Raising Funds from Foundations New to Disability
If you work with a Disabled People’s Organization (DPO), chances are, your organization never has enough cash. And foundations that specialize in supporting DPOs are hard to find.
Often, the answer is to look for funding from foundations that do not necessarily advertise themselves as having a disability focus. But if the funder has limited prior experience with supporting projects run by DPOs, or otherwise targeted at the disability community, then your worry becomes, How do you convince them that your project is exactly the kind of project they’re seeking to support? How do you overcome any misconceptions they might have about the true needs of people with disabilities or their relevance to the kinds of projects they normally support?
Fundseekers wrestling with these kinds of questions can turn to a 2-page handout from the Disability Funders Network entitled “Bridging the Knowledge Gap: Working with Foundations to Attract Disability Funding” (PDF format, 110 Kb) for some of their answers.
This guide is targeted at DPOs in the United States, but many of the broad principles are applicable anywhere. For example, some foundations support projects targeted at “diverse” or “vulnerable” communities. This means it can be helpful to make the case for why disability fits in perfectly with their desire to be supportive of diversity. Also, foundations usually value demographic statistics about the community that a project is meant to support. (For example, how many people with disabilities are there in the area where you want to do your project?)
Download the handout for yourself at:
And also be sure to read Disability Funder’s “Recommendations for Grantseekers“; some of the advice is similar, but with added nuances.
Having trouble finding the statistics you need to write a stronger grant proposal? Browse some of the earlier We Can Do posts listed under “Tips and Leads for how to find more Academic Research, Papers, and Statistics” in the Research, Reports, Papers, Statistics page (available from the top navigation bar). Some of these past blog posts may help point you to sources for various kinds of data, research, and other documented information.
Looking for more resources related to fund raising? You can find a few right here at We Can Do from the page entitled “Resources, Toolkits, and Funding” (available from top navigation bar). Or, starting in late August or early September 2008, you will find even more resources in the Resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website.
Also find more resources like this one at the Disability Funders Network website.
I found this handout by browsing the Disability Funder’s Network website.
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