Private funding is often more difficult for organizations to discover on their own, but worth taking the time and effort to seek out. Private grants typically have fewer regulations governing the money awarded, fewer applicants than public grants, and offer more potential funds for organizations.

Foundations and corporate funders are the two most common sources of private funding. Foundations are nonprofit organizations that exist solely to donate funds to support other nonprofit organizations or to source funds for its own charitable programs. Corporate giving programs are usually run by the company’s marketing or public affairs department.

To learn more about specific foundations, consult the Foundation Center’s Foundation Directory Online (FDO) for information that includes contact information and a description of each foundation.

Guidelines when applying for private funding

  • Compare your organization and its goals to funder priorities. Try to approach funders with a similar ethos or whose stated purpose and activities align with your goals.
  • Pay attention to which nonprofit organizations the private funder has funded in the past and gauge how well they align with what your organization is trying to accomplish.
  • Review the application details thoroughly to make sure you understand what the specific foundation or corporate giving program needs from in terms of proposal and recordkeeping.

Need help finding private funding and applying for grants?

Corporate funding is often tied to having a connection at the company. At EAB, we are experienced in developing a strong prospect pool of private corporate and foundation funding sources including large company foundations like the Allstate Foundation and small family foundations like the Grace Bersted Foundation.

We also help you identify ways for your organization to build relationships with business and community leaders who can help open funding doors. We use several databases including Foundation Center and GrantStation to identify prospects and gather funder information.

How to Write Grant Proposals

Learning how to write a compelling grant proposal is a skill your nonprofit organization will need to have if it’s going to successfully secure funding now and in the future. Mastering grant writing isn’t easy, but if you take the time to learn it then you’ll be able to tell your organization’s story more effectively and powerfully in order to attract new funders and get more funds awarded from existing donors.

Here are five steps you can take to get started:

  1. Carefully read the grant application. Make sure you understand which materials you need to include and which questions you have to answer.
  2. Determine whether or not your project meets the requirements. Try writing a summary statement for your project and see if it naturally fulfills the grant’s intended purpose.
  3. Clearly lay out your organization or project’s mission. When writing the proposal, be specific about what you need the money for, what you hope to accomplish, and the steps you will take to get there.
  4. Explain your required budget. You will need to qualitatively research, evaluate, and defend why you need the amount you’re requesting. Consider things like equipment, personnel, and other costs in your estimation and then use it to create a budget summary and justification.
  5. Gather your supporting documents. Make sure you have everything you need on hand, such as a 501(c)(3) letter, audit, or a list of the board of directors.

Whether you’re applying for private or public funding, having a strong proposal is essential. It takes a lot of time, effort, and experience to draft a winning application—a skill we’ve been building for years.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for funding or how to begin writing your proposal, EAB Solutions is here to help you. Our experienced team can provide you with strategic and technical assistance to strengthen program fit, proposal narratives, and outcome measurement to increase success and dollars awarded.