In order to conduct successful grant research for your organization, project or program needs, you must be able to answer some basic questions. I thought I would share with you the list of questions I ask every nonprofit to answer, prior to my beginning grant research for them. This list is not a ‘best practice’ tool that I learned as a nonprofit employee, and it’s not a list I found online and adopted as mine over the years. This list is simply the group of questions I always found myself asking clients and nonprofit professionals over the years as I began learning how to research efficiently and effectively. One day I decided I should compile and list and start reviewing it prior to my research efforts, and it has saved me tons of time over the years.
1. Organization Name/Contact Person/ Phone/Email/Mailing Address
2. Is the organization you represent a nonprofit?
3. What specific type of funds are you hoping to locate – list all that apply? (programming funds, gen ops, capital campaign, etc.)
4. Is your organization open to applying for state/federal funding?
5. What is the annual operating budget of your organization and/or program if applicable?
6. How many full time employees work at your organization?
7. How many part time employees work at your organization?
8. If you are seeking specific project/program funding tell me a little about the need so I can find funding that fits. Also, what are the dollar amounts associated with your need(s). For example, we need $2,500 to pay for our annual audit so we can qualify for more funds, or we need $50,000 to repair our roof, etc.
9. What type of work does your organization do or what service(s) to they provide?
10. Where does your organization currently get most of its’ financial support? (grants – if so which ones, individuals, clients, private foundations, etc.) Please list actual grants you have received, funds you receive regularly, etc. so I do not duplicate my findings.
11. Does your organization serve a specific area (county, city, region, etc.) or population (youth, elderly, homeless, etc.)?
12. If you answered Yes to Question #11 please list those details and list the county where your organization is located, as well as all of those it serves.
There are other questions that will arise from the answers provided for these 12 questions so I always set up a time to chat after the research questionnaire has been filled out. This allows me time to talk at length about programs/projects, previous funds received/denied, any restrictions I have discovered (like faith-based organizations or private schools and the like), as well as determine how long I think the research might take to complete.
I hope these questions have helped you as you begin, grow and develop your skills in the nonprofit development world.