There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations and more than 350,000 registered congregations in the United States, many of which exist for the purpose of helping those in need. Most of these organizations rely on donors to provide the funding they need to fulfill their missions. Many also look to state, federal or private grants for financial support. Unfortunately, most people are misinformed when it comes to the availability of grants to support charitable organizations.
While tens of billions of dollars in public and private grants are awarded each year to support nonprofit, community-based organizations, overall, only about 3 to 8 percent of all grant proposals submitted are funded. The reality is that most organizations that apply just aren’t ready to apply for and manage public and private funds. In other words, most organizations just aren’t “grant ready.”
Here are a few tips to tell whether or not your organization is ready to start applying for grants:
- First and foremost, your organization has to have its legal foundation in place. This includes having legal standing as a corporation and, most important, Internal Revenue Service designation as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Without these elements in place, an organization will be extremely limited in its ability to apply for grant dollars.
- Next, the organization has to have a track record of being able to achieve programmatic goals and objectives. If this is not the case, then, at the very least, the organization must have a very strong management team with individual track records of success.
- An organization also has to have strong community partnerships and a demonstrated ability to secure funds from non-grant sources.
While this is not a comprehensive list of requirements, having these elements in place at least puts your organization in a position where it can consider grants for financial support.