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How to Prioritize Your Potential Private Funders and Grant Applications

3 of 9 in Series: The Essentials of Finding and Applying for a Grant

After you identify the potential private funders that are the best fit for your program, you need to determine which funders get your attention first. Prioritize the funders to whom you want to submit an application:

  1. Contact each funding source (via e-mail, letter, or phone call) and ask to be included in the funder’s mailing list.

    Being on a mailing list normally means that you get annual reports, grant-making guidelines, research, and other information that keeps you up-to-date.

  2. Organize your potential foundation and corporate sources by the application due dates.

    Some private sector funders have only once-yearly competitions. You could be a few weeks or many months away from the annual date for grant submissions. After all your hard work, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to get a grant funded because you submitted your application late.

    Develop a good filing system for applications and for funder information, in general. Use a separate folder for each funder. You should have massive amounts of information at this point, and keeping everything in order is crucial. Sorting things by due date helps you anticipate how much work you’ll have in any given month.

  3. When you’re ready to write, focus on the proposals and applications that have due dates in 60 days or less.

  4. Single out the foundation and corporate funders who accept generic National Network of Grantmakers or regional common grant format applications anytime during the year.

    These grants are normally fairly easy to write. Because the National Network of Grantmakers (or NNG) template format captures all the most critical grant applicant and project-related information, grant writing veterans have been using this easy five-page narrative format for years. It’s the best way to apply for grants from corporations and foundations that accept unsolicited proposals but don’t have their own specific grant application formatting guidelines.

    Although the NNG Web site is no longer active, the Common Grant Application Form can be found by doing an Internet search for “NNG Common Grant Application.”

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