Frequently Asked Questions
PLEASE NOTE: The Grant Application deadlines are now March 1 and September 1!
In each grant cycle, there are about 75 requests. There are typically $2.5 of request for every $1 we have to grant. So, unfortunately, our grant decisions are a competitive process. We are seeking and prefer requests with ambitious outcomes, a thoughtful and rigorous plan, and the organizational capacity to deliver it (financial, leadership, experience, and more). The track record of the organization and its leadership with Longwood is an important factor in our decision making process.
The ideas and inquiries below are the questions which frequently come up when we are discussing a grant request with an applicant. They do not necessarily encompass all of our questions, but represent some important ones. Please do not attempt to answer each one explicitly in your request. Consider these to be thought starters, not a check list you need to address one by one. Be prepared to answer many of the questions when we sit down with you to discuss your request.
1.What’s the passion behind your organization? Tell us the story behind the non profit. As its leader(s), what drew you to it and keeps you pushing for progress on its behalf? 2.What are you trying to accomplish over the next few years? a.We are expecting you to identify your own measures of success as an organization. b.Which of these can you quantify? What’s your three year history on these metrics? How do others in your sector perform on them? From there, illustrate how ambitious the proposed accomplishments will be when
c.Metrics typically fall into three groups – volume, quality, and cost. Ideally, you have one or two in each group, but that’s not a requirement. d.The highest quality metrics are objective and from sources beyond your organization. Good examples would be
an increase in the number of clients who pay for the nonprofit's services (if applicable) or a 3rd party managed
survey of the quality of the nonprofit's services compared to their local competitors.
e. Ambitious goals and a credible plan to accomplish them make it more likely that Longwood will look favorably upon your request.
Keep in mind that if your current request is funded and you return for a future request, the conversation will start with
how you performed against your goals.
3.How thoughtful and rigorous is your plan? a.Illustrate the linkage between your action plans and the ambitions you described above. b.This is a good place to explain your theory of change as it should underpin the answer to this question c.How does the proposed grant enable the action plans described? 4.What is your capacity to deliver the plan? a.Leadership and Governance i. Why is your current leader uniquely qualified to succeed with the proposed effort?
ii. How much experience does your leadership have in the sector?
iii. Is there a strategic plan? Has your Board been actively engaged in the planning process? iv. Do members of the Board have meaningful experience in the sector?
v. Is there a succession plan should the Executive Director leave the organization? What is it? Has the current Board
already been through a successful leadership succession challenge before?
v. Is there a Board succession plan for Board Chair and members? b.Organizational i.Have other non profits around the country or world already proven the proposed results of the program you
are proposing? If so, how will you ensure fidelity to their process? If you are changing their process, what
impact will the changes have on their results?
ii. Is there sufficient talent in the organization to execute the proposed program with excellence and deliver the
c.Financial i.Assuming that Longwood does not fund the entire request (the Trustees often prefer to fund no more than half of a program to ensure that others in the community see value in it too), how likely to fund are the other
sources you have identified? Have some of them already committed funds?
ii. Sometimes when you make a capital investment, new operational costs are created. How will you fund
these? For instance, if you buy an incremental van to transport clients, how will you pay for the driver and
iii. If the request is an operating one, how will you fund it once Longwood’s grant runs out? You should
assume that Longwood will not fund this effort a second time.
iv. Is there an existing, meaningful, reliable, and on-going source of funds for your operations such as an
endowment or the government?