Big things can (eventually) come in small packages

Over the years, I have worked with many nonprofits that believe it’s not worth it to pursue smaller grants. They only want to go after the big grants (and big is a different number for every organization – maybe $50,000, maybe $100,000, maybe more).

I’ve found that there is a secret to securing those larger foundation grants

One of the best ways to secure bigger foundation grants is: get smaller grants.

If you were looking for some sort of secret magic trick, I’m sorry to disappoint you! But, based on more than 25 years of fundraising and nonprofit experience, and after working with dozens and dozens of nonprofits of all sizes in all sorts of fields, I have found this to be true time and time again.

I talk about why this strategy works in my Small & Mighty Fundraising Minute podcast, as well as in a video on my YouTube channel:

Why does it make sense to secure smaller grants first? Among other things:

  • Today’s smaller grant can turn into next year’s larger grant. If you do a great job of donor stewardship, if you build a strong, meaningful relationship with the foundation, they may increase their investment over time.
  • Most foundations want to “date before they get married” – it is unusual (not unheard of, but unusual) for a foundation to make a huge investment in a nonprofit that is new to them, as a first grant.

But how do you know if a small grant is really worth it?

While smaller grants can lead to bigger ones, not every grant opportunity is ripe for growth. Your organization needs to carefully consider if there is growth potential, and if it is worth it to put staff time and resources into a grant opportunity that may or may not pay off today, and in the long run. How do you make that decision?

I’ve got a FREE resource for you!

I’ve created a free, downloadable worksheet and checklist for you! You can download the Is This Small Grant Worth It? checklist and use it to evaluate whether or not it’s worth it for your organization to pursue a smaller grant, in the hopes that it may some day lead to a larger one.

There are some key items you need to consider – hints in the foundation’s giving history and patterns – that will help you make a reasoned decision about whether or not to pursue a smaller grant. Of course, there are no guarantees! But you owe it to yourself and your organization to consider some key factors. Download the checklist and let me know what you think!


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