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The competition for grants is fierce these days. Foundation assets are stagnant or declining while governments pursue fiscal austerity measures. In 2012, nonprofits need all the keys they can find to unlock the grant makers’ strongboxes and win significant grant awards.


This post focuses on improving organizational readiness to pursue grants. A later post will feature places where nonprofits can go to find potential grants from corporations and foundations – either for free or at a modest cost.



GuideStar provides access to information on 1,800,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-recognized tax-exempt organizations. Among the nonprofits in its databases are most of the Nation’s 80,000-plus private foundations. Its database of 5,400,000 IRS Form 990 images is useful for researching the 990-PF (private foundation) filings of prospective grant makers and exploring their historical patterns of grant making.


Maine Association of Nonprofits:

Like other associations elsewhere, the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP) assists nonprofits within that State in areas related to nonprofit management. Among its services are educational workshops designed to build perspectives, skills, and resources of nonprofit boards and staff leadership. Among other concerns, MANP focuses its services on:

  • Communications
  • Evaluation
  • Grant writing
  • Fundraising
  • Public relations
  • Social media


In delivering useful training, MANP works closely with the Maine Philanthropy Center, which is part of the Foundation Center’s national network of cooperating collections.


Council on Foundations:

The Council on Foundations is a Washington, DC, area-based nonprofit membership association of 2,100 grant-making foundations and corporations with total assets of more than $282 billion. It is an abundant source of insights about grant making from the grant makers’ viewpoints. Among its many resources are:

  • National standards (e.g., for community foundations)
  • Professional development (e.g., conferences, webinars, and seminars)
  • A career center


Centers for Nonprofit Management:

In geographic regions across the United States is a number of Centers for Nonprofit Management, each of which provides assistance to its member nonprofits, including services useful to grant seekers. Among such services are:

  • Brand management
  • Board development
  • Organizational development
  • Fundraising planning and coordination
  • Strategic planning
  • A consultant directory
  • Executive searches

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