grants and opportunities, nonprofit development

What percentage of your nonprofit budget should be supported by grants?

What percentage of your nonprofit budget should be supported by grants? Unfortunately the answer is not as high as you likely thought it would be. According to the Foundation Center, one of the largest and most reliable resources regarding nonprofit data and information, the answer to this question is less than 20%!

screenshot sources of funding

According to this research, conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, foundation grants accounted for only 15% of total charitable giving in 2014. Thus, your nonprofit budget should reflect these proportions accordingly. Expecting 50% or more of your organization to be supported by grants in most cases is simply unrealistic and not sustainable.

KEY POINT

You cannot rely on grants to support and maintain your nonprofit organization!

In my work at Greater Good Consultants, I receive daily requests from ambitious nonprofit start up founders. They have noble missions, a passionate heart, and dedication to their field. Yet many of them are mistaken in thinking they can use grants to support the entirety of their nonprofit start up. As evidenced above, this is simply not the case.

When starting a nonprofit, it is always my suggestion to clients to not count on any grants! If you can’t get it done out of your own pocket, then don’t do it. When planning for your budget, at a minimum 75% of your projected revenue should come from earned income streams such as contracts, merchandise purchases, fees for service, etc., as well as individual donors. Nonprofits that rely on grant funding, particularly those that are smaller, just starting out, and with no proven track record often fumble and struggle to make it through the first year. Sadly, many fail within the first few months. So what is a start-up nonprofit to do? Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature my top suggestions for funding small start up nonprofits.

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nonprofit development, writing

Write better, right now

The importance of good writing cannot be underestimated. Does your writing stand out from the crowd? If not you may be missing out on countless opportunities to develop and cultivate your nonprofit.

When it comes to writing – letters of inquiry, grant proposals, or even your nonprofit website content – it HAS to be good. Your writing is often the first and and only chance you have to capture the attention of potential partners, clients, and donors. If your writing is not strong, it is a sure-fire way to be overlooked and underfunded. Fortunately, there are five simple and easy ways that you can vastly improve your writing abilities. No matter what you are writing, here’s how to do it better, right now:

  1. Delete that and the: These words are almost always useless. Remove them to instantly make your writing more concise.
  2. Do not use I: In fact, do not use any pronouns (me, us, them, etc).
  3. Remove ‘-ing’: Write in the now, not in the ‘-ing’.
  4. Keep it short: Is your sentence 10 words long? Get it to 5. Challenge yourself to cut it in half, every time. Chances are you have a lot of junk in there. Take it out and your writing will sing a new tune.
  5. Don’t use fluff: Don’t use dilute adjectives – use the real numbers or examples to say what you mean. Don’t have real numbers or examples? Then don’t write it.

 

That’s it! By implementing the simple suggestions, you will immediately be a better writer. Do yourself a favor and check your website content, letters, and any other professional writings. Chances are they are in need of revision 😀  Not sure if your writing is as compelling as it could be? I am always happy to provide a free consultation, so get in touch! The success of your nonprofit depends on it.

federal grants, grant research, grants and opportunities

How to use grants.gov

Thinking of applying for a federal grant? Like all potential grant applications, it is essential to do your research first. Finding the right fit is the first and most important step in grantseeking, and fortunately the federal government has streamlined the grant research process for you. All grant opportunities sponsored by any federal entity are listed in a single place – grants.gov. From the EPA to NIH, DOE to USDA, it is all in one place, saving you the hassle and time of searching through each organization’s website. Check out this simple instructional video to get started using grants.gov today!

Think you have found a good fit? We are always happy to offer a free consultation. Get in touch!

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We’re moving! plus new blog for grant writing tips, tricks, and resources

As many of you know (and have helped out with!), I have been developing a STEM career exploration project. I am very excited to announce that a beta version of the website is finally ready! Please check it out here, and share your feedback!

The new website has its own blog, which will feature the latest in STEM education, educational technology, and career and technical education. This page will now become the blog for the CareerInSTEM parent company, Greater Good Consultants LLC, featuring grant writing tips, tricks, and resources. We hope you will continue to follow us here, as well as join in the conversation at the new CareerInSTEM blog!

As our programs continue to grow and expand, so too has our need for support. Below is a list of available opportunities within Greater Good Consultants:

  • marketing/advertising intern
  • computer science/programming intern
  • education intern (preference for those with a middle/high school interest)

If you or anyone you know may be interested, please get in touch! Thank you!