Still More Myths About Grant Writing (continued from last blog)

8. Some professional fundraisers can raise grant money “guaranteed.”

Anyone who guarantees that they can obtain grants for your organization had better be speaking in colloquial terms.  If someone pitches to your organization that they can actually guarantee raising your organization money – be very leery.  While most strong nonprofits have excellent chances at raising grant money – there are no guarantees.  This is why any fundraising process must be long-term.  An organizational investment in the process must be made.

9. Grants are just for start-up nonprofit organizations.

No.  Do not leave potential donations on the table.  If your organization is raising money in many methods but not grant writing, ask yourselves ‘why’ and learn about it.  Consider doing it!  Grant writing’s cost/benefit ratio, when the program is well managed, is excellent.

10. Start-up nonprofit organizations should only try to raise grant donations.

Any support that you raise at this stage of the organization will pay off in spades if you maintain it well – into the organization’s future.  Go from thinking ‘start-up’ to thinking ‘long-term.’  Diversified fundraising provides more safety and security to your organization’s financial future.

11. Public relations isn’t important to our raising grant money.

Control what others are saying about your organization by disseminating your strong track record and successes.  Be sure that your board is telling friends and colleagues why they volunteer with your organization.  Provide clients, constituents, and potential donors with information.  Call the press after a big success or when you launch or break ground on  a new innovative initiative.  Grant donors are just like any other kind of donor.  They invest in successful organizations working for causes that they’re passionate about.  Get the word about your organization out there.

12. We board members and/or I, the executive director, can just take a leadership nonprofit position without being responsible/proactive about learning the latest in nonprofit governance, without understanding my legal and fiscal responsibilities to the organization, and without learning about fundraising and its latest paradigms.

Anyone working for a nonprofit whose leadership acts this way – be warned.  You are not working for a well-run or healthy organization.

13. Nonprofits are meek organizations that are lesser than ‘for-profits,’ provide an opportunity for people to contribute to their community, and hardly receive government oversight.  We can be lax and get away with stuff.

Read the latest press on Congress’ recent initiatives to increase American nonprofits’ reporting to the federal government.  In particular, they want to oversee what percentage of funds raised is going to your mission’s programs, and whether you’re legally and professionally accounting for your receipts and costs.  Meanwhile, donors are smarter and more proactive today.

14. Straying from our mission statement (or the scope of its work) is OK.  Nobody will know or care.  We can still raise donations, including grants.

Nonprofits succeed with community support – not in a vacuum.  Your reputation is everything in fundraising, let alone grant writing.  If you aren’t on your mission statement’s message, why are you still operating?  Either correct the scope of your work, close shop, or reorganize as a new agency with a new mission statement.

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Recent grants received by our clients include:

$224,000 for a chain of private schools - for renovations of buildings and playgrounds, computer hardware, and tuition assistance

$68,000 for a shelter for children and families affected by homelessness - for general operating expenses

$32,000 for an organization that provides programs for abused and neglected children - for a program that provides temporary shelter for children removed from their homes by CPS

$30,000 for a mental health advocacy agency - for a program that teaches children how to avoid becoming victims of violence

$30,000 for an organization that meets the critical needs of homeless children - for products for homeless children

$25,000 for a domestic violence agency - for general operating expenses

$25,000 for an organization that provides housing for the homeless - $15,000 for general operating expenses and $10,000 for an employment initiative

$20,000 for an agency that empowers inner-city residents to fight crime on the street - for general operating expenses

$12,500 for an organization that provides last wishes and gift for children terminally ill with cancer - for general operating expenses

Murray Covens, Principalmurraycovens@northtexasnonprofitresources.org

North Texas Nonprofit Resources

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