10 Steps to Better Fundraising

  1. Update your master schedules of grant application and reporting deadlines. Foundations usually list their grant priorities and application deadlines in January. Collect those priorities and deadlines now. Also note which reports to your funders are due when and plan accordingly.
  2. Front-load funding requests for the upcoming year. Some months are more grant application deadline-heavy than others. To more evenly distribute your year’s workload, get a head start on applications due in later months, giving you a competitive edge if foundations’ grant funds run out before year-end.
  3. Start preparing reporting materials on your activities in the previous year. Make sure you have all the programmatic information you need from your colleagues—including revenue and expense reports—to tell donors a compelling and information-rich story about your work.
  4. Check your profile on GuideStar. Ensure your organization’s profile on GuideStar is current and accurate, including your latest Form 990 tax return.
  5. Create an “FAQ file” of application and reporting questions. Similar questions tend to appear across various application and reports, so create an e-document of questions you’ve encountered and answers you’ve submitted to adapt for the future.
  6. Make electronic backups of all application and report packages. Save electronic copies of all documents you submit (including signed cover letters for requests sent by postal mail) in email or fax-ready format.
  7. Create electronic and print folders for each new grant you receive. To streamline reporting, keep together all materials that are related to the same grant. This also helps in case something is lost or if you need to resubmit an application or report.
  8. Follow up on unacknowledged requests each quarter. If, after three months, a funding request you submitted goes unacknowledged, contact the funding organization to confirm that they received your material, that they need no further information, and that your request is on track for a decision.
  9. Keep in touch with other departments about progress on organizational goals. Regardless of grant reporting deadlines, gather quarterly updates on your organization’s critical metrics and goals (animals adopted or spayed/neutered) to give you fresh content for applications and course-correct, if needed.
  10. Catch some ZZZ’s. Better rest will provide the mental, physical, and emotional strength you’ll need to tackle your vital, life saving work.


 ASPCAPro blog

Claire Sterling

Claire Sterling is Senior Grants Manager of the ASPCA in New York, New York.

2018 Copyright Society of Animal Welfare Administrators