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This is an archived post from our old blog. It's here for the sake of posterity (and to keep the search engines happy). Our new blog can be found at

4 Tips for Grant Ask Amounts

You've done your homework and found a number of grants that are a good fit for the type of work you do and your geographic location, which is a great start. Now you need to decide how much you should ask for in your letter of inquiry or your full proposal to the funder. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to come up with your ask amount:

1. Your ask amount should not be based on budget gaps. It should be based on research and understanding of the funder. You also need to show the funder that you have a detailed and realistic plan on how to meet the rest of your budget.

2. Find out how much the funder has given in the past. If they don't have a website, don't worry! You can look this information up in their 990. If you're not sure how to do that, you're in luck since Nathan wrote a blog post about it last month. Your ask amount should be similar to the amounts they have previously given.

3. Look at your overall budget. It is rare for a funder to provide 100% of your budget. So if you find a funder who gives $50,000 to $100,000 grants and your budget is $25,000, it's not a good fit. However, if the typical award amounts are $2,500 - $10,000, you're a good fit. I do not suggest asking for more than 50% of your budget, unless you are able to determine that the funder will provide that.

4. If a funder offers the option to call or email them with questions, don't be shy. Email them and ask if you can set up a time to discuss your work and the application process. The person in charge of handling applications is typically  a program officer or associate. While they usually do not have the final say on what gets funded, they often assist with the grant panels or the foundation's process for reviewing the applications. Connecting with them is the best way to obtain accurate information on what is appropriate to ask for and it also gives you the chance to introduce yourself. Raising money from individuals, foundations, and corporations is about establishing relationships, sharing goals, and working together. That email or phone call could be the beginning of a meaningful relationship.