General Guidelines

Use these guidelines to help you organize and write your grant requests. Our specific requirements will be listed in bold.

  1. Analyze the current needs of your organization. What are your priorities, and of those, which ones fit within the funder's given guidelines? We look at where you are already receiving support and who else you are soliciting with your request. We generally prefer not to be the sole funder of a project.
  2. Research which foundations in your area are currently fund projects similar to yours. You can find this information by going to GuideStar (Registration is required, but it is free.) You will find a listing of foundations by city, state and region. For each particular foundation, you can peruse the minimum giving required and a list of their grants in the last fiscal year by clicking on the 990 form on their financial information page. Please note that charities are also on this site. You should check to see whether this site reflects your current information. If it does not, it is easily edited and instructions will appear on the screen. Is your proposal within the foundation's current funding priorities? Do you know their priorities? Sometimes, but not always, you can tell by looking at their giving contained in their 990s. Do they have a website? Does their website indicate funding priorities?
  3. Verify the contact name and address by calling the foundation. Our information is updated periodically on this website, and as such does not need to be verified. If you are able to talk to the contact, inquire whether you may briefly outline your proposal to see if it falls within their guidelines. It is always a good idea to have more than one proposal in mind in case your first one is not appropriate.
  4. Ask what format they prefer for proposals, e.g. a formal application, a simple two-page summary, etc. We want you to use our online applications. Just remember to follow the guidelines as instructed. Do not let your proposal be screened out because you did not follow the guidelines.
  5. Complete the application or proposal. We expect you to use our online grant application process.
  6. Attachments: At a minimum, you will want to include a copy of the IRS letter indicating that your organization is classed as a §501(c)(3) organization and a copy of your latest 990 tax filing, along with Schedule A. Most foundations like to see a listing of your Board of Directors, along with your total agency Actual Expenditures vs. the Budget for the last fiscal year. Before you send a copy of your expensive audit, find out whether they would like a copy. Newsletters, brochures, videotapes, and audiotapes are usually discouraged. The message in your grant request should speak for itself. For our application you will need to have these attachments ready: the Request Budget, Actual vs. Budget for your last fiscal year, a copy of the Management Letter from your last audit (if applicable), a list of the Board of Directors along with the Board's total contributions to the agency, a list of Major Donors, and your latest IRS 990 submitted.
  7. Personalizing a thank you letter addressed to the trustees is a key component of the grant process (and if you would like to receive a subsequent gift, a necessity.) Please refer to the sample thank you letter on this site.
  8. Updates are not always required by individual grantors, but they are helpful nonetheless. This is one more time your agency gets its name and project before the trustees. In the update, remember to thank the trustees again for the gift, and then report on your progress with the grant. Be sure to let the grantor know if there have been additional or new challenges, though updates should not be taken as an opportunity to ask for more money.
  9. A final reporting on a project is always appreciated, whether required or not. We expect grantees to use our online reporting forms.