The State of Grantseeking: Did That Happen?


The 2021 State of Grantseeking Survey has launched and is awaiting your response.

We are living in interesting times, giving credence to the proverbial curse, “May you live in interesting times.” A year ago, we at the State of Grantseeking saw, in real time, the birth of COVID-19’s impact on grantseeking and nonprofit organizations. One random reference to the pandemic near the end of the survey period morphed into COVID-19 comments in three-quarters of survey responses during the following two weeks. While the pandemic has not negated other, more institutional, challenges facing grantseekers, the stark reality is that the issues faced by organizations are exacerbated by this worldwide health crisis. Yet there have been successes—agile organizations and funders, skillful organizational leadership, and aid provided to those in need.

While we may all find ourselves wondering if the past year really happened, you do have a unique opportunity to contribute your grantseeking experience to a seminal survey that will result in reports and data that will reflect the past year and provide guidance for this year.

We are asking for your participation in the annual State of Grantseeking™ Survey. It isn’t a short survey, and we don’t offer prizes for participation or gag gifts. So why should you take part in the 2021 State of Grantseeking Survey? Because you can use the results (which are free) as actionable organizational tools.

Here’s how:

Positioning: Because GrantStation begins the survey with demographic questions, we can provide you with fair comparatives by organization budget and mission focus (beyond an all-respondent aggregate).

Volume and Recency: Many surveys have limited numbers of respondents, which in turn limits the ability to drill down through the data. The State of Grantseeking Survey regularly receives 3,000+ respondents. This means that even if your mission is less common, there are probably enough respondents to provide statistically relevant data. Because we turn the free reports around within four to eight weeks of the Survey, the data is fresh and actionable, reflecting recent (and still valid) financial and experiential information. Plus, there is a new section on the pandemic, PPP funding, and more. You will be able to see the results of these impacts no later than this May.

Bedrock Data: The Survey asks for details about the number of grant applications submitted, the amount of time each facet of grantseeking takes you, the number of staff you have doing this work, and the number and value of awards you received. The results enable you to realistically plan for grantseeking in terms of time and staff, and to see the quantity of awards you can expect from your efforts.

Dollar Data and Fair Comparisons: Remember back when I mentioned results by annual budget and mission focus? These two demographic items have a huge effect on your grantseeking ability and the size of your grant awards. Just as you wouldn’t want to compare apples to oranges, an animal rescue should not be compared to a food bank, nor should an organization with an annual budget of $100,000 be compared to an organization with a budget of $1,000,000. The State of Grantseeking results provide you with information that you can present to your board and stakeholders for accurate measurements of success.

Funder Data: The Survey asks questions by funder type (Private Foundation, Community Foundation, Corporation, and Federal, State, and Local Government), and then provides answers to questions like these: What is the median award by funder type? Do funders of a particular type give more frequently to organizations with a particular mission focus or budget size? What missions are receiving federal dollars? 

Real-Life Data: How are your overhead costs doing? What about your collaborative grantseeking activities? Are the grantseeking challenges you encounter endemic to grantseeking, or unique to your organization? The State of Grantseeking Survey asks questions about real-life concerns, and the report gives you those answers across the sector.

We at GrantStation respectfully ask you to take part in the 2021 State of Grantseeking Survey. It will take 20 minutes or so, and is detailed—the Survey is a commitment, not a Yelp five-star review. But the rewards of participation—recent, actionable data—are well worth your investment of time. Thank you!

Action steps you can take today