Alternatives to Grants

Grants have become one of the go-to sources for nonprofits that need funding for a project. Grant seeking can be an extremely time consuming process, though, so it’s crucial that you absolutely need a grant before you look for one.

In his book “How to Win Grants,” Alan Silver laid out 17 alternatives or supplements to grant funding:

  • Sell unused assets and use the proceeds to fund the project.
  • Eliminate another service or program and replace it with the proposed project.
  • Charge fees to support some or all of the costs of a new service or program.
  • If you are already charging fees, increase them to include the cost of the proposed project.
  • Get a bank loan and pay it off with the fees you charge.
  • Request a local, state, or federal appropriation.
  • Use sources such as gifts-in-kind organizations to acquire new equipment, supplies, software, and other items.
  • Explore state and federal surplus equipment programs.
  • Recruit volunteer labor and expertise.
  • Improve the efficiency with which you provide the service.
  • Get a third party to pay for a portion of the costs, because the project saves them money in addressing the same problem or need.
  • Identify and secure a major contributor or sponsor.
  • Launch a fundraising campaign, beginning with your own board and stakeholders, or hold a one-time or continuing fundraising event.
  • Explore co-marketing arrangements with business to create income.
  • Create a for-profit business enterprise and use its income to support your project.
  • Join another agency’s proposal as a sub-grantee or subcontractor.
  • Combine two or more of these alternatives to assemble sufficient resources.

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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One Response to Alternatives to Grants

  1. Gary,
    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I have interviewed with several organizations who thought their entire development program should be grant funding. I tried to explain that a good development program needs to be diverse and include several facets if the organization is going to succeed and sustain itself. Unfortunately, that advice went unheeded and I was not hired. Someone else told them what they wanted to hear, and then, after a few months, went on their way when they could not deliver the entire budget with grant funding.

    Richard Freedlund

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