The Fit-Funding Match

Determine whether your organization "fits" with the goals of the funder.

Why Many Grants are not Funded

Problems with the Proposal

Foundations receive thousands of worthy requests each year. Most are turned down because there is never enough money to go around, or because some element of the proposal is not convincing.

Specific problems:

  • Applicant did not clearly demonstrated the organization's track record and ability to carry out the project.
  • Need to be addressed or the problem to be solved was not presented convincingly.
  • No indication of buy-in or participation from the community being served.
  • Weakness in other portions of the proposal: budget, goals and objectives, methodology, evaluation, etc.
Project is Outside the Funder's Field of Interest

One of the most troubling reasons for a high rejection rate is the large number of proposals which clearly fall outside the funder's field of interest. About 65% of proposals received by large funders are not relevant to the funder's mission.

Funder's Priorities Don't Match the Grantseeker's

To be successful, do your homework to match your project with the funding priorities of the funder. Although it takes time-consuming research, successful grantseekers determine it is worth the effort.

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Making the Match

Analyze your own organization and project to determine:

  • the problem or need you want to address
  • the audience or target beneficiaries you will serve
  • the amount and type of support you need
  • the resources and commitment your organization brings to the project
  • potential partners in the community

Become familiar with facts about foundations in general and how they operate.

Consider other local sources of funding or in-kind support.

  • individual contributors and supporters
  • clubs and associations
  • businesses
  • government
  • earned income

Then develop a broad list of prospects (see below). Prospects include foundations and other funders that have shown an interest in funding projects similar to yours.

To find a funding match, look for funders:

  • that seem able or likely to fund projects in your geographic area
  • whose mission or purpose matches yours
  • who have already supported projects similar to yours

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Steps to Take to Find Funders that Fit

Compile a List of Prospects
  1. Prospects by Geographic Location
    Search the library's grants databases for:
    • Foundations with headquarters in Arizona or Tucson.
    • Foundations with Arizona or local connection.
    • Foundations known to have made grants in Arizona or local area.
  2. Prospects by Field of Interest or Subject
    Search the library's grants databases for funders who support your field or subject. Look for:
    • Statement of program interests or subjects.
    • Lists or indexes of actual recent grants awarded.
Refine List of Prospects
  1. Learn how to find detailed information on specific foundations.
  2. Eliminate sources that do NOT:
    • Fund in your state.
    • Fund your subject.
    • Fund type of support you need. See Grantmaker Types of Support.
    • Fund your type of recipient organization.
    • Fund your size project.
  3. Select most appropriate funding sources and research in detail.
    • Contact funder directly for annual report and other publications.
    • Search 990 PFs. What is a 990-PF?
    • Search newspapers and the Internet
    • Word-of-mouth
    • Previous grant recipients

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