Knowing What Non-US Grant Funders Expect

By Beverly A. Browning

Most international grant funders (independent foundations and corporations) insist that you contact them via email or telephone to request their grant application guidelines and forms. Some may query you about your project, asking about location, population served, and what you intend to request from them.

Because the foundation landscape in Europe and the rest of the world is varied, the grant eligibility requirements and monetary differences from one country to the next also differ, making adherence to the procedures laid out by each foundation crucial. If you don’t follow the rules, you don’t get the grant — it’s that simple!

Adapting to submission differences

Do your homework before approaching a funder for support. Being prepared is the key to successful grant seeking. A few of the most important steps to take in advance:

  1. Find out the funder’s preferred language before you start writing.A Spanish funder may prefer to see applications in English as opposed to Spanish, for example.

    If the preferred language isn’t English, you may want to consider using a translating service after you’ve written your letter of inquiry or grant application in English.
    The quickest way to find a translating service is to conduct a general Internet search. Just type in Spanish translator or whatever language you need. This type of search finds translators for any language. Asking for references from the translators you find is always a good idea; that way, you get an idea of their work.

  2. Follow the recommended method of initial approach, which should be spelled out in the foundation summary you find during your research.

    Unless you’re directed otherwise, your first contact should be a well-written letter of inquiry.
    Keep in mind that spelling is one of the adjustments you have to make when approaching Europe- and Canada-based funding sources. Program may become programme, organization may become organisation, and center may become centre, just to name a few of the most common spelling quirks.

  3. Understand your lack of a competitive grant application advantage if your organization lacks fee-for-service revenues.

    Your organization will be in competition with organizations that have some form of fee-for-service income and an understanding of the accountability measurements adherent in social impact investing approaches that have been adopted by most international funders.

Preparing a non–US dollar budget

When you’re preparing the budget section of your international funding request, write it first (in draft form, of course) using US currency for all the monetary figures. Then prepare a budget page and budget narrative detail using the currency for the grant maker’s country.

Following are just a few of the various monetary conversion websites out there, so let your fingers do the typing to convert US dollars (USD) to British pounds or any other type of currency desired:

Make sure your conversion is accurate, or you may be shortchanged if you win the grant.