How to Obtain Grants for Nonprofit Organizations in the US

You need to conduct thorough research for nonprofit grants in order to learn which options are available to you. Carefully note the application requirements and other pertinent details.

Nonprofits need funding to support their programs. The process is called fundraising and involves soliciting monetary contributions. Primary sources are wealthy individuals, private or corporate philanthropies and nonprofit grants.

Preconditions for Grants

In the United States, majority of nonprofit start-ups get donations from people and special events. It is very rare to acquire nonprofit grants from government agencies. An organization may become eligible for program-related endowment and humanitarian donations. However, program officers impose stringent requirements such as credible reputation, proven accomplishments and tested management system. The board of nonprofit institutions should be resourceful enough to find ways and means of financial support.

Government Grants

The US Federal Government provides nonprofit grants but it is a tedious process. Organizations that wish to avail of such subsidies can check the official government website for accurate information on federal funding. Grants.gov is under the supervision and control of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

Nonprofits looking for nonprofit grants will find a broad database of over 1, 000 grant programs managed by some 26 federal grant-making bureaus or agencies. You can search according to specific category, agency, qualifications, and Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers. CFDA makes available a complete list of all federal programs offered to local and state governments. This category includes the following:

  • District of Columbia
  • Indian tribal groups recognized by the federal government
  • Territories and possessions of the US
  • Domestic public, quasi-public and private profit/nonprofit entities
  • Specialized groups
  • Private citizens

Grants.gov gives a synopsis of the procedures in applying for nonprofit grants. It also answers and inquiries from nonprofit organizations. Institutions and individuals are required to register before filing their application for subsidies. There is also information available from the Federal Register, the official journal of the US Government that contains policies of different government agencies, proposed regulations and public notices.

Federal Funding

Federal financiers normally favor projects which are prototypes that other groups can emulate. On the other hand, local funders need strong proof of community backing for a particular project. Almost all government nonprofit grants are bestowed on eligible organizations and not to persons. Grants are audited and requirements should be complete.
It is important to conduct research on funding opportunities carefully. Record all details about the program such as application instructions; schedules for submissions and notifications; review process and timelines; agency contacts; and, previous grants that were awarded. Keep a record of all agencies where you submitted grant applications to ensure that you do not overlook opportunities.

Government agencies have strict rules and numerous requirements. Maintain a copy of all your documents for follow-ups and back-checking. There is a prescribed format that all applicants need to follow. Programs and priorities change often. Coordinate with the appropriate government agency through e-mail to get updated information.
Once again, it is not easy to apply for a nonprofit grant. Make sure to plan ahead, review the policies and prepare all supporting documents before you file your grant application.

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