5 Ways to Research Grants Without Going Crazy on

5 Ways to Research Grants Without Going Crazy

May 8th, 2017

  • WGW
  • May 8th, 2017

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Finding the right grant for your organization can be an overwhelming task, but following these tips can make it easier.

If you’re ready to start researching grants or are in the middle of the process, you know that it’s arduous, tedious, never-ending work. However, the following tips can help focus your process and make it less burdensome.

1. Determining the purpose of your grant

Sound basic? It’s not. Many organizations just plunge into the world of grants without having a strong reason (or reasons) for the grant.

Ask yourself, “What is the purpose for this grant?” You need to be able to clearly articulate what you want funded ─ and why. Knowing those answers will help you in your search as well as your communications with grant funders.

Also, keep in mind how a grant for your project unites with your organization’s overall mission. What’s the narrative of your organization? What’s its focus? What are its concerns? Then think about how this grant will tie into that vision.

Moreover, know the timeline for this grant. How soon will you need it? You may need to revisit this search, restructure it, or postpone it until your organization can best implement the grant.

2. Explore online research centers

“Almost all research for funders is done online now,” writes Joanne Fritz. “There are free information centers in libraries, community foundations, or other nonprofit resource centers. They will have access to the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network database, plus a basic collection of publications.”

The most popular grant search engines are:

  • Foundation Center. This online foundation “gathers and analyzes data, shares it worldwide, and empowers people to understand and increase philanthropy’s ability to improve the world.”
  • Grants.gov. This tool lets you look for grants based on basic search criteria (e.g., keywords), opportunity status, eligibility, funding instrument type, category, and agency.
  • Grant Watch. This search engine “identifies grants for universities, hospitals, government agencies, schools, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, research institutions, and some small businesses and individuals.”

3. Focus on keywords

When looking through research centers, conduct keyword searches to find grants that pertain to your organization’s focus.

Search by:

  • Keywords
  • Subject matter
  • Geographic area
  • Ethnicity
  • Target audience
  • Race
  • Gender

Don’t forget to do combinations of keywords as well.

“The process of finding grants typically begins with prospect research,” states GrantSpace, a service of Foundation Center. “Foundations generally give based on subject and geographic region, so look for funders whose interests match your organization’s mission, programs, populations served, and locations served.”

4. Compile a list of potential funders and comb through it

“Sit down with your work associates and ask these questions,” suggests writer Beverly A. Browning. “Who are our corporate vendors? What bank or credit union processes our payroll? What local funders have given us money or in-kind contributions in the past five years? Do we still have a good relationship with these funders? Can we approach them again for funding support?”

Put together a list of prospects, and get to know your prospective funders. Read everything you can about what drives them:

  • Annual reports
  • About Us pages
  • Staff biographies
  • Case studies
  • Social media posts
  • History of grants

Dig into their websites and find out where their passions lie. Then winnow down the list so you don’t end up wasting time with leads that go nowhere.

Doing the heavy work now means less time spent in reaching out to funders that aren’t the right fit for your organization.

5. Help for discovering grants

You may find that the process for researching grants requires far more time and effort than you can devote to it. Your focus is fixed on other important tasks.

Williams Grant Writing can do the heavy lifting for you. Find out how we can help you with grants research and every other aspect of grant proposal development, so you can get back to changing the world.

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