Each week a batch of newspaper articles would arrive, hand-cut from newspapers and magazines, discussing the activities of those in whom we were interested. As anyone writing and submitting grants knows well, an ever-growing number of grant makers are requiring grant seekers to complete and submit online application forms.
The increased use of online forms also means there are often limited amounts of space in which to convey sometimes complicated ideas. Being concise yet informative are essential traits of successful grant writers, especially today.
The number and quality of online research resources and training courses has increased. New partnerships have been formed — like the one between two titans in our field, The Foundation Center and GuideStar announced in September, — to support improved nonprofit research and grant writing. One can still purchase subscriptions to high quality online databases and grant directories, but the truth is, quite a bit of information is readily available online, free of charge.
For government grant seekers, GPA: Grant Professionals Association provides a number of research links on its website. In the case of GuideStar, one can look up funders that are themselves nonprofit organizations i. Researchers can often find a more recent list of the Board of Trustees, discover who holds what positions on the board, locate a hard-to-find mailing address, and learn about recent grants awarded.
And as we all know, foundations can change direction in terms of their funding interests. These kinds of changes may take time appear in the standard directories. In fact, I often go first to the Form when conducting research about a foundation. I have increasingly found social media helpful with my private sector grant research and writing.
Profile pages of individuals, foundations and companies — if they are well-maintained and up-to-date — provide snapshots about their interests and what they are doing at any given time.
They also reveal how they are promoting themselves to the public, which is critically important for corporate solicitations. In fact, it is a smart to check-in on social profile pages on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr.
More than once, doing so has caused me to fine-tune my approach, head in a new direction, or abandon my approach altogether! I would also advise nonprofits to check social media prior to attempting an introduction in writing or in-person. It is important to wait for a time when your request will stand out, when the person you wish to speak with is less distracted and can focus attention on what you have to say.
Not only can you share information about your nonprofit with them online, by reading their postings you will learn about their lives and interests and get to know them better. For research purposes, on LinkedIn , I often check to see if the person to whom I am writing still works at the company I am approaching, and I can also verify their current title and similar details.
You might be surprised at how often this information changes. Since geography has got to be the number one limiting factor for most foundations, this is a good way to start your research. In addition to the graphic interfaces, FoundationSearch also offers effective simple search and advanced search options using Boolean operators. When you click on the search results, it takes you directly to the highlighted search words in the form.
You can also record notes on each foundation for future reference. With this additional functionality, FoundationSearch becomes a management, as well as a research tool. FoundationSearch includes information more than 98, U. It claims access to information on 6. It also provides a library of sample grant proposals that is useful. Access to this database comes, of course, with an additional fee.
But, you might not be aware that GuideStar offers a very flexible search engine to dig deeply into all that data. It includes only foundations and corporate foundations — grant making nonprofits including community foundations are excluded.
This is limiting, but the interconnectedness of the information in the database more than makes up for the exclusion of non-foundations. You work for an art museum and so you query the database to see who is funding another art museum in your area. The search results for that query include a foundation you have never heard of, so you click on the link and go to information about that foundation.
In looking at other grants made by that foundation, you see they are also supporting a third area museum, so you click on that link to see who else funds them.
You then notice an unexpected funder of that museum, so you click on the link. This is such a great way to discover new potential funders. All three of the databases discussed so far focus on foundations, sometimes including other grant making nonprofits, but what about federal and state government funding or non-foundation corporate funding?
GrantStation actively seek out other current grant opportunities for its members. With 7, funders profiled, its database is not as nearly deep as the others databases. They have chosen to omit foundations that do not accept unsolicited proposals and those that only run scholarship funds.
That really cuts out a lot of funders, but those are funders inaccessible to many nonprofits anyway.
After discussing your organization’s mission and funding needs, our professional grant writing team will research upcoming funding opportunities that align with these needs and goals. We will then develop a custom report of up to 50 grant competitions along with descriptions, deadlines, and analysis of your chances of winning the funding.
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J. O'Connell & Associates grant proposal writing services. New partnerships have been formed – like the one between two titans in our field, The Foundation Center and GuideStar (announced in September, ) – to support improved nonprofit research and grant writing. One can still purchase subscriptions to high quality online databases and grant directories, but the truth is, quite a bit of information is .