3 Tips to Land Your Next Grant

Philip Manzano • Nov 04, 2017

There are tons of funding opportunities out there. Here are some useful steps to take when applying for your next grant.

In the nonprofit world, raising money is just part of the daily grind as an organization. Whether it’s from donors or from grants – it is always top of mind.

Image of a person's hands holding papers with graphs on them and using their phone.

Funds from grants often help to keep the doors open and the lights on, allowing you to do the community changing work that you love. Here are some great tips to land your next grant, so that your organization can continue making a meaningful impact.

With so many organizations competing for grants, how do you find the funders that are the right fit? We’ll walk through those steps and focus on a few of the most practical.

Here are the steps to get you started:

  • Identify your search criteria
  • Use the subject index of each directory
  • Learn all you can about a prospective grantor
  • Visit grantor websites and learn even more
  • Use the information to craft a proposal that “speaks” to each individual funder
  • Create a prospect grid
  • Take advantage of online resources for research

“Looking for organizations that might fund your grant can be overwhelming. Cut it down to size with a system”

–  Joanne Fritz, Writer, The Balance

Although each of these steps is important, many are more straightforward than others. It would be worthwhile to take a deeper dive into some of the most important steps to take along this journey:

Identify your search criteria

Two women looking at a computer

In the planning stage of your grant-finding journey, you should take some time to sit down with your team. Reflect on what time of grant you are looking for and seek to answer questions such as:

  • Where will this money be going? 
  • Will the money be used to fund programs? 
  • Will the money be used primarily for administrative costs?
  • What is the target audience?
  • What is the geographic region?

Knowing the answer to these questions is important because it really helps put a sandbox around the type of grant you want to go after. This will help frame everything from language, to the types of examples and proof statements you want to dig up for your application.

Use the information to craft a proposal that “speaks” to each individual funder

A group of colleagues sitting on a couch deep in conversation

After you take time researching the different grants that fit your criteria, take some time to look at the organizations that are issuing the grants. The more you know about those organizations, the more you can personalize the messaging.

Spoiler alert — grant applications are more about the organization giving out the grant, than they are about your work. 

It’s about how your work can fit into theirs, and how it compliments their ethos as an organization. Somethings to look out for:

  • What is important to the grantor?
  • Which initiatives have they funded in the past?
  • What type of impact do they want to see?

Finding the answers to these questions will help you better understand the landscape of their grant history. It will help you tell a story that truly speaks to what they value.

In short, catering to the grantor will help to make your application stand out and get you closer to those big bucks!

Take advantage of online resources for research

Google is your best friend when it comes to the research phase. And when you start looking for grants, quite a few online directories come up! Online grant directories allow nonprofits to search for grants by funder interest, location, giving range, organization name and more! They act as a one stop shop for your granting searches.

Here are a few of the most common, which help you find exactly what you’re looking for:

Take a look at these directories to find the perfect fit. They are free bodies of valuable information, and you can gain a great amount of value here. Getting smarter about grants is always a good thing, because it means that you are trying to improve capacity to become a data-driven nonprofit. But the value is not in dollars and cents. The value comes in lives touched and impact created. The net impact for society far outweighs anything on a balance sheet.

More grants. More impact.