“Time is money.” “Work smarter, not harder.” We’ve all heard these popular refrains, yet how many of us actually incorporate these concepts into our everyday work? According to The 2019 State of Grantseeking Report, a lack of time or staff is the greatest challenge to successful grantseeking. Is there a way for busy grant professionals to squeeze more out of their day? Even if you are crunched for time, there are some tools that can help you maximize your efforts when researching funders, preparing documents, and writing grant proposals. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
You rely on Google for many things, but when it comes to grant research this is not exactly the most efficient method. Online databases, many of which are membership based, are a good way to access relevant funders without having to filter through all the noise of an Internet search.
GrantStation Membership is an invaluable tool for grantseekers, as it provides access to government funding opportunities as well as three searchable databases of private grantmakers: the U.S., Canadian, and International Charitable databases. All funders listed in these databases have been vetted by GrantStation researchers to ensure that they accept inquiries and proposals, thus eliminating the frustration of finding the “perfect funder” only to realize that they do not accept unsolicited applications. A useful new feature is the GrantStation Dashboard, which enables Members to save their searches and organize information on potential funders. To find out more about the GrantStation Dashboard, you can watch this YouTube tutorial.
Even if you aren’t a GrantStation Member, you can sign up to receive news about funding opportunities via the Insider or International Insider email newsletters, or access these newsletters online.
Two additional resources for grant research are primarily aimed at organizations working outside of the U.S. FundsforNGOs publishes guides on grant-related topics and offers a searchable database of grantmakers; however, not all of the listed funders accept unsolicited applications. The Terra Viva Grants Directory is aimed at organizations working in the developing world in sectors such as agriculture, energy, environment, and natural resources. In order to search through either of these databases, a paid membership is required. However, non-members can access current funding opportunities via the FundsforNGOs and Terra Viva Grants Directory websites.
Before you sit down to write your grant application, it is essential that you have made the necessary preparations. This may entail establishing an overall grant strategy or organizing all the information and documents necessary to submit an application.
GrantStation Members have access to a number of timesaving resources to help them approach their work strategically. “Creating Time and Making Space for Grant Proposals” shares some tricks of the trade for grantseekers operating under time constraints, covering topics ranging from organizing information to specific timesaving tips. For those looking to map out their grant strategy for the next 18 months, “Grant Calendar” can help with various aspects of that process.
PhilanTrack for Grantseekers is another useful resource that helps grantseekers research and manage grants. It streamlines the proposal writing process by allowing users to store their organization’s documents in an online library, easily reuse information, and receive email reminders of upcoming deadlines. Among many other features, PhilanTrack for Grantseekers also enables users to record their interactions with grantmakers and keep track of submitted proposals and progress reports.
Another timesaving tool aimed at nonprofit professionals and grant consultants is GrantHub. This tool is billed as “an online grant search and tracking solution [that] manages all of your funders, tasks, applications, reports, and important grant documents.” Another useful feature is that users receive email reminders of upcoming deadlines for applications and reports.
Now that you’ve done your research and gotten organized, it’s time to sit down and write that grant proposal.
If you are looking to check grammar or jazz up your writing there are a few simple tools which can help. Grammarly helps users to ensure that their language is grammatically accurate and clear. A similar tool is the Hemingway Editor, an app that helps users to create text which is both clear and bold by pointing out mistakes and imprecise language. Finally, if you find yourself repeating words such as “program” or “support,” The Wordifier is your go-to solution. This tool is designed to tell nonprofits whether they are including words that are overused, advising them whether to “stop using a word, use it with caution, or use it all [they] want.” It also provides a list of synonyms to help you avoid repetition.
If writing grant proposals is not your thing, you can save time by outsourcing this task via the Grant Writer Team website. For a flat fee, users of this platform can hire a freelancer specializing in grantwriting, grant research, crowdfunding, or even curriculum development.