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Why is Grant Research So Important?

What do you do if your organization is considering applying for a particular grant and is not sure if the grant would be a good fit? One word: research. Research aims to discover knowledge that will provide the answers needed to move forward with a potential grant application. Researching potential grantmakers is an essential part of the grant development process. More competition and easier online applications mean we must be more strategic about which grantmakers we align with.

What is Grant Research?

Grant research requires strategy and effort to identify potential funders. Several criteria and/or steps should be followed to help you determine if your organization can submit a compelling and competitive grant proposal based on the grantmaker funding criteria. To start applying for grants, it’s critical that you find grants for which you qualify. If you are good at researching and narrowing down your list of potential funders, you can continue to streamline the process and focus on strong potential funders to increase your chances of funding. Here’s a list of action items  to help get you started:

1 – Determine your needs – Look at the organization and determine what needs must be met. This also affects your application because organizations want to know exactly why you need their money.

2 – Create your criteria list – Just as funders have eligibility requirements, your organization should use a pre-determined list of criteria to narrow down the potential funder list. You can include geographical scope, funding history, the average grant award, etc.

3 – Make sure you meet the grant eligibility requirements – Pay close attention to the eligibility requirements. Ensure that your organization meets all the necessary qualifications before investing time in the application process. If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to contact the funder for clarification.

Research Tools

Using grant research tools effectively allows you to identify lists of organizations in one spot! You can use resources like Foundation Directory (Candid), GrantStation, or for government opportunities and databases like Instrumentl to hone your search methods further. Search engines like Google and Bing can provide you with results that you can use to conduct additional funding searches. If you have not used AI yet to enhance your research, try it! Most of these tools will allow you to search through thousands of foundations with various criteria/filters, like focus areas, past recipients, and geographical location.

Knowing how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs is a competency every grant writer should have and continue to build on. Research is critical in the process of getting through the grant cycle to find credible and positive grant opportunities that will ultimately lead to grant funding for your organization. Though there is no right or wrong method, having a process and strategy in place will help save you a lot of time and wasted effort.

At Grant Consulting Services LLC, we conduct in-depth research to generate potential funding opportunities through various proactive and refined search tools. We have access to over 85,000 grant-making agencies in the United States, including the Federal Government, through one of the tools we like to use: Instrumentl. Using a proprietary scoring rubric that we developed, we objectively review and score each potential funder to determine if they are a good fit to proceed with applying for a grant opportunity. Some of the key areas we focus on are:

  • Geographic region of funding. Depending on the client and their mission, we search locally first and then expand outward.
  • Deadline
  • Field of Work (Types of programs funded) match
  • Average grant amount

As your organization considers applying for a grant, it’s essential to determine whether the grant aligns with your mission and goals. The key to making an informed decision lies in conducting thorough grant research. Developing the skills to research, identify, and match funding resources to your organization’s specific needs is a valuable asset for any grant writer. By implementing a systematic process and utilizing the right tools, you can save time, reduce wasted effort, and increase your chances of securing grant funding.

Remember, grant research is an ongoing process. As your organization evolves and new funding opportunities emerge, it’s essential to continually refine your research strategies and stay updated on the latest trends in the grant landscape. By investing in thorough grant research, you’ll position your organization for success in securing the funding needed to make a meaningful impact in your community and beyond.