Grants for Non-Profits
Organization is the Key
Starting up a non-profit organization is the same as starting up a new business. The key to success is a solid original idea and a well thought out long-term plan; this is also the key to getting grants. The first thing you need to do is write up a business plan that answers the following questions: Do people need this new organization? Are there people who will support you? Where will you get the funding necessary to operate? Why are you the right person/people to do this project?
There are two major types of grants available to a non-profit organization. They are government grants and foundation grants, but the amount of money they contribute isn't as significant as people think. Foundation grants, for example, contribute less than 10% of all non-profit revenue. Grants can be a big help in starting, and continuing, a non-profit organization, but you can't rely on them as a major means of support.
It's not enough to come up with an excellent business plan, get the grant money you need to start the organization and then sit back and relax. It's imperative that you put together a new budget at least once a year. First of all, your board of directors would be happy to see it, and it's always helpful for you to see how things are going so you can improve future operations. But most importantly, if you're applying for continuing grants, organizational budgets are a necessity. The people giving you the grants need to see that you're using the money to achieve what you set out to do.