We live in a world where the more money you have, the greater the impact you can make—especially when it comes to nonprofit organizations. If you are seeking funding for a nonprofit, make sure to avoid these common mistakes in your grant application.
1. Trying to get in where you don’t fit in
One common mistake when it comes to applying for funding is trying to get in where you don’t fit in (i.e., attempting to apply for a grant that is not totally aligned with your organization and its programs). The issue with trying to twist and turn a grant to suit you and your organization is that grants come with conditions. In other words, it’s not free money for you to spend as you please.
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When you apply for a grant, if you say you plan to use the funds for supplies or a particular event, that is exactly what the funders expect you to spend the money on. Not only that, they typically want a report of how the funds were dispersed at the end of the funding period. Not complying with these conditions can either result in penalties or you having to send the money back.
2. Thinking you can spend the money when you please
Another of the most common grant application mistakes is thinking you can spend the money when you please. For example, my nonprofit received a grant that was funded in November. Although there were upcoming projects in the following year that it would have been useful for, we had to spend all the money by December 30. This means that applying for funding is not always a one-time deal. For most nonprofits, including mine, it is a continuous cycle and way of life.