This is a graph shows the average funding sources from the private sector for the United States. Only 12% of private funding is obtained from grants. Most donations from the private sector are given by individuals either while they are alive or as a bequest when they pass away. Most government contributions to organizations is through grants.
There are a lot of guides to rewriting grant proposals. Some are on the web and here are links to a example internet lists of different guides provided by: 1) Donors Forum of Wisconsin, UW-Madison Library, and a generic website. There are also books about grant proposal writing and this is an example list of publications that UW-Madison Library put together.
Charitable organizations and activities are looked at more favorably. Types of recognized nonprofits where contributions are tax deductible are listed here. Some foundations or grant providers only give to types of organizations that the IRS has recognized as doing charitable work. It saves the foundation the trouble of trying to guess from the application if they are a legitimate nonprofit group that benefits the whole community. The IRS has already done this work for them.
What are charitable organizations? The IRS describes these types of organizations as charitable organizations that do work to benefit society as a whole without discrimination.
The IRS defines these things as charitable activities. Foundations and the government usually follow the guidelines or definition the IRS has setup because it makes it easier for them and it is an objective way of describing an organization or activity as benefiting the public good.
There are three depositories in Wisconsin for Federal and State documents related to grants. These libraries accept and collect additional information from the private sector and published print and electronic materials. These sections of the libraries are open to the general public, not just to students. Most materials can not be checked out, but they do offer a searchable database that can be purchased. There are reference librarians to assist you and at times the library will offer classes on how to use their collection.
UW-Extension has sent up at internet site listing some grants that are available. The grants listed are primarily government grants. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection has created a pdf list with brief descriptions of government grants that are either given out by the State of Wisconsin or are Federal grants that are passed through the State of Wisconsin.
The US Department of Health and Human Services has a website listing Federal grants. From GuideStar you can create a list of some of the private grant sources in the country. However, the free service is a little cumbersome in comparison to the databases provided by the grant libraries.
Foundations do not fund everything. They may be very specific in the who they give to, what subjects they are interested in, what geographic area they are interested in and how much they are willing to give out. One of the most important and time consuming part of grant proposal writing is to research the grants available and narrow down the potential grant sources to a small number that are most likely to award you a grant. If you ask outside the area of interest, you won’t be funded. If you ask too much or too little, you won’t be funded. There are sources to find out about foundations. The 3 primary sources are listed here.
All non-profit organizations are required to file a 990 form. From this form, you can see who the board members are and some times where they live, what grants were awarded and for how much, the corporation(s) that fund the foundation, and other information that can help you determine how well you fit with the interests of the foundation. Copies of 990 forms are available at the grant libraries and at GuideStar. GuideStar has services that cost, but copies of the 990 forms are free; all you need to do is register for free on their site. There is no need to sign-up for the services that cost, unless you want to.
Basic things that you must consider when writing a proposal
One page letter sent to the foundation asking how to apply.
For the following slides see the handout created by Barb Becker.
Some sources of statistics to describe the need you are addressing.
Grant Proposal Writing
Writing Grant Proposals
UW-Extension Waushara County
2005 Contributions by non-governmental
entities and individuals in the US
by Source of Contribution
Giving Institute/American Association of Fundraising Counsel - www.aafrc.org/
A Few Things About Grants
Be prepared that applying for a grant does
not guarantee you will receive funding.
Many grants are setup to fund a project
during a specific time period and it may not
be possible to renew the grant indefinitely.
Grants have there own time frame and the
approval process may take a long time.
Have someone in the organization write the
proposal. If you hire a grant writer, be
involved. You probably know more about the
Guides to Writing Grant
Commonly Funded Activities
Not all non-profits are looked at equally
Prefer “charitable” organizations and
activities as defined by Section 501(c)3
of the US Internal Revenue Code
501(c)3 Charitable Organization
Sometimes 501(c)4, 501(c)8, 501(c)10,
501(c)13, and 501(c)19 if public use
Unit of government for public purposes
Fostering amateur sports competition
Prevention of cruelty to children or animals
Source: Internal Revenue Service
“Charitable” Activities include:
Relief of the poor, the distressed, or the
Erection or maintenance of public buildings,
monuments, or works
Lessening of neighborhood tensions
Elimination of prejudice and discrimination
Defense of human and civil rights secured by law
Combating community deterioration and juvenile
Source: Internal Revenue Service
Wisconsin Grant Libraries
UW-Madison Memorial Library:
Grants Information Center
UW-Stevens Point University Library:
Marquette University Memorial Library:
Funding Information Center
New libraries at UW-Eau Claire, UW-La
Crosse and looking for a host library in
Wisconsin Grant Internet Lists
UW-Extension Center for Community
Economic Development: Fund-Raising
& Grant Writing Links
Wisconsin DATCP – “Got Moo-La?”
Federal & National Grant
US Department of Health and Human
Services is the managing partner of the
Federal Grants.Gov Initiative
GuideStar has a search option with a
brief description and link to foundation
websites. Keyword search “foundation”
Research the Grant
Who do they give to?
What are they interested in?
How much do they usually give out?
Where do they give?
Sources of Information
Generally Tax-Exempt Organizations
(Non-Profits) must file a 990, 990 EZ or
a 990PF Form with the IRS
Access to 990 Form Information
GuideStar – www.guidestar.org/search/
Be aware of the evaluation system. If there is
point system, plan accordingly.
Use the terms and key words given.
Use common language. Don’t assume
everyone will understand the acronyms,
jargon, and abbreviations
Be concise, but give specific details
Letters of Intent/Inquiry
Preferred by some, but not by all
Why you are seeking funds
Describe the need you will address
Summarize the project you are seeking
Describe your organization
Ask how to submit a full proposal
Source: Donors forum of Wisconsin
Needs Assessment and Problem
Statement – Project/Program Description
Sources of Information
UW-Extension Waushara County Web Site
Statistics and Studies for Waushara County
US Census Bureau