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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

People’s United Bank

TD Bank

Bank of America

Wells Fargo

Chase Bank

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

California Bank & Trust

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!

The Frankenstein Grant Proposal

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I had fun over on my Blog Talk Radio Show today.

What happens after you have written a great grant proposal and your executive director wants the input of several people in your organization before you submit it? You get a Frankenstein Grant Proposal! The Grant Whisperer shows you how to salvage your proposal and your sanity.

Listen to internet radio with GrantWhisperer on Blog Talk Radio

Click the arrow below to listen to the eleven minute episode.

The Importance of Community Support

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Of all the elements that must find their way into a grant proposal, there’s one that may get overlooked. This is the element of community support. Include it and you’ll strengthen your proposal; leave it out and you may get a rejection letter.

If all things are equal in two proposals, and one clearly demonstrates community support, that’s the one that will get funded. Why is community support so important to funders? Consider the grantors’ purpose, mission, and funding priorities. They not only have a philanthropic mission to serve the community, but a desire to make an impact in the community.

When your organization makes an impact in the lives of those you serve, what do you do about it? Do you quietly go about your business? Or do you let everyone know? By informing the community of your success—your clients, your donors, your members, potential donors, local media, your industry, your website, your newsletter, your volunteers, your staff, etc.—you’re also taking a huge step to gaining community support. People can’t support your organization if they don’t know about the wonderful things you do. Don’t save all your accomplishments for grant applications and a year-end report! Get the word out in ways that fit your organization’s personality and mission.

Kids enjoying nature trail

How do you articulate community support in a grant proposal?

You want to highlight support relating to your proposal. Say the proposal is for developing a new hiking trail. You’d mention the number of trail users you already have, the number of hits to your trail web site, the other community organizations that support trail use and who endorse the project, comments from surveys that support the need for more trails, the number of members who’ve signed up to receive trail updates, how many years your Trail Volunteer Program has been active and how many participate. Perhaps you have an annual race on the trail, give the highlights of community support for that event. Give whatever details show that trails matter in your community and that trails impact the quality of life of residents.

The grantor isn’t only supporting a trail, they are supporting the people who will develop it, manage it, and especially those who will use it. Again it’s about convincing the donor of the significant long-term impact they can potentially make by awarding your organization a grant.


Tie Your Grant Proposals To The Funder’s Interests

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Yes, your organization’s mission is vitally important. We’ve discussed that your mission is why your organization exists. Your mission also guides organizational decision-making and it gives the organization a sense of direction. In other words, just about every activity your organization engages in has to do with furthering your mission. Just as every communication out of your organization has to do with your mission. And naturally, every grant proposal you write has to do with supporting your mission. Do you see how your mission drives everything? So knowing how crucial YOUR mission is, I now ask you to consider your FUNDER’S mission.

Animal Shelter

That’s right. Your potential funder’s mission is vitally important, too. Why? You can have the most wonderfully written grant proposal ever submitted, but if it doesn’t match the funder’s interests and mission, your wonderful proposal will be rejected. The reason they can’t fund projects that don’t match their mission is because the reason THEY exist, or their funding priorities exist, is to fulfill THEIR mission—just like your organization. The lesson here is to be sure your grant proposal matches the funder’s interests, priorities, and mission. You’ll be a step closer to winning a grant award.

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth-Grader?

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

If you’re nervous about writing a grant, think of a grant proposal as asking someone for something that you don’t have to pay for. You ask your spouse to buy things, don’t you? You may ask your employer for an upgrade in your technology or a new company vehicle. What about your parents? Surely you asked them to buy you a car. Regardless of the outcome, you have experience devising a strategy to get someone else to provide you with cash or something that you desperately needed—and putting that strategy into words. You made a case for your cause, and you presented your best justification. Guess what grant writers do?

If you’re still anxious about tackling a grant proposal, just remember how many wives, teenagers, fifth-graders, and even five-year-olds have had success with their urgent requests. Remember your own successes, relax, and read this blog. The Grant Whisperer will help you tackle your first grant proposal (and many more) without fear.

You Can Write A Grant Proposal

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Welcome to the Grant Whisperer blog! This blog will provide tips and inspiration for those who need to write a grant proposal. If you work for a non-profit, volunteer in your community, or are involved with an organization that serves the community in some way, you may need to raise funds. The Grant Whisperer is here to help. In today’s economy, community organizations need funds more than ever. You can write a compelling proposal to gain community support and help your organization win grants to survive. I’ll let you in on grantwriting secrets. I’ll let you know when I discover new techniques. And I’ll introduce you to some grantwriting experts so we can learn from their experience together. Join in the discussion, ask questions, and get inspired to write a grant. My goal is to help you make a difference in your community. Together, we can change the world, one grant proposal at a time.