Four Foundation Funding Myths

| February 5, 2015

four-foundation-myths_52524473Many nonprofits seek foundation funding to support the mission of their organization. However, many grant seekers frequently become discouraged and frustrated — often because they have bought into one of the common myths about foundation funding.

Myth 1: Funders are clear about what they want to fund.

Because funders have the money, they are always in control. Foundations are one entity in the United States where there is relatively little accountability. Although the IRS requires that foundations distribute a portion of their funds each year, foundations are not required to report that their funding decisions were in alignment with their missions. Thus, foundation leaders can make a decision to fund any organization they want. Most foundations are required to ensure that all grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations.

Myth 2: When applying for a grant, do your best to conceal your weaknesses.
It is always important to be honest when applying for grant funds. Most funders understand that organizations have struggles and areas of weakness. Obviously, you want to discuss the things that your organization does well; according to foundation officers, it is important to talk about the dependability of your organization. In other words, demonstrate that your organization can be counted on to do what it says it is going to do. Prove to the funder that your organization has staying power. A big concern of funders is that nonprofits will face financial challenges and close their doors; it is your job to prove that your organization will be able to survive.

Myth 3: Funders don’t read grant reports.
Many organizations have the mistaken belief that grant funders do not read the grant reports that they submit. However, many program officers read grant reports and compile them into a report that is submitted to the foundation’s board of directors. A grant report is your opportunity to shine, and to share with the funder how their funding made a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Myth 4: Always embellish and stretch, especially in the budget.
While funders may not know the exact costs to implement and operate a program, they have a general idea. Remember, they see hundreds of proposals and hundreds of budgets. Funders would prefer that you request what you need, but don’t stretch the budget or the program’s reach. If you are writing a report, this information will be discovered and dishonesty will not get repeat funding.


Category: Non-Profits

About the Author ()

Email | Website | Deborah DiVirgilio is a Certified Governance Trainer through BoardSource and has more than 20 years of experience in providing nonprofit consulting, grant writing and management services for nonprofits, government agencies and faith-based organizations. She is the owner and principal consultant of The Faith-Based Nonprofit Resource Center (formally known as DiVirgilio & Associates). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences from Wilmington College and a Masters Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University, and is Grant Professional certified by the Grant Professional Institute. She has served on the Board of Directors and as an officer of the Grant Professionals Association.