3 Tricks for Finding Grant Monies - dummies

By Beverly A. Browning

Numerous grants are available — but you have to find them. They won’t just come to you of their own accord. The real trick to finding potential funding opportunities is knowing how to match the funders’ priorities with your program needs. And guess what? Funders don’t flex their priorities just to give you a grant award. You, as the grant writer, and your organization must flex your statement of need to fit the funder’s priorities.

Following are three simple ways you can improve your odds of finding grant-funding opportunities for your organization:

  • Use broad search terms. You may think being as specific as possible in your keyword searches is the way to go, but taking this path can severely limit the number of potential grant-funding opportunities you can find. You’re better off searching in shorter phrases and broad terms.

    Say your organization is looking for money to enhance its electronic voting process for visually impaired persons. Don’t type “grant for helping blind people vote” into your favorite Internet search engine; type in “voting technology” or “voting” instead.

  • Check daily for grant alerts. Taking even one day off from reviewing your customized grant searches can result in losing 24 (or more!) hours of head start time on the pre-planning, researching, and grant writing process. No matter how busy you get, always spend a few moments perusing grant alerts each day. (Don’t yet have a grant alert set up? Simply subscribe to Grants.gov for government funding alerts or the weekly Philanthropy News Digest from the Foundation Center for foundation and corporate funding alerts.)

  • Focus on funding the smaller components of the bigger picture. Everyone needs hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars for their infrastructure projects. Instead of trying to sell your entire mega-money project to state or federal agencies, stop and take a look at the line-item details that contribute to the big bottom line in your project budget.

    Is it possible that the line item for engineering fees can be a separate grant application request to a private sector (foundation or corporate) funder? What about the line item for landscaping? Have you considered looking for a corporate partner to provide a portion of the critically needed funding? You’re more likely to win smaller grant awards that fund pieces of a project than one huge award that funds a project completely.