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How To Win Grants From Banks

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Banks are a source of grant funding you may not have tried.  The first question on your mind may be: where do I find bank grant opportunities?  Banks are everywhere, in every state and every community.  However, banks vary greatly in their grant making programs, and some may have no formal program at all.  Those with formal grant programs may have funding priorities and guidelines like other corporations.  Some banks may be open to any community needs.  I’ve come across hefty applications and short applications.  I’ve seen both local grants and the more competitive regional grants.  Some larger banks have foundations that handle their charitable giving and many consider sponsorships as well as grants.  With annual charitable giving in the hundreds of millions of dollars, banks are worth a look.

There are two places to start your search: locally and online.  Look around you.  What banks have a branch in your community?  They are all potential funders for your organization.  Does your organization bank with any of them?  (That’s not a necessity).  What banks do your board members use?  Which banks are the closest to your facility?  These are just places to start.  As the development director, you can walk into a local bank and ask who the community giving officer is.  You may be met with a blank stare or you may be given the name of the branch manager.  That manager will lead you to the correct person.  To initiate the conversation introduce yourself and ask when their next grant making cycle is.  You may be handed an application, warmly told that they love your organization, or informed that there is no application process and you just need to write a proposal letter. I like stopping in a bank in person and making that contact.  If that person knows of your organization that is a good thing.  Especially when they say, “just bring your application to me and I’ll submit it to the committee.”  Often bank funding is decided by branch representatives so you want that one person fighting for your proposal.  Of course, you may prefer to research online instead of in person.

How To Win Grants From Banks by Victoria M. Johnson

Banks Want to Support the Communities They Serve!

When I typed in bank community giving in my search engine (such as google or yahoo or bing) several options popped up, including:

US Bank

https://www.usbank.com/community/charitable-giving.html

People’s United Bank

https://www.peoples.com/peoples/Footer/About-People%27s-United/In-The-Community/Charitable-Giving

TD Bank

http://www.tdbank.com/community/corporate_giving.html

Bank of America

http://about.bankofamerica.com/en-us/global-impact/find-grants-sponsorships.html#fbid=d9rOCmnTCCe

Wells Fargo

https://www.wellsfargo.com/about/charitable/

Chase Bank

https://www.facebook.com/ChaseCommunityGiving

You can also search online by typing in your state or city name in your search engine, for example, when I typed in bank community giving California more options popped up such as:

Union Bank

https://www.unionbank.com/global/about/corporate-social-responsibility/foundation/index.jsp

California Bank & Trust

http://www.calbanktrust.com/about/community-grant.html

You can also type in your bank’s name and the words community giving.  Or go directly to their website and use their search feature with a word like: community, charitable giving, corporate giving, foundation, or social responsibility.  These options take more time than the first two options above.

Once you go to the bank’s website you’ll find grant guidelines and deadlines and a contact person.  Follow the guidelines (and my tips) just as you would for any other grant proposal.  Remember, you can’t win a grant if you don’t apply.  Good luck!

Are You Smarter Than A Sixth-Grader?

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

My sixth-grader grand daughter just received the astounding news that she won a scholarship to Space Camp!  She went through an excruciating application process that would bring many adults to tears.  I’m bringing this up for two reasons.  First, I’m an incredibly proud grandmother.  Second, I think you might learn something from her experience.

  1. Her scholarship award was extremely competitive.  Yet, she applied anyway.  Sometimes organizations pass up highly competitive grant opportunities because the slim chance of winning doesn’t justify the amount of work required.
  2. It took a lot of time and effort to gather and/or create all the required attachments to the application.  Yet, she meticulously gathered and/or created each item.  In her case she didn’t have any of the items and so she started from scratch.  Your organization may already have some of the required attachments, so it may take you less time than you think to create an application package.
  3. It’s difficult to sort through a daunting application package. Yet, she thoroughly read and followed all the instructions. You must carefully review application requirements and have another set of eyes go over the checklist with you to ensure nothing is overlooked.  After all the time taken on an application, you don’t want to hear that you were rejected for not following directions.
  4. It’s easy to give up and put your focus on something easier. Yet, she kept her eye on her goal.  She really, really wants to attend Space Camp.  Science is her favorite subject and the scholarship is the only way she can go on this science adventure.  For fundraisers, it may be the prestige of winning a special grant, or the higher level of support, or any number of reasons that lead us to pursue highly competitive grants.  The thing is, the grant is going to go to somebody.  It won’t be your organization if you don’t apply.

If a sixth-grader can do it, so can you.  For more inspiration, here’s a link to an earlier post:  Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader?

Space Camp

 

Watch Your Tone of Voice

Friday, December 10th, 2010

What does tone of voice have to do with grantwriting?  Plenty.  Just as when you’re talking to your child when they’ve done something good, or your spouse when they’ve done something bad; and just as a manger talks to you at work, tone means everything.  When you’re writing a grant proposal keep your tone in mind.

Tone of voice is your attitude.  You don’t want to come across as over-confident, yet you don’t want to come across as needy, with your hand out.  In grantwriting there is a happy medium.  That’s what you want to aim for in your grant proposal.

Often the grant itself will determine your tone. If you’re requesting a grant for ill children in a long-term care hospital, your tone will be more serious. You’d want a tone that offers a sense of hope for the children and their families (with the grantor’s support).  If you’re writing a grant for children’s musical theater, your tone will be more upbeat and fun.  But in ALL cases, your tone stays true to your organization’s mission.