An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Tips for prospect research success

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Tips for prospect research success

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the third installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a new blog series from the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs. Check out the first and second installments.

As Grants Manager at the Afterschool Alliance, my role is to research, explore and help cultivate funding opportunities, and prepare and submit grant proposals to a wide array of potential funders.

One of the challenges your development team likely faces is: “How do we most efficiently maximize our fundraising efforts with limited time and human resources?” One key step is setting time aside to conduct thorough prospect research.

Why Research?

Because of the sometimes complicated nature of putting together a quality and persuasive grant proposal, it is important to target potential funders with the greatest chance of success. Taking the necessary time to find out whether the donor is a good fit will result in a higher chance of success once you have submitted your proposal.

Instead of spending time crafting grants cold, it is far more effective to spend that time researching those donors that:

  • Fund, or have a history of funding, afterschool programs
  • Provide funding for programs in your geographic area
  • Have a philanthropic focus on areas such as STEM or health & wellness that align very well with your program focus

After you’ve narrowed your prospect list by the criteria above, don’t forget to:

  • Look for personal connections: Spend some time researching whether your organization has a connection to a potential donor (e.g. perhaps a member of your Board of Directors was once an employee of a prospective corporate donor).
  • Revisit old research: If you have lost a funder who has refocused their philanthropic efforts or put a prospect aside because it doesn’t seem to fit, do not just assume that the donor is gone forever – spend some time researching whether the donor has pivoted back to an area that aligns with your program.

Fundraising Resources

You can find valuable research resources at:

The following digests can also keep you up to date with what is happening in the world of philanthropy, and can highlight donors that might be very strong potential funders for you:

Prospect research takes time, just as preparing a grant proposal takes time. Setting time aside, however, on the front end to identify the strongest possible targets will maximize your human resources so that your development team has the best chance of success in acquiring the necessary funding for your afterschool or summer leaning program. 

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Funding opportunity: Up to $1,000 for environmental service-learning

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Step up your STEM programming with $25,000+ from GM

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Up to $75k for innovative initiatives and ideas to benefit kids

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      04/05/18

Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply. Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/04/17

New funding opp: Discretionary grants up to $20,000

Looking for a way to inspire the youth in your afterschool program? Want to start a project but don’t have the necessary funds to start? The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation offers grants of different amounts for projects big and small! Through a fairly simple application process, you...

BY: Marco Ornelas      10/02/17

Funding opportunity: Up to $1,000 for environmental service-learning

The future of the planet belongs to our kids, and afterschool programs offer one of the best opportunities for students and youth to engage in environmental stewardship projects that connect classroom experiences of environmental science with the real world. If your afterschool program has a focus...

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8 firsthand tips to win the sustainability battle

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Tips for prospect research success

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8 firsthand tips to win the sustainability battle

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This grant could support your program's socially conscious art project

The Puffin Foundation West seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and voices often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy. To achieve that goal, the organization offers grants for arts projects that...

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: The business of corporate fundraising

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Funding opportunity: Bring Soccer for Success to your afterschool program

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Your community could win $25K through the Culture of Health Prize

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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Tips for prospect research success

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the third installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a new blog series from the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time...

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New grant: $1,000 for youth soccer from Target

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BY: Marco Ornelas      08/03/17

Funding opportunity: Bring Soccer for Success to your afterschool program

In partnership with Trinity Health, the U.S. Soccer Foundation recently announced a funding opportunity to expand their free out of school program, Soccer for Success. The Foundation seeks community partners to implement this program for 12 weeks during the spring of 2017, and who will return...

BY: Tiereny Lloyd      09/19/16

Your community could win $25K through the Culture of Health Prize

Every year, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) honors U.S. communities that are making strides and setting an example in the effort to lead more people to healthy lifestyles through the Culture of Health Prize. In 2017, up to 10 winners will receive a $25,000 prize, along with...

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