Nonprofit grants for your community organization

Nonprofit grants are an important source of funding for community organization development. They are definitely worth jumping through all of the hoops.

Government Grants

Almost every government in the world has grants schemes that can help community organization development. These nonprofit grants are normally for big development projects such as new premises or other new facilities that will benefit your members and the wider community. Other grant schemes are designed to help you start up new programs that help people in your community. Search your governments website to see what is available, or simply call them up so that someone can point you in the right direction. In the US check out Government Grants for further information. In the UK check out the Home and Community section on the DirectGov site.

You will rarely get non profit grants that will cover the total capital expenditure of your project and in most cases youll be asked to put up a significant portion of the funds. The best schemes will fund 85% of the cost but the normal is 50%-60%.

In some countries its only government bodies that administer these schemes but in others the government will license public companies to execute some of the schemes as well. Many licensed Lottery companies administer nonprofit grants schemes on behalf of their government. Regardless of who administers the scheme you can be sure there will be a lot of red tape and hoops to jump through! It is worth it though.

In my experience very few of these administrating companies (or government departments) are well organized. What that means is that you should keep a record of everything you sent to them, when you sent it. Make hard copies of all documents you have passed to them. If it is practical hand-deliver any of the documents, do so and be sure to get a receipt for it. Its not that they are trying to trip you up; it just speeds up the process a bit because theyll be more diligent when they realize that you are on top of your end of the bargain. If youre not, you can be guaranteed that theyll not bother looking too hard for something theyve misplaced, but instead theyll ask you to re-send it.

Aim to always deal with the same person. Build a good relationship with them as this makes a big difference to how quickly each stage of your application is processed. Above all, remain pleasant to them even when they are not performing at their best!

Most law offices will have someone who is familiar with nonprofit grants applications so it pays to have at least one consultation with that person. It is especially beneficial when you are completing the initial application so that you answer the questions in such a way as to maximize your eligibility. Of course, youll know by reading the schemes literature whether or not, but mostly the percentage theyll fund depends on how good a fit your organization is to its best to enlist the help of an expert. Itll be a good investment.

Check if any of your members have contacts in the Law business. Another way to get some discount is to use a Law office who has people sympathetic to your type of organization or even get a referral from another organization, similar to your own, that has already received a grant.

Local Authority Grants

This is a source of nonprofit grants often overlooked by most community organizations. Local authorities are essentially local government but they have their own budgets and administer their own grant programs. The problem is that local authorities don't tend to put a lot of effort into advertising their schemes so the best thing to do is contact them and ask what is available. Do this every couple of months, as the schemes tend to be short and sporadic. Sometimes its the case that they simply need to use their budget or loose it the following year, so check more frequently coming up to their financial year end. Local authority nonprofit grants tend to be small but easy to get. Don't let it go by default.

Foundations

Today all across the world there are more millionaires than at any time in history. Rather than give directly to charities and non-profits, some people give to what is called foundations. These foundations distribute the money but normally its only to charities. However its worth having a look for community based foundations either in your area or just foundations that give to community organizations. The internet is the best place to find these.

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