Guide to the Funding Process

What’s your Project?

What do you want to do? Who will be involved? How long will it take? How much will it cost? Who will benefit? In what broader field of inquiry does your project belong? (Hint: think beyond your academic discipline) 

Gathering your ideas early will streamline the funding process. Speaking with our FRCP fundraisers may help! We can help you think about outcomes, budget, and other essentials that will create a more compelling and competitive project.

 

How Foundations Work

Foundations are mission-driven organizations that fund programs to further their objectives. Most foundations prefer discrete projects over open-ended operations, endowments, buildings, or equipment. Typically, large foundations seek public impact from their giving. 

What problem are you helping them solve? 

What will they be able to say about your work and how it aligns with their mission?

 

Finding Compatible Foundations

We can help! Tell us about your project and our team will compile a short list of the best prospects that includes program information, past grants, and application strategy. Start by emailing our office cfr_office@berkeley.edu, or scheduling a time to speak with one of our fantastic fundraisers. You can also search on your own, using Foundation Directory Online, Pivot or browsing our prospecting lists here

The Berkeley Research Development Office also maintains a helpful database of limited submissions opportunities. If you are a postdoctoral student or seeking a fellowship this is a great resource to utilize; as our office generally does not work on those projects!

 

Align your Goals

Seek out foundations whose objectives and strategies are in alignment with your project. Pay special attention to geographical restrictions and types of work supported. For example,  research is very different from intervention! Look beyond subject headings. Will the foundation fund projects like yours?

 

Develop the Proposal

Our team can work with you as you develop your proposal. We can provide helpful edits and also advise you on timing and strategy—what to emphasize and what to trim. With some foundations, we have already built strong working relationships, and can guide you on how they fund and who will be reviewing your proposal. We may even have insights on recent proposals that have been successful!

 

Make the Application Shine

Do not underestimate the time that you will need to collect documents, attachments, data etc. Read and reread the directions. Every foundation is different. If you are using the same information for multiple applications, take the time to customize the application for the funder you are applying to. If the proposal will be submitted online, check into the online system before the deadline. Sometimes crucial application instructions - such as word limits and attachments - are hidden until you log-in! 

Navigating the application process can be tricky. Our team of experts is happy to help you navigate the process!

 

Ready, set, submit!

If you are working with our office, make sure to build in time for review. If submission is by mail, pay special attention to postmark versus received deadlines. If you are submitting online, aim to turn in your application early to avoid feeling rushed. Hit submit and give yourself and your colleagues a round of applause!

 

Follow up

If you get the grant, fantastic! Be sure to let us know. We can help you with follow-up reporting, stewardship, and next steps in maintaining your new foundation relationship. 

If you do not get the grant, count it as a learning experience. Most foundations receive far more submissions than they can possibly fund, and many rejected applicants go on to receive funding in the future.