Do you think finding the perfect grant opportunity is like finding a needle in an excessively large and messy haystack? As you’ve scoured the Internet, you may have seen a few potential options, but felt like none of them were a good fit.
So what do you do? You get frustrated, tell yourself there’s nothing out there, and chase the same four or five grants hoping the funders say “yes” this year. The whole thing can be really stressful.
What if you could have access to hundreds of potential grants that are the perfect fit for your program, for free? You can, and it’s not that hard. All you need is consistency, commitment, and five minutes a day.
There Are A Ton Of Funding Opportunities Out There
We’ve told you this before, but it’s so important we want to tell you again.
In our blog post, “One Easy Step To Finding New Funding Opportunities,” we showed you how you can use your everyday schedule to uncover potential funding opportunities. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. It will give you some great ideas to help you build your new database. But remember to come back here when you’re done!
In the blog post, we highlighted the fact that there are thousands of funding opportunities available across the country and new ones being developed all the time. Yet, many grant writers only know about five to ten of those funders… and thousands go unnoticed.
3 Ways To Gather Information About Potential Grants
Building your massive grants database is going to happen one opportunity at a time. Here are three easy ways you can begin to identify new funding opportunities to add to your database.
#1: Use Free Online Resources
If you follow us on Facebook (@GrantsEdge) and Twitter (@GrantsEdge), you’ll learn about new funding opportunities each week. We also include funding opportunities in our weekly email to our GrantsEdge Insider subscribers. If you go back through our social media posts or emails, you’ll easily learn about 60+ new funding opportunities without breaking a sweat!
Federal, provincial, and municipal governments and corporations also list the funding programs they have available on their websites. You can also sign up for newsletters through these sites, which let you know when funding opportunities become available.
If you commit to looking at one corporation’s website a day, or one government ministry website, you’ll start to access the hundreds of opportunities that exist and you’ll build yourself one massive database that’ll cost you nothing. As a bonus, you can access your database whenever you need it. Make sure you record opportunities that might not be relevant now, because they may be relevant to you in the future.
#2: Use Your Network
Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and you can get tons of helpful information by simply connecting with the people you know. Be intentional about staying in touch with other grant writers.
Don’t be shy about asking others to point you in the direction of a new grant opportunity. You’ll be amazed at how willing others are to share what they know. Through all of your interactions, be ready to share your ideas with others as well. Put a plan in place, and begin to pick up the phone, send a few emails, and set up some coffee dates, and you will start to see your database grow.
Remember, when you’re building your database, you don’t need to be selective about opportunities. If the funding opportunity could be a fit at some point down the road, for you or someone else, include it in your database. You may not always write grants for the same organization, so having a wide variety of opportunities is never a bad way to go.
#3: Access Indirect Sources Of Grants
You may have heard of “The Hidden Job Market.” It refers to available jobs that never get posted, and they actually make up about 80% of all job openings. Doesn’t it seem odd that 80 available jobs out of 100 never get posted anywhere? But it’s true!
Finding grant opportunities is exactly the same. There are thousands of funders who don’t necessarily market their funding programs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. As you flip through magazines (Canada Business, MacLean’s Magazine, etc. ) or read your local newspapers, you’re often staring at potential funding opportunities. Most of the companies you read about or drive by day after day have funding programs and sponsorship opportunities of some kind. Again, it may take some work, but if you buy a new cell phone at Best Buy, you may be staring right at a potential funder.
As you watch commercials (for those who don’t fast forward through them) or access business directories, know that they are filled with sources of grant funding. It will only take a few minutes to gather the information to put into your database. The result: you’ll begin to grow a database you can go back to again and again.
Make Building Your Database Part Of Your Daily Routine
The secret to building your database in just five minutes a day is recognizing opportunities and consistently putting them into your database. One day, a friend might pass along an opportunity while you enjoy lunch together. The next day, you might get an email from a local organization with a funding opportunity highlighted in their newsletter, and a few days later, you might notice an opportunity on Facebook you hadn’t heard of before. A week later, you might do a quick online search after filling up for gas at Petro-Canada and seeing something about their work in the community.
And so you build your database… one opportunity at a time, one day at a time, one week at a time. At first, you’ll have one grant, then ten, then 50, and then 100. Before you know it, you’ll have a massive database of opportunities and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. The time will pass anyway, so you might as well build your database.
Find Out More About Building Your Database
If you’re ready to build your own grants database, we’ve got more information for you. We’ve prepared a list of questions you should be thinking about as you research your prospects and a template that shows you exactly how to put your database together.
To gain access to the “Grants Database Template,” download the document here by providing us with your name and email address. It’s FREE and your email address is safe with us (we won’t be giving it away to anyone).