Digging for Gold: Shortcuts to the Best Grant Opportunities
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Are you ready to strike gold? Would you like to be the one who finds the funding your school or organization needs? What’s stopping you from partnering with grant makers to start that project or grow that program you’ve been thinking about? It’s time to grab your shovel and start digging for gold. But where do you look?
You have the vision. You know what is needed to accomplish your goals. But you’re not sure where to look to find the funding you need. What if I could show you a couple of simple shortcuts to finding grants and evaluating which ones are most likely to work for your project?
Don’t get me wrong. It takes time and focused energy to find a grant and write a winning grant proposal. But you don’t have to waste time digging through outdated information or grants you’d never qualify for. I’ve been searching through grant opportunities for schools and nonprofits for several years and I’ve developed a system. Keep reading to learn from my experience!
Create a Golden Path
Each decision you make is building a path to your eventual destination. Start with a clear understanding of the project you want to fund, how much money you will need, and who your project is serving. This information will guide your choices as you evaluate each grant opportunity. If you have a clear vision for how this project will improve the lives of your community and what you plan to do to make it happen, each brick of the path or each decision you make will bring you closer to that destination.
Four factors will determine if a grant is a good match for your project. Take a moment to think about each of these factors for your program or project:
Area of focus. Does the grant provide funding for the type of project you have in mind and the type of purchases you need to make? Do the stated values and priorities align with yours?
Eligibility. Is your school or nonprofit qualified for this grant? Look at the target population they want to support, the geographic areas they prefer to fund, and the type of organizations they support. Is it a match? Check out the list of recent grants to see if they have funded any other projects like yours.
Funding range. Does the dollar amount work for you? It is unlikely that a grant will cover the full cost of the project. What other sources of revenue are available? Do you have plans for fundraising, donations, or other grants? Can you allocate a certain amount of operational funding to supplement a grant? Does the potential funding amount work with your overall plan?
Timeline for funding. Is the deadline within the next 90 days? If not, can you wait? When will the funder make a decision and how soon would you receive funding, if approved? Does the timeline work with your project plans?
Create a golden path to fulfilling your dream by ensuring every decision you make is directly aligned with your goals. The four factors above will help you quickly sort through grant opportunities to find the ones most likely to be your gold nuggets.
Dig for Gold
It’s time to start digging. Start your search with the right database. Are you looking for a federal grant? Is your project in the education field? Do you want to look for state or local grants? Do you want to pay for a subscription to get the most up-to-date information or do you prefer a free service?
Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov/
Government grants website for your state, county, and district
My preferred database is GrantStation. I have found the information to be reliable and the subscription fee is reasonable. It provides information on both foundation grants and government grants.
If you are not ready to commit to a paid subscription, getedfunding.com is decent. Just be sure to follow the link to the grant maker’s website to verify the information.
Don’t Get Buried Alive
Now you know where to look and you know what you are looking for, but how can you keep from getting buried alive? Use this free Excel Spreadsheet to organize your search. Simply click and enter your email so I can send the spreadsheet directly to your inbox. You’ll be added to my mailing list so I can send you more resources and information to support your grant writing efforts. Don’t worry. I’ll never sell your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Access Your Free Grants Tracker Today
Download now and subscribe to my mailing list.
Learn about Other Miners
Sometimes it helps to learn more about other people digging in your field. You can look up any nonprofit or grant maker and learn about them with the following websites. It can help to know how much money they award each year, what type of projects they have supported, where they focus their work geographically, and recent news and events that might affect their priorities. While you are at it, is your school or nonprofit profile complete on these websites? Potential grant makers may look you up to learn more about your organization.
CauseIQ. https://www.causeiq.com “web-based tools and information to help you grown your nonprofit or company serving nonprofit clients”
Charity Navigator. https://www.charitynavigator.org/ “a research tool for anyone looking to make a difference. Find thousands of charities that align with your passions and values.”
The Grantsmanship Center. www.tgci.com a great resource for information about grants, training, and a paid database of grants.
GuideStar. https://www.guidestar.org “Search for the most complete, up-to-date nonprofit data available”
You’re Not In This Alone
The following websites may provide services or information to support your organization. Get help managing your grants, finding a grant writer, or improving your fundraising activities!
Foundant Technologies. https://www.foundant.com Tools to manage your nonprofit activities, including NonprofitCare (fundraising activities management) and GrantHub (grants management).
Fundraising.com. https://www.fundraising.com/ Tips and resources to improve your fundraising efforts for sports, schools, and nonprofits.
Grant Professionals Association. Find a Grant Writer or Consultant. https://grantprofessionals.org/search/custom.asp?id=5900
Granting Your Vision. https://www.peggydowns.com/ Grants Specialist for Charter Schools. I provide grant writing services to charter schools, private schools, and the nonprofits that support them.
Stake Your Claim
Your project cannot be successful without support from your community. If you will partner with grant makers who share your vision and goals, you can lead the way to meeting the needs of your students and community. You can have an impact on hundreds, possibly thousands of students who need your help. What’s stopping you now? Start digging and stake your claim!
Tools to Help You Strike Gold
Check out my website for tons of resources. Here are some specific ideas that would be a great start:
Are You in the F.O.G.? (Fear Of Grants): An Intro to Major/Federal Grants for Schools
Granting Your Vision Blog Posts
7 Day Challenge – Write an Easy Grant for Your Charter School