The State of Grantseeking™ survey, reports, webinars, and articles reflect grassroots activity and trends in the field, and, because of the twice-yearly frequency, provide leading-edge information months earlier than other annual surveys. So, what does the future hold for the state of grantseeking?
With annual grantmaking foundation grants totaling over $50 billion in recent years, an incredible amount of charitable investment, it feels like there should be enough funding available to support nonprofit organizations. Yet our respondents tell us that their greatest challenge to successful grantseeking (after a lack of time/staff) is increased competition for grant awards.
In the Fall 2014 State of Grantseeking™ Survey we saw a trend toward greater reliance by nonprofit organizations on private foundation funders. Private foundations were the source of the largest grant award for 33% of respondents, a 15% increase from the prior year. However, we also saw a decrease in the median largest award size from private foundations. In fact, the median largest award from private foundations was $28,500, a 19% decrease from the prior year. This data tells us that private foundations are trying to meet the needs of more nonprofit organizations, but are awarding smaller grants from within a finite set of award dollars in order to do so.
In spite of competition, there is funding available. Wouldn't it be nice to devote an organization's limited time and staff resources to only the grant applications that result in awards? GrantStation can provide guidance to help organizations tailor their grantseeking toward the funders most likely to respond favorably, not with magic, but with something even better—recent, trending data.
For younger organizations in existence ten or fewer years, "other" funding sources were the most frequently reported source of their largest grant award. Those other sources included religious organizations, the United Way, donor-advised funds, civic organizations, and individual donors, and they appear to be more receptive to funding organizations that have not yet proven the organizational sustainability that is implied by increased organizational age. In the Fall 2014 State of Grantseeking Report™ the median largest award from "other" grant sources was $30,250.
Does organizational size based on annual budget have an impact on the type of funder most likely to support an organization? When it comes to government funding, the answer is yes. Survey respondents told us that the Federal government and state governments were more frequently the source of the largest award for organizations with budgets of $1,000,000 and over. And, while larger organizations are often better positioned to administer Federal programs due to an established infrastructure, 28% of smaller organizations with annual budgets under $1,000,000 did report the Federal Government as the source of their largest award. In the Fall 2014 State of Grantseeking Report™ the median largest award from the Federal government was $319,000, and the median largest award from a state government was $147,000.
Finally, let's look at how service area impacts organizational funding. Our data suggests that collaboration between rural and urban organizations will result in more frequent funding for both organizations. Unsurprisingly, funders tend to invest their charitable dollars in areas where they will have the greatest impact on the largest population. Rural organizations reported funding from any source at a much lower rate than did organizations in urban areas. However, organizations from a combination of service areas reported funding from any source at a higher rate than did organizations in any individual service area. Corporate foundations were the most frequently reported source of the largest award for organizations serving a combination of population-based areas. In the Fall 2014 State of Grantseeking Report™ the median largest award from corporate foundations was $12,000.
The future of successful grantseeking is dependent upon the use of trending, recent data to guide organizational time and staff resource allocation. Are you interested in The Fall 2014 State of Grantseeking™ Report(s)? Click here to download your free copies. Would you like to participate in The Spring 2015 State of Grantseeking™ Survey? Click here to do so.
Do you need funding for your 2015/16 grants strategy? Full Membership with GrantStation, which can help you take on that task, is on sale through March 31, 2015 for $149, a 78% savings. You will get access to thousands of grantmaker profiles, carefully researched and organized to help you find the right grantmakers quickly, as well as guides, tutorials, and articles to enhance your grant writing and grant strategy development.
The preceding is a guest post by Cynthia Adams is CEO of GrantStation, a premiere online funding resource for organizations seeking grants throughout the world. Providing access to a comprehensive online database of grantmakers, GrantStation helps nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies make smarter, better-informed grantseeking decisions. GrantStation is dedicated to creating a civil society by assisting the nonprofit sector in its quest to build healthy and effective communities.