Telling a Nonprofit’s Story
Before submitting for grants, nonprofits need to be organized and ready to tell their story. Like querying a magazine to publish a short story, the story has to be ready for submission.
One of the most important places to be organized is the nonprofit’s online presence. Many times, what a nonprofit has online is as important as what they provide the foundation.
Every nonprofit should have at least their own website and Facebook account. The website is where they do business. The Facebook account is where they interact socially with the public. When a foundation receives a request for funding, they are likely to go to the nonprofit’s website and Facebook to learn more about them.
Another important item of communication is the elevator speech. I pretend to explain what a nonprofit is about while riding an elevator five floors with a foundation president. The doors close, the person is a captive audience. The doors open and they are gone into the masses. Hopefully thinking about how great the nonprofit is and not about how I was pestering them.
The elevator speech is not a mission or vision statement. It is a summary of what the nonprofit does and why they exist. It should be placed on the website’s home page and as an introduction on all requests for funding. Something easy to remember (or at least the highlights).
Once a nonprofit’s story is known, writing a grant is just a matter of following the foundation’s guidelines and templates (not really, but the asking is easier).