Make A Wish. Better Yet, Apply for A Grant - Part 1 of 2
“We need to do more fundraising and generate more revenue.” It’s a familiar refrain of organizations of all types and sizes. An often overlooked solution to the challenge is to seek funds for specific programs and projects by applying for grants.
Applying for grants can certainly sound like an overwhelming task, but it really doesn’t have to be. Our two-part series on how to break grant writing down into achievable steps will help pave the way for your Chamber.
Part I - Find Funding On Your Own
Sit down with your work associates and/or board members and ask these questions:
- Who are our vendors? Is there a local financial institution our Chamber uses?
- Who has given us in-kind contributions or monetary donations? Can we approach any of them to fund a project?
Once the list is complete, it’s time to take the next step.
Make a plan to meet with everyone on your list. Pay particular attention to banks; they often manage trust accounts. These trust accounts can be a relatively unknown source of grant money. If your bank or the businesses on your list don’t have the ability to grant funds, be sure and ask for suggestions on who might.
Socialize! Be wherever the influencers and people with access to grant monies are. Attend public (and private) events. Hand out business cards that explain what your Chamber is trying to accomplish along with your contact info.
Subscribe to grant funding resources. There are online groups of professional grant writers that network and share ideas.
Contact the closest university or large metro library. They typically have access to information about foundations that fund grants.
Leverage your relationship with local and regional media. Distribute a press release about your project and emphasize that you are seeking funding.
Call congressional representatives (and the governor). Educate them on your Chamber and what you are trying to accomplish. Request that they alert you about any government monies that could be a fit.
Talk to Economic Development Agencies and Community Foundations. Specifically ask about capacity building grants. Sometimes these provide for professional grant writing consultants (among a host of other great programs for fundraising).
Contact government funding agencies. The Freedom of Information Act allows you to request copies of funded grant applications. This is a great resource to learn how to write successful grants.
Are there programs similar to yours? Research what works and doesn’t work when applying for grants for organizations or programs like yours before you get too far into the process.
Finally, when researching, remember that “Cooperative Agreement” is another term for grant-type funding.
Stay tuned for Part II of the series on how to successfully draft and submit a grant request.
Intrigued on generating more revenue for your Chamber? Read our recent article on Generating Non-Dues Revenue »