Targeting Foundations

Applying with a Plan

A shotgun approach is the worst possible way to apply for grant funding. If you pick your targets with care, you'll:

  • Save time
  • Save postage
  • Increase your chances of being funded
  • Form an even clearer mental image of your project

Outlining the Process

  • Identify potential prospects. A subject index is a good way to start.
  • Do a preliminary screening, looking at:
    • Geographic limitations, e.g. "Funding limited to Illinois"
    • Programming priorities & interests, e.g. "Funding only for the environment and conservation"
    • Types of organizations funded, e.g. "Funding only for pre-selected community coalitions"
    • Giving pattern, e.g. "Matching funds only"
  • Make an initial inquiry to find out if the foundation has any interest in your project.
  • Do further screening:
    • Are funds available now, or have they been spent for the year?
    • Will my project be able to meet any cost-sharing requirements?
    • Does my project reflect the foundation's priorities?
    • What information does the foundation need, and in what format?
    • What is the decision-making process, and what is the timetable for it?
    • Who is the foundation's contact person?
    • Will there be an opportunity to adapt application to ensure it best meets the foundation's needs?

Once all these issues have been considered, you'll be ready to send off your funding request. Good luck!