Services and FAQs
WHAT WE DO
We provide grant proposal writing to nonprofits, school districts, higher education, and local government. We develop grant requests, conduct prospect research, and provide coaching. We are strategic thinkers and problem-solvers, and can help you overcome challenges. We ultimately help you strategically position your organization to succeed. We have helped dozens of organizations win grants, and generated more than 1,100 successful proposals, which led to $170 million in grant funding.
Can you help us obtain grant funding?
We can help organizations that have a strong program, track record and history of financial management. Consider exploring our grants readiness checkup and scorecard to conduct a self-analysis of your organization. This questionairre factors in criteria that foundations use to determine whether or not they will support a grant request. These criteria include:
1) Have they heard of the organization previously? Does the funder like the work that you do?
2) Can the organization clearly and objectively show quantifiable results that demonstrate impact (beyond anecdotal stories)?
3) Does the organization raise funds from sources other than grants? Does it have a fund-raising plan? Is the board of directors active in fundraising and strategic planning?
4) Does your organization appear to be financially healthy, and look viable? Obviously a younger organization will be evolving, but should show some signs of viability.
In other words, it takes more than just writing a strong grant proposal to obtain funding. We can help "sell" your organization, but we can't help your organization fly if it doesn't have wings yet.
Do you award grants?
No. We provide grant proposal writing services, along with workshops and trainings on writing grant proposals.
How quickly can you write a proposal?
It depends. For establish nonprofits, we typically turn around grant propsals in two to three weeks. For newer organizations or first-time grant applicants, it can take longer. Most funders require financial statements, such as an annual budget, year-end financial statements, and/or year-to-date financial statements. Many ask questions related to your business plan. What's your three to five year strategic plan? What's your long-term fund-raising plan? How will you measure the success of your proposal? These might take a newer nonprofit a couple of weeks to plan and pull together. Once your organization is clear on these types of issues, we can turn around a proposal very quickly.
In addition, each funder establishes deadlines for proposals, and may only have one or two deadlines per year. Most funders take about three to five months to respond to a grant request.
ORGANIZATIONS WE HELP
Do you work for new nonprofit organizations?
We typically do not work for brand new nonprofits without a track record for the reasons identified above. We recommend developing your grassroots fundraising strategies - donations from individuals, small businesses, fund-raising events - before seeking grant funding. See our grants readiness success questionnaire for additional details.
There are exceptions to this rule, but most organizations that are brand new are not likely to immediately be competitive for grant funding. Grantors typically want to see some evidence that your organization is making an impact. They also want to see how effectively you are building a strong and active board of directors, creating and managing budgets, carrying out quality control, and more. This can take time to demonstrate.
Do you work for organizations outside of California or Colorado?
We work primarily in Colorado and southern California. We have extensive familiarity with these geographic areas, including the funding climate, the landscape of grantors, and regional needs and resources.
We will occasionally provide one-time services to an out-of-state organization. However, we typically only work for large or mid-size out-of-state organizations or institutions, and develop grant requests to large foundation, state or federal grantors.
Can individuals or for-profit businesses apply for grants?
Outside of scholarships, typically there is not much funding for individuals. Acclaimed artists, research scientists, and university professors obtain grant funding all the time. In the charitable arena, however, individuals rarely are eligible to apply for grant funding.
There are no grants available to start or expand a business. There's some funding for high-technology innovations. On rare occasions, some funders allow for-profit businesses that provide a charitable service to apply for grant funding.
Do you work for religious organizations?
We regularly help faith-based organizations find grants for charitable purposes, such as running a homeless shelter, operating a food bank, and providing healthcare services.
However, we do not have the expertise or knowledge to help organizations that are pursuing grant funding for religious purposes.
Do you work for organizations based in other countries?
No. We lack the expertise needed to understand the fund-raising strategies, legal requirement and culture of organizations that are not based inside the United States.
Do you work for international organizations based in the United States?
We typically do not work for international organizations. The challenge for international organizations is more than writing the grant proposal: it's getting face or telephone time with a prospective funder. Because grants made to international organizations are harder to monitor, international grantors are often more cautious about their grantmaking process.
Do you develop scientific research grant proposals?
We develop proposals that incorporate a research component, such as a tobacco education project designed to reduce teen smoking. We do not work on project that have a pure scientific research component, such as experimental trials of medical treatments. If what you do can be explained in layman's terms, we can help you with your project. If it's more complicated and involves a lot of hard science, we probably will not be able to gain the scientific knowledge and expertise needed to write a strong proposal.
BUYING A BUILDING OR LAND
Can I apply for a grant to buy a new building or purchase land?
Most private foundations want a nonprofit organization to raise between 50% and 75% of funds for a major capital project before they will consider a grant request. In other words, they want organizations to show that they have strong community support and financial backers before determining whether or not they will support your project. A capital campaign is a long process with a number of phases; for more details, see this capital campaign newsletter.
What do you charge to write a proposal?
We provide flat rate pricing on the total cost of your job. Each funding source develops their own grant guidelines, and requirements vary widely. Our flat rate to develop a grant proposal a common grant format typically is in the $1200 to $1500 range. More complex proposals are more costly. We do provide some discounts if you already have some materials in hand. If you have a specific funding opportunity in mind, send us the grant guidelines and we'll provide you with a bid.
Do you work on commission?
We do not work on commission. We follow the Association for Fund-Raising Professionals code of ethics, which states that fund-raising professionals should not work on commission. Also, the decision to fund a grant proposal is based on many factors outside of the proposal writer's control (see "Can you help us obtain grant funding?" above for details).