>>I am new to fundraising, started an organization and do most operations (at this time) on my own. Are there any better sources than others for foundation info? Where can I buy addresses by zipcode from? Where do I start with finding a good grant writer that will understand the organization. Any other tips for a beginnier in fundraising would be most appreciated. <<
Well number one it would help to know what kind of organization it is. Is it a non-profit organization? Or not?
While you may be new to fundraising I'm sure that you will realize that fundraising is not new itself. There are professional fundraising organizations and professional fundraisers - some of them even advertise.
When you are new at something and you want to learn more - you do just that - you learn! You have access to the Internet and I'm sure that there is a library and/or bookstore somewhere near you.
There are sites that keep a database of foundations that offer grants and a lot of them charge a fee for you to be able to access that database. Some charge you monthly and there are some that charge you once. I, try to avoid these because I can find just as much information on my own and sometimes will find some that THEY don't even have yet. Another thing that you have to realize is that grants and the entities that award them - some of them are discontinued and new ones are created. For instance I know of a $100,000 grant program that is going to be offered by the IRS for the 2005 tax season. Nowhere else have I seen this mentioned except for the IRS's site itself. So I don't think that there is one better source for foundation grant info because not one source has them all.
There are companies that sell business addresses by the zipcode and you can find them doing an Internet search. But as you might be crunched as far as money goes I would just simply find out the information on my own. You can bypass a lot of the expenses if you do the work yourself. However if its because of time or experience constraints then it just might be easier for you to bear the expense.
Grantwriters, like fundraisers, also advertise as well. You may be able to get someone if you ask around or tell people that you are looking for one. You could also advertise for one yourself. It may even come to the point where you may not even need one if you can do the application process yourself as some of them require the most simplest of paperwork to submit your application. A lot of grants can be applied for online (besides the regular snail mail way). A lot of the foundations have contact information including email addresses and phone numbers.
The best tip that I could give you (without knowing what kind of organization it is) is to first define the objective of your organization. Let's say your organization is to help care for abused animals. There are many grants for that from foundations, sponsors, etc. I even read about one organization that was featured in a newspaper article and someone that read the article donated $1000 to the organization.
You have to have some kind of business plan for your organization (as the other reply said). Having your objectives (and plan) down on paper so that you can see it will make things easier for you - especially since you are wearing so many hats with your organization.
What is the objective of your organization?
What is your organization's identity? Meaning your organization's basic identity which is contact information. What about a logo that is easily identifiable with your organization? I'm sure that you have seen many organizations with logos. Logos help to make your organization more easily identifiable. What about literature? Do you have a newsletter, a press release, a webpage? What about a database of anything to potential donors to those that have actually donated. You have to make, keep and maintain records - especially if you are a tax-deductible non-profit.
A lot of organizations have been started with the most geniuine of reasons and by people who didn't know what they were getting into but they managed to continue and make their organizations successful. You have to realize that nobody knows it all and you have to take one step at a time and sometimes those steps will be baby steps.