Targeted Nonprofit Fundraising to Major Donors

Ideally, a nonprofit business plan, like a good investment portfolio, will be diversified. That means it gets its support from a wide range of donors. But some nonprofits, because of the kind of work they do, rely very heavily on one or two major foundations for their support, which is okay.

However, if you plan to get the majority of your funding from one or two foundations, make sure you know everything you can in advance about the criteria they use.

Fortunately, most major charitable foundations have very specific guidelines posted on their website. After all, they want to make sure that nonprofits with a good idea do their homework before submitting a grant application. Review those guidelines very carefully as you craft your business plan. You may be able to lift chunks of your plan into the grant application, saving you time and speeding the process of getting money.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for example, is best known for its efforts to improve global health. But the foundation also offers a variety of grants in its own backyard to improve the lives of people in the Pacific Northwest. What are they looking for? The foundation’s website answers that question in detail. The foundation’s criteria for projects or programs seeking grants include

  • Programs should be ready to implement immediately.

  • Short-term positive impact should occur within 6 to 12 months, with longer-term results later.

  • A program must have multiple funding sources.

  • Start-up and demonstration projects must be carefully designed and completely planned.

  • Programs should form partnerships with other public or private funders.

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