Nonprofit organizations provide vital services to society. They address and fill needs that might not be filled by for-profit companies and organizations. Like any start up organization, however, funding needs to be found. That funding usually comes in the form of start up grants and foundations. Because of intense competition for grants, preparation and care need to be used in the application process.
Government grants are provided to a wide variety of organizations, ranging from government entities to educational institutions and to nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations do not have to have an Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) exemption status to qualify for some of the grants. While some of the government grants are for use with companies that are already established, others, such as the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, are set up to help nonprofit organizations in a rural environment provide training and education to the local population.
Nonprofit organizations can apply for grants that coincide with the business of the organization. As an example, a nonprofit organization that helps out teenage mothers might find themselves able to apply for a grant from the Center for Disease Control to assist in tracking and maintaining data on pregnancies within various groups. In providing such grants, the CDC is able to get important data without having to send out survey teams around the country. The cost of the grant is less than it would cost for those teams to be used.
Another source of funding for a nonprofit organization can be found in fellowships. Fellowships are usually awarded to individuals rather than organizations. Individuals within a nonprofit’s leadership can be granted a fellowship, such as those provided by the Echoing Green organization. By receiving a fellowship, individuals within a nonprofit can have salary and expenses met without resorting to finances from within the nonprofit itself.
In addition to startup grants when beginning a nonprofit organization, there are social investment funds available. Some of these operate without need for repayment, while others are set up as low-interest loans. For example, the Draper Richards Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship provides grants of $300,000 over a three-year timetable to social entrepreneurs who meet their guidelines.
When applying for a grant, the nonprofit organization needs to spend time in preparing and planning what needs to be said. Grants are in high demand and an organization needs to come across as professional and thorough. In the application, there should be shown a definite need for the nonprofit to begin operation. The application and proposal need to be professional, must contain solid information and should be written in an active voice.