What You’re Missing in Your Grant Research

Congratulations on taking the first step in applying for a grant! Why do people find it frustrating to identify a current grant opportunity that meets the needs of their organization? Imagine walking into a store with the color, shape, design, length and accessories of a woman’s dress in mind. Are you going to find it, waiting just for you? Not likely.

Every funding source has a mission, a vision and unique eligibility criteria. The first step of searching for a grant is confirming you are not excluded from the application process. The next step is ensuring your general program matches the funding source’s priority.

Let’s say, hypothetically, your organization needs to fence and pave a parking lot to host major events, and a basketball team uses a local yard five blocks from your organization. While you may not find a capital grant to pave a parking lot, you may find a sports-and-recreation grant that supports basketball. Because you will only use the parking lot for occasional events, the basketball team will be able to use the paved lot as a court. This situation meets your needs as well as those of the funding organization.  

What typically makes grant research so strenuous?

  • Endless Google-search pages of dead-end funding websites

GrantWatch provides a clean, expansive database of grant and funding opportunities.

  • Limited access to funding

GrantWatch lists approximately 17,000 grants.

  • Pesky pre-selection requirements

GrantWatch purposely does not list grants with pre-selected eligibility. If you are preselected, you know.

  • Inexperience

GrantWatch is easy to use for beginners entering the world of grant funding.

But there is one problem with the grant-searching process that GrantWatch can’t solve: an organization that lacks focus. Let me explain:

Over the past few weeks, GrantWatch has received inquiries regarding users’ inability to find the ideal grant for their organization’s needs. We received countless calls asking us to locate a grant to write a curriculum, build an organic farm, renovate a house, conduct an experiment, produce a musical, etc.

While you may not find a grant that states “Grants to Write a Curriculum,” you will find “Grants to Educational Institutions to Implement Anti-Bullying Initiatives.”

Funding sources focus on specific needs and issues and they provide funding to organizations that present solutions to those problems. As a grant seeker, you must explain how your program will respond to their need(s).

The key is to ask yourself why the funding is needed. The answer is not simply “to build an organic farm.” Why are you building the farm? To enhance sustainable living? To benefit the community? To provide food to underserved populations? Look for grants that want what your farm will provide.

Read grant descriptions (RFPs) and ask yourself if your project will meet the funder’s mission or priorities. If so, start writing your application, explaining how your idea will accomplish the funder’s goals.

So, what exactly are you missing in your grant search? Goals. Once you recognize your end goal, you will identify grants that will fund those outcomes and funding sources that will welcome your initiative.

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is a Copy Editor for GrantWatch.com.