Step 5 – Grant Application

At this point the students have identified the Social Cause, Researched Non-Profits supporting that cause, Conducted Site Visits, Interviews and hopefully Volunteered.   The students are beginning to narrow the agencies to their top choices and NOW they are ready to examine the Grant Application(s).

Anytime a Non-Profit is hoping to receive a grant from a Foundation or Corporation they are asked to complete a Grant Application.  A grant application may range from a simple form to submitting in-depth documentation about the Non-Profit and how they intend to utilize the grant.   Our process is similar but on a much smaller scale.


The agencies under consideration are already on the Qualified Agencies list on our website.  

Grant application submitted for the current school year?  How will you know?

  • Once an agency submits a grant application, a link to the grant application is posted on NPO’s registration page. .  This is the link to the submitted grant application.  Without a grant application on file, the agency is NOT eligible to receive a grant.
  • Important:  An agency only needs to complete a grant application once per school year, please be sure the students do not ask for multiple grants to be submitted.
  • REALLY INTERESTED IN AN AGENCY THAT HAS COMPLETED A GRANT APPLICATION? Be sure to communicate with the agency, let them know you are exploring their Grant Application, and ask additional information to help narrow down the decision.  A key part of the program is for the students to develop a connection with the social cause and the agency they select.  Communication develops this connection and the student’s personal investment in the agency.


Student will either construct a personal email, with your support, to send the agency representative an invitation via email OR they may download Magnified Giving’s standard Agency Invitation Letter.  This standardized letter will allow the students to fill in all the specific information for themselves, the school and the agency. Also, informs the agency of the next steps in the process. If email is being sent from the students’ school address take into consideration any security restrictions placed on the students’ email.  Are they able to receive a response from the agency confirming receipt of the email?

Here is the Online Grant Application that Agencies will complete.

Connecting with the Agencies Who Have Submitted Grant Applications

Now that the Grant Applications has been uploaded to the Qualified Agency page on our website, the first of several tough decisions come into play as students are forced to ask important questions.

  • Which agency proposals do we like best?
  • Which programs should we support?
  • Which appear to be the most excited about working with us?
  • Which proposals seems to have the best “bang for the buck”?

These are challenging questions and part of the learning process!  The students must make tough decisions.

Once you have narrowed your choices down to a manageable number of agencies, go deeper and learn more about the agencies you are considering for a grant…

A few things to consider:

Revenue Growth

  • The grant application asks the Total Revenue and Total Expense for current fiscal year and previous.  In theory the Revenue should INCREASE each year for a growing and sustainable agency.
  • However, sometimes there are exceptions and students should be encouraged to ask questions if they do not see growth.
  • A shift in Revenue?  Received a large gift which occurs every other year, a large gift was receive at the end of the previous fiscal year – just a few explanations.
  • A shift in Expenses?  Hired additional staff because of growth, purchased a building or other important mission investments – just a few explanations.

Revenue Diversity

  • Multiple sources of revenue are positive for a Non-profit.  Should a source of revenue change for an agency with multiple donor types (corporate, foundations, and/or private donors), the agency will be able to survive such change.

Programs vs. Administrative Costs

  • Programs should account for most of the expenses each year, the program is how the mission is being fulfilled!  A general rule of thumb, 65% of expenses should fall under Programs.

Is the agency accountable and transparent; an “Open Book”?  How do you determine if an agency is transparent?  Examine their website closely for Donor information, 990 Tax Returns from previous years, Board Member names etc. If an agency follows good governance, they are less likely to engage in unethical or irresponsible activities.

Non-profits exist to make long-lasting and powerful changes for those they serve.  If you do not feel this is happening, do they deserve the grant?


Please report any typos, errors or broken links to Alison Kaufman ( or Allison Riley (