Grant Writing Tips

and Tricks

What is the best Grant Database for me?

The fastest way to find grant opportunities is to use a database. There is a time and place for Google searching, but it is a huge time-suck and simply ineffective to find grants that way exclusively. A database can do in seconds what could take you days; and visually, it's a much easier way to organize your grant opportunities and keep track of them. 

There are several grant databases to choose from and depending on the needs of your organization, not all will align well with your unique needs. We also know that you are the change-makers and may not have time in your schedule of creating relevant and helpful changes to research each individual grant database.  

No single database is one-size-fits-all. We’ve taken the time to test out several grant databases to give you a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each one so you don’t have to.

You can cruise to the bottom of this article for the database we recommend. Otherwise, clicking on...

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990 Finder and Starting a Grant Narrative Template

 

We were working on a project for the Alaska Ocean Cluster and thought, we should be sharing this! This short video shows you how we confirmed a funding agency has given to Alaska organizations previously (using the 990 finder in Instrumentl). 

Then we started a grant narrative template. We collaborated with the team at the Alaska Ocean Cluster to prepare this proposal. It's much easier to do this in Google docs than try to operate out of an online grant foundation application system. 

Want to learn more about Instrumentl and other awesome tips and tricks? Follow this link to FREE Resources on writing and seeking grants.

If you don't already, be sure to follow us on Facebook for updates on blog posts, upcoming workshops, and success stories from other grant writers. 

Read on for more great lessons we have learned at LearnGrantWriting.org.

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Grant Writing Tips: 3 Ways to Decide If a Grant is Worth Pursuing

 

If you want to increase your success rate writing grant proposals that win, you must decide which grants are worth applying or not. When we are deciding which grants to pursue, we use any or all of the three “tests” below: 

Test #1: Does the funding agency’s giving history align with our organization and project? 

Grant programs can look like the perfect fit when you review them online. The trouble, however, is that a funder’s website does not always reflect their current giving priorities. It also does not tell us if the funder grants sufficient funds to be worth pursuing. 

The fastest way to confirm whether a private foundation actually funds what they say they will is to review their 990 form with the Internal Revenue Service. 990 forms tell us who the private foundation funded in a given year and in what grant amount. Searching 990 forms can provide a wealth of good information! Check out this blog post for a detailed overview of how to...

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Mining 990 Forms for Gold: Grant History of Private Foundations

If you are looking at Private Foundations for grants, you MUST know how to research their grant giving history. The way to do this is by reviewing their Federal 990 Tax Forms.

What’s a 990 Form? In the U.S., tax-exempt organizations, nonexempt charitable trusts, and section 527 political organizations are required to file a 990 tax form to disclose information on their Board and grant giving for the year.

The 990 Form is unique to the U.S. IRS. If you are researching from elsewhere, your government will likely have an equivalent form you should be able to access.

Why Review 990's? There are a few reasons – anyone of which can absolutely be worth their weight in gold!

First, it’s important to confirm the organization’s giving history aligns with your funding request. Sometimes the Foundation’s website will make it look like they give to a number of different priority areas like the environment, childhood health, and the arts. Then when you look at their...

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