that provide funding in your area and for your type of nonprofit; and writing grants definitely should be a part of your overall plan.

You cannot eat only one food and expect your body to receive all of the nutrients it needs.  Every financial planner will recommend diversifying your investments. And every wise and stable nonprofit will have a diversified funding plan.  An exclusive diet of grant funding is unbalanced and risks future financial emergencies.

Healthy nonprofits have a robust donor base and have learned how to engage and grow their personal donations.  Whenever possible, consider your earned income opportunities.  Yes, you can sell services and products that are relevant or related to your mission.

Fundraising events should be carefully studied to determine the real cost, the real profit, and the real reason for the event.  Hopefully your event actually shows a profit and is worth all of the time and effort.  If it only breaks even, or, heaven forbid, it loses money; has it at least been a good marketing tool or friend raising event?

Write those grants—yes; but don’t neglect other dependable and longer lasting income streams. 

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