Starting a nonprofit organization can be an inspiring way to give back to your community and help those in need. However, it is important to understand all of the steps involved in this process before moving forward.
Remember one important rule of thumb: "If you don't qualify, don't apply." Foundations that give to individuals have highly specific criteria. This article gives a typical breakdown for an individual project proposal.
The process of finding grants typically begins with prospect research. Foundations generally give based on subject and geographic region, so look for funders whose interests match your organization's mission, programs, populations served, and locations served.
Here are some ways you can get an organization's tax filings. Please note, there can be a 12-18 month lag period between the end of an organization's fiscal year and when its latest Form 990 is available online.
Nonprofits have different budgets for different needs. Although most of Foundation Center's budget resources are for proposal budgets, this article provide brief information about other budgeting tools, such as organizational operating budgets and cash flow forecasts.
The cover letter often is your proposal's first chance to connect your project with the reader's philanthropic mission. It goes on top of a proposal, but it is not the same as an executive summary, which states your proposal's key points.
Most forms of assistance for housing, medical bills, or other personal expenses such as debt relief will come from charitable organizations or government assistance programs, rather than grants from foundations.
We do not give grants, recommend specific funders, or approach them on your behalf, but we can point you to information that should help. Often, the most effective method to raise funds quickly is to ask for help from the community.
A foundation is a non-governmental entity that is established as a nonprofit corporation or a charitable trust, with a principal purpose of making grants to unrelated organizations, institutions, or individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes.
Individual donations, corporate contributions, foundation grants and fee for services are some of many sources of income for nonprofits. While opinion varies as to what a nonprofit's "ideal" mix is, utilizing several diverse sources to achieve sustainability is generally a good practice.
Personal or independent projects -- for example, traveling overseas for a mission, attending summer camp, raising money for a specific person in need -- typically are not eligible to receive foundation grants. However, if your project is an artistic or research-related endeavor, or its primary purpose is to serve a larger audience and improve the community, you could consider fiscal sponsorship as a means to qualify for foundation grants.
Fiscal sponsorship is a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This alternative to starting your own nonprofit allows you to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status.
Common grant application formats have been adopted by groups of grantmakers to allow grant applicants to produce a single, standardized proposal for those in a specific community of funders (usually along geographic lines).