- Have a fundable project in mind and write out your ideas on one page.
- Review your page and circle 'key words' (see Key Words section for more information).
- Use the appropriate funding search engine (see Finding a Funding Source) to local potential funders using your key words to narrow down your search efforts.
- Carefully narrow down your search results matching funder goals to your project idea. Funders seek projects that meet their foundation's interests. Read everything available about the funder (see Matching Funders with Projects).
- When your best potential funder is located, CAREFULLY read the funder's proposal submission requirements.
- Call their foundation director to check out your idea with them verbally (see Calling the Foundation Director for tips).
- Once you feel confident that you and the potential funder are interested in the same types of projects, follow all proposal submission requirements to write up your proposed project.
Types of Funding
When looking for project funding decide what type of funding you want. Types include:
Philanthropic Foundation Funds
- Usually a non-profit organization with a small or large amount of funding to distribute on projects they are passionate about.
- A majority of foundations originate with families wishing to support a cause or string of interests.
- Some foundations are established by community groups established to represent a number of local family efforts. The community foundation is created to handle funds administration so families don't have to hire their own staff.
Corporate Foundation Funding
- Larger businesses often promote corporate giving to projects that align with their: business products, their mission, and / or their ownership (particularly if the business is family owned).
- Corporations use their foundations to promote the company's public face.
- Often giving to a particular cause is very narrow and knowing someone on the "inside" helps a great deal to secure funds.
- Generally proposal applications are in the form of a letter or brief set of questions.
Federal Government Funding
- There are # federal agencies that comprise the majority of government funding available on a yearly basis. Funding is usually set forth in the federal government's budget so amounts and projects vary annually.
- Funding is awarded on a very competitive basis with strict guidelines, deadlines, and review criteria.
- Consistent monitoring of funding announcements is necessary because submission deadlines are usually very tight and there is a large amount of government forms and documents that must be submitted in addition to the project proposal.
Finding a Funding Source
New Mexico Funders
The NM Grant-Makers Directory includes:
415 Grant funders specifically interested in NM projects & organized by county
Plus many helpful online resources, trainings & directories
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance includes:
2,274 future & current federal funding opportunities in one place
Access to all federal agencies (including USDA) & their regional offices
Subject/key word search tools
The National Foundation Directory Online includes:
- Contact Wendy Hamilton (firstname.lastname@example.org) for username and password
The International Foundation Directory Online includes:
- Extensive list of global, regional, & country specific resources
The advent of internet technology has provided platforms for many time saving search engines. However, if you don’t know about them, you can’t use them. Below is a relatively comprehensive list of funding sources. Most have both free and fee accessibility. It is recommended that you contact your employer to see if they have any group subscriptions to one or more sites.