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How to Plan for a COSF Challenge Grant

We encourage you to plan for a COSF challenge grant by considering your fundraising goals for the upcoming year and how a challenge grant could help you achieve or exceed these goals. Past recipients of challenge grants have found the following process helpful:

  1. Consider what you know about the donors who support your organization and what new prospects you could reach.
  2. Review your current fundraising strategies and campaigns (annual campaign, major gifts, foundation and corporate contributions, special projects, etc.).
  3. Review your current fundraising toolbox (direct mail, phonathon, email, newsletters, personal solicitations by board members, special events, house parties, grant proposals, sponsorships, etc.).
  4. Craft a strategy connecting: (1) the donor groups you think would appreciate the opportunity to multiply the impact of their dollars, (2) your fundraising programs that would lend themselves to a challenge component, (3) the tactics available to communicate your challenge story, and (4) the available resources.
  5. From the date of submission, it typically takes COSF three to four months to notify you of a decision.  Please note any dates of special concern with respect to the timing of the challenge grant (for example, the date of a special event in which you would like to use the challenge grant in a paddle raise or the mailing date for your direct-mail solicitation).


Circle of Service Foundation considers Pre-applications and Applications on a rolling basis, and, unless we have told you otherwise, we do not have specific deadlines. Most organizations will hear from us within 45 days of the submission date of a Pre-application and within 120 days of the submission date of an Application. Further, given our challenge-grant orientation, we strongly encourage you to consider your fundraising calendar when determining when to apply for a grant. If you are a current grantee, you can apply for a new grant 90 days before your grant term ends.