Nonprofit fundraising requires a strategic mix of contributors. The key to getting support is finding foundation grants that align with your nonprofit’s vision. All foundations have an agenda and a vision. It is your job to research their giving history and preferences to determine whether your program fits a foundation’s agenda. While it is true that foundations make contributions, remember that foundation grants are directed by groups of individuals. You have to sow your strengths and accomplishments to win them over.
Align with the Foundation‘s Schedule – When looking to research foundation grants, it is important to make sure that the foundations that you are approaching are looking for programs to support. Many foundations already have charities that they support on an ongoing basis. These charitable foundations may not have an interest in supporting or developing new programs. Even if the foundation aligns with your vision they may not be looking for new programs at this time.
Making High Level Contacts – In today’s markets, networking is a key advantage to becoming successful. Networking provides visionaries with the opportunity to leverage strengths. It is not always easy to establish personal relationships with foundation board members. On the other hand, individuals with already established relationships may find that getting a foundation’s help in developing a winning program is a simple request. If you participate in social networking groups like LinkedIn, you may find associates that can help you with a strategic introduction or two. Other groups or service organizations like Rotary International can also be a good source of foundation contacts. Be sure to water those seeds.
Foundation Categories – The different types of foundations include family, private, community and operating foundations, and charitable gift funds. Family foundations are typically a private entity that is endowed by an individual or family. Family foundations are designed for the charitable purpose specified by the donor family. Private foundation grants are from entities that are privately held, yet governed by a board of directors. Private foundations provide charitable support to individuals and organizations. Community foundations are generally established to identify and support the community’s needs. Community foundation grants are from entities funded by both individual and corporate support and are directed by a board. Their grant recipients tend to be charities that are active in their local community. Operating foundations are usually established to address a specific area of research or charity that the foundation’s staff is actively administering like health-science or education. Charitable gift funds are a newcomer to the foundation field. These gift funds enable individuals to establish an invested fund that can be used to direct qualified contributions to the individual’s charity of choice.
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