We’ve all been told the importance of multiple streams of income. This is true in every sector. Consider a retail store with only one customer, a governmental agency that relies only on the state, or a non-profit that has a single grant. They are within one course change of failing.
According to Robert Kiyosaki, “It’s more important to grow your income than cut your expenses. It’s more important to grow your spirit than cut your dreams.” Achieving your funding goals, whatever they are, can’t be achieved by cutting. Rather, they are achieved by developing a grant strategy that builds relationships with multiple funders. Here are some approaches to expand your grant funding by expanding your pool of potential funding agencies.
(1) Who Benefits?
Non-profits often have a list of programs and goals they want to achieve. Each should be examined for the potential relationships it represents. Begin with the question “Who benefits from being associated with each of your programs?” Make a list whether it’s by name or by type of organization. For example, if your program helps senior citizens, what organizations want to be seen as responsive to the needs of seniors?
(2) Who Else Benefits?
Also think about, and list, those who benefit from being part of a team working toward solving the same problem, Some of the seniors you’re serving are likely to be members of other special interest groups such as veterans. Organize your list to allow for cross-promotion. For example, if you are looking for a grant to install a community garden for seniors, look also for grants related to services for wounded warriors, funds to support intergenerational projects and/or funds to teach trade skills to low-income or young people.
As you put together a list of potential funders, be cognizant of competitors. You are building relationships. For example, Coke and Pepsi may both be interested in working with youth but may be averse to funding the same organization.
(3) Prioritize and Approach
Rank the identified organizations. Place the ones who most resonate with the program at the top. Approach them first. Once engaged, you can leverage their involvement with the other identified organizations. Support from one funder will also help you with matching funds requirements from another. Often you can use funds from existing grants to match a new grant.
(4) Cross-Fertilize to Build Your Funding Network
Don’t forget about extending relationships to build new ones. Introduce funding organizations to each other and include them all in events, strategy sessions, news releases, etc. Developing an image for these organizations as the champions of your specific cause can enhance their ownership of the program, build peer pressure if one is uncertain about continuing their funding, and encourage long-term funding for our efforts. They may even encourage you to expand certain aspects.
(5) Spread your Network over Time
As you craft your grant strategy, consider timing. You want to stagger your grant cycles with the various funders so you have a continuous flow of resources. Having an ending date of December 31 for all grants - even if you’ve built strong relationships - can still result in programmatic concerns.
If you would like help crafting a sustainable multiple stream of income scenario for your organization, please contact TheGrantHelpers.com. We have the experience to provide you with a road map for success. Grow your spirit. Don’t cut your dreams.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond