by Mandy Pearce
I have been involved in a few conversations recently about finding dollars for new organizations and in the course of grant research related conversation, the topic of seed money has popped up as well.

Over the years I have learned that there are a whole bunch of various ‘types of support’ out there and part of the fun of getting good at grant research, is learning the lingo.When someone needs to buy land, that is called ‘land acquisition’. When an organization wants to pay off loans, that is ‘debt reduction’. Funds to cover day-to-day operations could be ‘general operating dollars’, ’emergency funds’, ‘unrestricted funds’, or even ‘continuing support’.

There are numerous lists like this for various needs that you will only learn after conducting a good deal of research and becoming familiar with the verbiage in databases. I often tell folks, grant writing is creative writing and successful grant research is all about effective wordsmithing. If you are needing funds to hire a new staff, you might be better off thinking of that as capacity building because those dollars are easier to find in many cases than staff salaries. This type of thinking is imperative to successfully finding great prospects among the sea of choices.

One of the choices of types of support is ‘Seed Money’, which is also known as ‘Start-Up Funds’. What is seed money? It can be two things.

1. Dollars to help start a new organization.
2. Dollars to help start a new program or project within an existing organization.

Why is this difference important?

Many foundations want to see a history of success from an organization prior to considering them for funding. This could be 3-5 years and may involve providing financials, program growth, successful outcomes, etc. to a foundation. How would you know what these requirements are? Read guidelines and potentially have conversations with program officers.

If your organization has been around for a while you won’t qualify for seed money, unless you are starting a new program or project. An existing organization that is implementing or creating a new program or project may be looked upon favorably for funding because they likely already have a history of success.

I encourage you to hop in a database and see some of the types of support that are listed so you can become more familiar with search terms as you look for funding to support your current needs. If you’d like to see a list of types of support, here is a list, with definitions, from Foundation Directory Online. If you are new to grant research, this is a great place to start.

 

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