Grants are not my area of expertise, but I do like to be familiar with the basics. One of those basics of course is that there are many more requests out there than actual grants available. 80% of donations to non-profits come from individuals not foundations or corporations. Which are two reasons I’d rather focus on individual giving than grants.
But for many organizations grants can be a good (but not sole or primary) source of revenue. One of the organizations that I am a board member of has relied heavily on grants. It’s a young organization, less than 5 years, that began as a “project” under another NPO. This project status and the existing foundation relationships of the parent organization made grant funding a great match.
There was an excellent article by Cassandra O’Neill from the May 2007 Charity Channel newsletter that expounds upon the point.
impact the relationships that you have with funders and the community by meeting with people, building relationships, and partnerships, measuring and communicating your great results, and finding champions, people who support your work and are engaged with your agency. These are things that will help you in the long run in many ways in addition to increasing your chances of getting a grant.
When seeking funds the emphasis should always be in building quality relationships with funders a.k.a real people, rather than relying solely on the written word.