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Non-Profit News

Finding Grants
Advantage Consulting Services
Grant Writing 101
Finding Grants
Focus on Fundraising
Non-Profit Forum
Contact Information

In this issue...


 Non-profit organizations survive on grant funding.  But what grants are available and where do you find them?  Public funding sources such as the state and federal government offer large grants, and the application process is often complicated and intimidating, but well worth the effort.  Start by searching the Federal Register or the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (see links below).  Private funding sources include community foundations, corporations, and family foundations.  It's always best to start locally with the resources available right here in the Marshfield community.  The Donors Forum of Wisconsin is another great place to research potential foundation grants.  The links below will help you get started.

The key to success is to thoroughly research all funding opportunities.  Use prospect worksheets to collect data and determine which funders are compatible with your project or program.  The number one reason why grant proposals are rejected is because the proposed project did not fall within the funding priorities of the funder or the organization requesting funds did not meet the eligibility requirements.  Prospect worksheets will help organize the information you research on potential funding sources and help you determine which potential funding sources are most compatible with your project.  (Download sample prospect worksheets below).

Most requests for proposals (RFP's) come out in the Spring, so it is a good idea to start researching potential funding sources now.  The Federal Register is updated everyday, and private foundations often have websites listing the details of the funding cycles, including when new funding is expected to be available and the deadline for submitting proposals.  Take some time now to search the various links and databases below. Become familiar with them now and refer back to them often for updates.

If your organization has a specific project or program for which you are seeking funding and you would like some assistance in researching potential funding sources, contact Advantage Consulting Services.  We'll be happy to assist you with your research and help you determine appropriate options.  The next issue of Non-Profit News will cover the basics of writing grant proposals, because once you identify potential funding opportunities, you'll need to submit a winning proposal.  Just remember that it can be done!  


Broadly defined, grants come from two sources: the private sector and the public sector. The private sector consists of foundations and corporations. The public sector is the government: town, city, county, state and federal.

Private Foundations

There are five basic types of foundations:

Community Based: These groups are formed for the benefit of a specific area. The San Francisco Bay Area foundation, as one example, is dedicated to projects in and around San Francisco.

National Broad Interest: You already know their names: Rockefeller, Ford, etc. They are nationwide and huge. Because they are so well known, and receive vast numbers of applications, they are looking for innovative projects. If you have a creative idea, or one that could be used as a model for other agencies, you might try one of the national general purpose foundations.

Special Interest: Some foundations have a national or even international service area, but give for only one purpose. The Arthritis Foundation, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association each have a specific area of that they give grants to.

Family: There are 10's of thousands of family foundations. Established by a wealthy family or individual, they often have a geographic area where they concentrate their giving.

Corporate: There comes a point when a corporation begins to make many donation and it makes sense to establish a corporate foundation. There are over 2,000 corporate foundations. For our purposes, well be grouping direct corporate giving in with corporate foundations.

Corporations tend to make grants to the communities that are close to their headquarters or major facilities. Often they require that grants be sponsored by a current employee. Charitable donations are seen as an employee benefit. The goals of corporate grants are to achieve the goals of the company, improve the surrounding environment, and improve the corporations image. They are very risk averse in their giving.

Government Grants

Government grants can come from any level of government: city, county, state or federal. You need to realize, however, that city, county, and state grants may be "pass throughs" for federal funds. The city, county, and state may add regulations or restrictions to the federal programs, but they cant remove any restrictions. If you receive a local grant, you will have to follow all of the regulations assigned to that money from its original source.



The Federal Register
When searching for federal funding opportunities, you'll want to start with the Federal Register.  Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.  The National Register can be intimidating at first, but once you go there and start searching through it, you'll see that it provides essential information on every federal grant available.  The information is updated daily.

Tips for searching the Federal Register:  Start with a "simple search" by clicking this option on the menu to the left.  You will see a search box where you can type in key words.  Select the key words that describe the project or program for which you are seeking funding (i.e. "domestic violence" or "substance abuse prevention" of "nutrition programs").  Clicking the "submit" button will bring up a list of articles and requests for proposals (RFP's) related to your key words.  Be prepared to spend a lot of time searching through the results.  You will notice that the RFP's are quite lengthy, but you can usually find the information you need within the first few pages, including the deadline for submitting proposals and the eligibility requirements.  Once you get comfortable with the Federal Register, try an advanced search!

Search the Federal Register

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
The online Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance gives you access to a database of all Federal programs available to State and local governments (including the District of Columbia); federally-recognized Indian tribal governments; Territories (and possessions) of the United States; domestic public, quasi-public, and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions; specialized groups; and individuals.  After you find the program you want, contact the office that administers the program and find out how to apply.

Search the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

Finding Funding: A Guide to Federal Sources
The Finance Project published a comprehensive guide to federal funding sources.  The guide describes the federal funding source, the type of funds available, eligibility requirements and contact information, often including email addresses and web links where you can seek out additional information.  Although the guide is focused on after school programs, there is still much information to benefit any program or project.  Funding priorities include:

This guide is available as a PDF file (requires Acrobat reader) by clicking the link below.  The guide includes several indices to assist you in researching funding opportunities including FUNDING SOURCES LISTED BY FEDERAL AGENCY, FUNDING SOURCES BY ELIGIBLE APPLICANT and PROGRAMS LISTED BY SERVICE DOMAIN AND FUNDING.

click here to download file

See the featured online resources for more information about federal grant opportunities.


When seeking funding from foundations, it is best to start local.  There are a number of resources within the Marshfield community to get you started:

Marshfield Area Community Foundation
P.O. Box 456
Marshfield, WI 54449
Phone: 715-384-9029
Fax: 715-384-9029
Dean Markwardt

Marshfield Area Chamber Foundation
Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry
700 South Central Avenue
P.O. Box 868  Marshfield, WI 54449
Phone: 715-384-3454

Ministry Fund
St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation
611 St. Joseph Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449-1899
Phone: 715-387-9502
Ann Boson

Children's Miracle Network
611 St. Joseph Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449-1899
Phone: 715-387-9965
Patti Shafto-Carlson
CMN Manager
Download Application:

also try

Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin
500 Third Street Suite 310
Wausau, WI 54403
Phone: 715-845-9555
Fax: 715-845-5423
Jean Clare Tehan


Donors Forum of Wisconsin
Donors Forum of Wisconsin members are grantmakers that fund primarily in the state of Wisconsin. Organizations range in size from major corporate donors to small family foundations and individuals giving at least $25,000 annually. Our members' annual grant distribution ranges from $5,000 to $33 million, and provides over $145 million a year to help meet important needs in the region.  The membership lists includes direct links to foundation websites.

See the featured online resources for more information about foundations.


Prospect worksheets are good tools to use when researching foundations and prospective donors.  Perhaps staff, board members, or a committee of volunteers is searching the Internet for possible funding sources.  A prospect worksheet will help them identify the key pieces of information that will determine the compatibility of your program or project to a foundation's funding priorities.  When researching a funding prospect, make a note of the eligibility requirements including geographic location, types of services and programs that can be funded, as well as any restrictions on target populations to be served.  Note the foundation's funding cycle and list all deadlines, and include as much contact information as possible including full name of foundation, mailing address, email address, and name of a contact person.  Providing staff and volunteers with prospect worksheets will clarify what information is needed and insure that the time spent in researching prospective funders is worth the effort.

The number one reason grant proposals are rejected is that the project or program requesting funding did not match the funding priorities or eligibility requirements set by the foundation.  A completed prospect worksheet can tell you at a glance whether or not a particular foundation is a compatible funding source for your project or program.  A particular foundation may seem like a good match for your project, but it is very disappointing to spend weeks preparing a proposal only to discover that this particular foundation only funds programs within the state of Texas.  So researching each foundation is crucial.  

HELPFUL TIP:  Keep all completed prospect worksheets in a three-ring binder in alphabetical order.  Include those that are not compatible (for example foundations that only fund projects in larger metropolitan areas), because in the future, this particular foundation may be looked at again, and you can check the prospect binder and save yourself a lot of time.  And always update your prospect worksheets.  Just because one particular foundation is funding literacy programs one year, they might have completely different funding priorities the following year.  It is always best to contact the foundation directly and ask for a copy of their current funding guidelines.

Prospect Worksheet -- Institutional Funders
This Prospect Worksheet will help you focus on funders whose priorities match those of your project.

click here to download file

Prospect Worksheet -- Individual Donors
This prospect worksheet will help you focus on individuals with an interest in contributing to projects like yours.

click here to download file


The Foundation Center website has a "finding funders" section that includes a foundation directory and links to many grantmaker websites.  There are a number of other resources available on the website including online courses in grant writing.
You can browse the foundation directory, pick a listed foundation, search any foundation's information page or search any foundation's home page. Foundation home pages may contain downloadable information such as grant applications, periodical and financial reports, and e-mail capabilities.
The portal is one of two dozen crossagency e-government initiatives launched under the Bush administration's E-Government Strategy to promote collaboration and consolidation along common services and needs across government.

Need help researching potential grants?
Contact Advantage Consulting Services for FREE assistance in locating and researching potential foundation funds and federal grants.


Doug Seubert
Non-Profit Development Specialist
Advantage Consulting Services, Inc.
PO Box 504
Marshfield, WI 54449-0504