Three Easy Steps To Identify New Funding Prospects
With so many potential funders out there, grant research can be a daunting task. But with a few simple tricks, grant research can produce amazing results pretty quickly. First off, there is a wealth of information to be found in Foundation Directory Online. Let’s look at a few ways to use this tool to find great new prospects for your current needs. The first step to successful grant research is knowing what you are looking for and how to identify new funding prospects.
Start with a list of the things you need, how much they will cost, and when you need them in hand. Here at Funding For Good, we use our needs list in conjunction to help us determine all the answers needed to be effective in our research.
Once you have all the prep work done, you are ready to jump online.
Let’s take a look at three easy ways to identify new funding prospects you may not have thought of or didn’t know how to search for previously.
- Search for foundations that have funded similar organizations in the past. In order to conduct this search, you first need to know the nonprofit organizations who do similar work, their official names, and where they are located.
Once you have the basic information, hop on Foundation Directory Online and click the upper right link in the search box that says Advanced Search. Once this box opens, you will see a box in the lower left corner that says Organization Name. In this box, you can type the organization name and choose the one you want to investigate. The search results will show you all the foundations who have funded the organization in the past, the year of funding, the amount funded, the description of what the project funded, etc.
- Search for foundations that have funded YOUR organization in the past. Here’s a crazy idea that many people new to an organization or new to the world of nonprofits never think about: Who has funded us in the past? Many organizations don’t have stellar records about foundations that have given them grants previously, what the money was used for, or how much was granted. Crazy, but true! Refer to #1 and run that search on your own organization. See who has given to you in the past. Has a foundation that has an interest in your work been neglected? Perhaps you need to revisit some past supporters and get them back in the fold.
- Search for foundations by Geographic Focus. Do you know all of the foundations that provide funding in your county, in surrounding counties, or in your region? Would you like to? I know I love using that information when I’m researching prospects for a specific area. It’s easy peasy with Foundation Directory Online. Simply go to the Advanced Search link and type in the county and state in the Geographic Focus box (top row, center box). You’ll see the list of all foundations that award grants in that county appear. Now you can research all the foundations that send funding to a geographic area and see who might support your work. Do this for each region in your service area or where you have an impact. You might be surprised at some of the prospects you uncover.
Two additional tidbits to keep in mind.
Tidbit #1: Don’t limit yourself to super specific Subject Areas in your search. Many foundations will give to a variety of organizations, so using more general terms will lend to better results.
Tidbit #2: Don’t freak out when you see “We only fund pre-selected charitable organizations” or “We don’t accept unsolicited proposals.” To learn more about these two phrases and what they really mean, check out this blog: The Dreaded Phrases of Grant Research.
MANDY PEARCE is a grant writing expert, executive coach, and national fundraising trainer who launched Funding for Good, Inc. in 2009 to equip organizations with the skills and tools needed to become successful and sustainable. Mandy has taken her passion and expertise for fundraising to the development field and shared it with individuals and organizations for over 21 years. Her dynamic teaching style brings thousands of people annually to her presentations at conventions, trainings, and workshops. Mandy lives in Hickory, NC with her husband and their rescue dogs, Leo and Dalli, who share her enthusiasm for the outdoors.