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How to Seek General Operating Support for Your Nonprofit

If you’re seeking funds for general operating support, your proposal needs to make an argument for the work of the entire nonprofit rather than for a specific project. In this type of request, some of the information about current activities, which is often included in the introduction or background information sections, should be moved to the methods section.

The grantmaking organization judges the application based on overall organizational strength and the nonprofit’s role in its field.

If you’re tailoring a proposal for general operating support, consider the following:

  • Prepare an introduction that covers the agency’s purpose, goals, and current programs. Describe its leadership (board and staff) and its history.

  • In the statement of need, describe current challenges the organization faces as it works to fulfill its mission.

  • When preparing the section on goals, objectives, and outcomes, address the external goals (how the nonprofit plans to serve its constituents) and internal goals (such as training the board of directors to fundraise).

  • Use the methods section to describe the agency’s planned activities for the year ahead.

  • In the evaluation section, describe various means the agency uses to assess and improve its programs.

  • Include the entire annual budget for the organization in lieu of a project budget.

  • In the sustainability section, briefly describe fundraising or earned income areas the organization is working to increase.

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