What is a Foundation Grant and What are the Odds I’ll be Funded?

March 20, 2019

In general, there are two types of grants—those funded by federal or other government agencies (NIH, DoD, etc.) and those funded by charitable foundations, known as Foundation Grants.

Note that foundations generally give to nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.

One question we often hear from those seeking funding is “how can I get the funding I need to do my work?” Nonprofits need money to pursue their missions—to help children and families, to fund their research, to help the homeless, to prevent drug addiction, to help addicts recover, to protect clean air and water, and more. Foundation grant funding for nonprofits is certainly part of the answer to that question.

Private foundations are established to pursue charitable purposes, and their missions and interests are as varied as the interests of nonprofit organizations.

It has been said: If you’ve seen one foundation…. You’ve seen one foundation.

This is because there is a VAST difference between each foundation, what they fund, what they prefer, and this is something you can work to your advantage!

Perhaps the most critical step in winning foundation grants for your nonprofit is to identify funders who share your interests and who will be committed to your organization’s mission—and finding consultants or team members to help with that. Foundations don’t award grants to just anyone. They award grants to nonprofits that will support their own mission.

What is the percentage of grant proposals that foundations fund?

It appears that you might have a better chance with funding from a Foundation if you first know some statistics to help you target a funding source and if you take the time and spend some extra funds to hire a consultant to ensure your application is the best it can be and the funding opportunity matches your needs. FURTHER, grant consultants can LOCATE funding opportunities you might not even find—no matter how long you search.

OK, now back to the original question…

What percentage of grant proposals get funded?

A long time ago, the only source to ever answer this question (or come close) was the Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates, 2004 Preview (pp. 14-15). The source found, based on responses from 878 grantmakers that…

  • One-third received fewer than 50 proposals; 38 percent of them funded at least half of the proposals.
  • 6 percent received more than 1,000 proposals each; 11 percent of them funded at least half of the proposals.
  • Overall, 35 percent funded 50 percent or more of the grant requests they received.
  • Corporate foundations receive a higher volume of proposals, compared to independent and community foundations.
  • Foundations that reported giving of less than $1 million funded a larger share of their grant requests than foundations with giving of $10 million or more.

Your chances are poorer if you focus on the largest, well-known foundations, because you’re one among thousands of applicants. Focus on mission and geographic alignment with prospects–And follow all of their rules.

Want to learn more about funding from Foundations and see how you can take advantage of the money that is available? Contact us, today!

We have years of experience FINDING the grant to meet the needs of every client and our success rates prove we have the skills necessary to get you funded.