Act like a CEO, Think like a Funder

Wemimo Mercy Okunola
Profile

Are you tired of applying for grants only to receive rejection after rejection?

Do you need extra funding for your business this year?

We’ve got you covered.

As a business owner, you are concerned about growing your business. You want to expand your frontiers and 10X your profits. So, you seek grants to help achieve these goals.

However, grant funding is notoriously competitive. According to an internal report by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations (a major grant funder), out of over 1,000 applications submitted to them in 2021, they funded only 8!

That begs the question; Why are most grant proposals unsuccessful? Why do business owners fail to get grant funding?

Most business owners don’t get grants because they do not understand how funders think.

And so, they present projects that aren’t aligned to the funder's plan.

But how do funders think? And how can you adopt that thinking to win grants?

One, every funder has an agenda.

The Global Innovation Fund on their website, expressly state ;

"GIF is focused on finding new ways of improving lives for those living in poverty. We seek innovations that are designed to bring benefits for those who live on the equivalent of $5 a day and we are especially interested in funding innovative solutions that impact those living on less than $2 a day or other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups."

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations grants only fund projects that "meaningfully address a pressing societal problem affecting people’s lives."

By taking out time to understand the agenda of the funders, specifically the kind of change they wish to see in the world, you will be able to put together a winning grant proposal. Some funders only focus on certain sectors (like healthcare and education). This means you cannot pitch a sports project to such funders.

To put together a winning grant proposal, propose projects that match your organization's core mission to the agenda of the funder.

Two, most funders are concerned about impacting people.

Every single funder gets pitched tons of projects. If yours isn’t about making a significant difference in the lives of people, your chances of getting funded are slimmer than toilet paper.

Have you ever wondered why the SGD goals are the basis for nearly all funding opportunities? It is because the core of these goals is PEOPLE.

Most funders are effortlessly inclined towards bettering the lives of marginalized people and improving the poor's standard of living. If the agenda of the funder is broad, you cannot go wrong by focusing on lifting your beneficiaries out of poverty.

Three, funders fund organizations, not individuals

Take a look at this Q & A on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website

"I am an individual seeking financial assistance. Am I eligible for a grant?

In general and except in specific circumstances as noted on certain grant applications, the foundation is unable to make grants directly to individuals."

Essentially, you are very unlikely to win a grant as an individual. Funders mostly back organizations, not individuals. Organizations have registration certificates to prove their existence and have corporate bank accounts. Individuals are, you guessed it, individuals. If you still operate your business from a personal bank account, you are not ready for grant funding.

To prepare your organization for grant funding, ensure you are duly registered with the government, open a corporate bank account, record your financials using software, and most importantly, do inspiring work. If what you do every day in your organization is making the lives of the people you serve better, you too can win a grant.

Before you open MS Word or Google Doc to start crafting your next grant proposal, remember to "act like a CEO and think like a funder”.

Do you need an expert to help with your next Grant?
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Just Thoughts
May 18, 2022

Act like a CEO, Think like a Funder

Wemimo Mercy Okunola
Operations Officer

Are you tired of applying for grants only to receive rejection after rejection?

Do you need extra funding for your business this year?

We’ve got you covered.

As a business owner, you are concerned about growing your business. You want to expand your frontiers and 10X your profits. So, you seek grants to help achieve these goals.

However, grant funding is notoriously competitive. According to an internal report by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations (a major grant funder), out of over 1,000 applications submitted to them in 2021, they funded only 8!

That begs the question; Why are most grant proposals unsuccessful? Why do business owners fail to get grant funding?

Most business owners don’t get grants because they do not understand how funders think.

And so, they present projects that aren’t aligned to the funder's plan.

But how do funders think? And how can you adopt that thinking to win grants?

One, every funder has an agenda.

The Global Innovation Fund on their website, expressly state ;

"GIF is focused on finding new ways of improving lives for those living in poverty. We seek innovations that are designed to bring benefits for those who live on the equivalent of $5 a day and we are especially interested in funding innovative solutions that impact those living on less than $2 a day or other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups."

Draper Richards Kaplan Foundations grants only fund projects that "meaningfully address a pressing societal problem affecting people’s lives."

By taking out time to understand the agenda of the funders, specifically the kind of change they wish to see in the world, you will be able to put together a winning grant proposal. Some funders only focus on certain sectors (like healthcare and education). This means you cannot pitch a sports project to such funders.

To put together a winning grant proposal, propose projects that match your organization's core mission to the agenda of the funder.

Two, most funders are concerned about impacting people.

Every single funder gets pitched tons of projects. If yours isn’t about making a significant difference in the lives of people, your chances of getting funded are slimmer than toilet paper.

Have you ever wondered why the SGD goals are the basis for nearly all funding opportunities? It is because the core of these goals is PEOPLE.

Most funders are effortlessly inclined towards bettering the lives of marginalized people and improving the poor's standard of living. If the agenda of the funder is broad, you cannot go wrong by focusing on lifting your beneficiaries out of poverty.

Three, funders fund organizations, not individuals

Take a look at this Q & A on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website

"I am an individual seeking financial assistance. Am I eligible for a grant?

In general and except in specific circumstances as noted on certain grant applications, the foundation is unable to make grants directly to individuals."

Essentially, you are very unlikely to win a grant as an individual. Funders mostly back organizations, not individuals. Organizations have registration certificates to prove their existence and have corporate bank accounts. Individuals are, you guessed it, individuals. If you still operate your business from a personal bank account, you are not ready for grant funding.

To prepare your organization for grant funding, ensure you are duly registered with the government, open a corporate bank account, record your financials using software, and most importantly, do inspiring work. If what you do every day in your organization is making the lives of the people you serve better, you too can win a grant.

Before you open MS Word or Google Doc to start crafting your next grant proposal, remember to "act like a CEO and think like a funder”.