Looking for advice on grantseeking?
Grantseeking Tips from the McElroy Trust:
- Mission match first. At the McElroy Trust we only fund projects that help young people; that’s our mission. One of the most important aspects of grantseeking is understanding how your mission, strategy and approach CONNECT with the mission, strategy and approach of the funder. We are looking for projects that inspire young people and projects that help young people transform themselves; that’s our strategy. When you send a request, it’s a good idea to tell us how your project matches with the McElroy Trust’s mission and strategy.
Follow the guidelines. Grantmakers have rules. These rules are meant to help the funder process dozens of applications that are received. (At the McElroy Trust we receive about 130 applications per year!). Sometimes funder rules seem arbitrary and maybe even silly. At the McElroy Trust we’ve tried to make the process as easy as possible, and have eliminated most of the rules. But, there are still a few rules we ask you to follow. Most importantly, please keep your request to one page and make sure you use a font that it is big enough for us to read!
Write for people. Foundations can seem like foreboding institutions, but remember, your proposal is always read by real people. Write your letter of request so that is easy to read and understand. Your letter of request is a way to teach us about your project. It’s not a research paper and doesn’t have to follow those rules. We invite you to use bullet points, bold and underline, metaphors, pictures, diagrams, stories, and numbers. Please don’t use acronyms or jargon.
Some helpful links
– Guidestar Blog “questions I’m most often asked about winning foundation grants.” by Martin Teitel.
Grantspace provides tools and resources to help you with applications and finding funders.
Metro Funders: Metro Funders is a voluntary alliance of Black Hawk County public and private grant-makers originally formed in 1989. Its main purpose is to collect information, provide funding coordination, and prioritize information for grant making and develop financial resources for nonprofit service providers (grant seekers). Metro Funders meets every other month to discuss funding issues, needs and requests in the Cedar Valley.
Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association: The mission of CVNA is to energize a collective power in the nonprofit community to build and catalyze resources to solve problems. We serve a broad range of nonprofit organizations focused in education, elder care, youth services, environment, health, arts, culture and beyond. Through our newsletter, events and information-sharing website, we hope to encourage research, reflection and growth of nonprofit executives, organizations and the sector as a whole. We invite staff members, board members, volunteers and community members to join our website. Connecting individuals and organizations within the nonprofit sector will create a stronger Cedar Valley community.