4 Steps for Successful Online Grant Research | EverydayResources.com

Financial|Government Grants

4 Steps for Successful Online Grant Research

1.    Create a project outline:

To begin you need a general idea of the project scope.  Build an overall one-page synopsis that is as specific as possible for the project: Who is going to be helped? Main goals and objectives? How? What’s the timeline for implementation? Where? How much will it cost? Are there special populations? Do you have access to matching funds? Who is the applicant? Do you have a history of this or other awards?

All of these questions will allow creativity and guidance, and help you while filtering through your grant research!

2.    Create Key Terms:

From your synopsis pull key search terms: Region, Topic, General Scope, etc.  Be creative and think of anything that may make your project special.  Come up with as many as possible to use, and look at the list a few times before you request outside input.  The terms ultimately dictate your searches; the more you have the more successful you will be.

A good search should turn up 10-15 results in a database with 3-4 viable opportunities at different amounts to ensure a multi-pronged approach for success.

For example: Pennsylvania, Children and Family interventions, at-risk youth, matching funds, education, homelessness, prevention, trauma informed care, public housing, transitional living, collaboration, and partner based.

All-Star Tip: Be sure to have a few keywords with synonyms to try in different mixes and see what comes back.  Going for all search fields at once may over-limit your search.

3.    Choose your likely Funding Source:

Choosing what type of funding entity you’ll need for your project will dictate where to go. Some general examples have been listed here:

  1. Scholarships: Foundations, View Sponsored Listings
  2. Research: Grants.gov
  3. Contracts: Grants.gov, and State websites
  4. General Program Support: Foundations, Grants.gov, Federal/State Department Websites, View Sponsored Listings
  5. Project Specific Development/Pilot programs: Federal/State Websites, Grants.gov, and Foundations
  6. One-time events: Corporate Sponsorships, Donations, and Foundations

All-Star Tip: Be sure you think of your capacity for reporting measures. Federal grants are typically more competitive, require a longer history of success, and may require an outside consultant to write.  Some foundations might give you $1500, but the reporting alone may cost you $1500 of employee time – ensure balance and return on investment exist when conducting grant research!

4.    Track your research:

Many grants are released regularly, and in turn, save your information in a separate document to use later. If you are not sure, reach out to the program staff and ask for insight.

Excel sheets have been a personal favorite, but feel free to use any word processing software as well. Headings should include Agency, Grant Name, Maximum Amounts, Due Dates, Key Words, Ineligibility, Match Requirements, Reporting Measures, Website Links, and Internal Proposed Project.

Microsoft word also does well for a memo on each item, but you likely won’t need those specifics until you to take it to a higher authority. Excel creates an easily searchable list, without feeling overly cluttered, which grant research can tend to be. Just remember to stay organized and it will make your research much easier.

All-Star Tip: Create a google doc or sheet and encourage others to add their research in the same format!