Sometimes grant writing and fundraising can feel a bit monotonous. Year-after-year, campaign-after-campaign... it's the same old thing. It's easy to fall into a repetitive cycle of ask-receive-process-repeat. But like any relationship that gets stale, your donors may soon start to notice the sparkly, shiny, interesting nonprofit catching their eye across the room.
So how can you avoid the same-old approach?
Update Your Content
One of the fastest and easiest ways to refresh your grant strategy is to update your content. Many grant writers use boilerplate content to fill in components of applications that may not change frequently. Things like your mission statement, history, and basic program descriptions. But consider this content to have a one-year shelf life. Even a slight rewording will give your narrative a much-needed update and provide a breath of fresh air to your repeat grant applications.
Got writer's block? Ask a colleague to explain the organization's mission and programs to you without using marketing's standard responses. Listen to their description and use their vision of what your nonprofit does to inspire your update.
Connect with Grant-Makers in a New Way
In old-fashioned fundraising, donors wrote checks to nonprofits. Those nonprofits sent a form receipt to the donor with a thank you note. And then the donor didn't hear from the nonprofit again until it was time to make another gift. Those days are long gone. Today, donors want to have a relationship with the nonprofits they support. They want to feel as though they are part of the mission and making a difference beyond the transaction at gift-giving time. The same is true for many grant-making foundations. Look for opportunities in your stewardship calendar to connect grant administrators with your organization's work. Not sure if they'd be interested? Call and ask. Tell them you'd like to make them more a part of what you do and ask how they'd like to be engaged.
Easy ways to connect with grant-makers:
Follow the foundation on social media and tag them when appropriate
Share relevant content related to your mission and their philanthropic interests
Invite them to participate in webinars, forums, or presentations as subject matter experts
Invite them to your organization's events, particularly when those events include clients
Subscribe to their blog and/or e-newsletter
Send quarterly, personalized, candid update letters (not emails! Everyone's inbox is full!) and, when possible, note how their support has made a difference in your progress.
Expand Your Network
We've all heard it before: Fundraising is more about who you know than what you know. Expanding your network is an effective way to bring some fresh opportunities into your grant writing strategy. Consider your "dream" foundation partners. Do your research and find out everything you can about the individuals connected with the organization. Pull IRS Form 990s and review their staff and Board of Directors. Then sit down with your Board, program staff, and key volunteers. Are there any connections? Who can introduce you to the grant administrator? Who can make a phone call to a Board member to learn more about the grant-maker's funding interests this year? A personal connection goes leaps and bounds above a cold call from a stranger.
Refresh Your Research Key Words
The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to take some time to assess your processes. Grant research keywords can get old quickly and lead to boring searches that yield few new results. But, with more than 141,000 private foundations in the US (and that number has been steadily on the rise), it's likely you've missed one or two. Refreshing your keywords can help you find new opportunities and expand your grant calendar.
Quick ways to refresh your keywords:
Talk to your coworkers and ask them to describe your nonprofit's mission, programs, clients, and impact. Take notes as they share and look for words you haven't used in research before.
Spend some time looking through the search functions of your online grant research databases. What terms do they use that are different from yours? Are there terms that mean the same thing but you've never tried? For example: Do you regularly use workforce development when job readiness may give you different results? Take those terms to Google or other online grant research databases.
Review the websites of your current foundation donors. Look at their philanthropic interests and their grant-making guidelines. Are there words here that could provide a new perspective?
Are there other nonprofits doing similar work? Take a few minutes to review their websites for new keyword options.
Navigating the world of grant writing can be tricky. An expert grant writer can help you find the right opportunities at the right time for your nonprofit's needs. Contact Just Write Grants today and let one of our grant writing experts help you save time, spend less, and raise more with affordable grant writing subscriptions. Click here to schedule your no-obligation intro call and we'll give you 30 minutes of custom grant research FREE.